Issues Treated in Therapy:
Emotional intelligence is a relatively new area of study that focuses on people’s ability to feel, recognize, communicate, respond to, and understand their own emotions. An emotionally intelligent person, for example, recognizes when he or she feels angry, and knows that it is best to calm down before speaking. An emotionally intelligent person would also recognize that he or she is feeling stressed, and take measures to manage stress--such as asking for help, or taking a break from working.
Everyone has some degree of emotional intelligence; it is not an either/or quality. However, some people are naturally very emotionally intelligent, while others (probably most people) may find that at least some of the time, emotions may become overwhelming, cause them to act or speak in ways they later regret, interfere with communication and relationships, or otherwise cause difficulties. For some people, these difficulties can be persistent and cause major problems at work or at home. The good news is that research indicates emotional intelligence can be improved to some degree. A therapist can help to improve one’s ability to recognize, understand, and cope with emotions in productive ways.
There is no particular diagnosis associated with (a lack of) emotional intelligence, although a range of conditions, including depression, bipolar, anxiety, and personality disorders, could be associated with a need to improve emotional intelligence. In fact, any mental health condition can be more manageable if a person has a high level of emotional intelligence.
Keith, 27, is referred by his employer for eight sessions with an Employee Assistance Program consultant, because he is not getting along with his coworkers. Keith speaks impulsively, takes criticism poorly, argues with his peers and supervisors, and fails to complete tasks he begins. The therapist provides him with an emotional intelligence self-test, which reveals to Keith that he is not in touch with his own emotions and does not know how to manage his feelings. Keith is able to begin learning these skills in therapy, and gradually becomes more self-aware. After eight sessions, Keith is referred for on-going treatment with another therapist to more deeply explore the origins of his emotional challenges.
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Last updated: 05-14-2013
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