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"I second that emotion" - emotions and emotional intelligence in social work

Paper presented at 2010 JSWEC Conference. The concept of emotional intelligence places emphasis on the ability of an individual to identify, understand and manage the emotional content of their interactions and experiences (Salovey and Mayer 1990). This paper will establish links between the concept of emotional intelligence and a potential role within social work practice. It will be argued that awareness of the emotional content of social work practice is congruent with 21st century social work principles such as the promotion of service user involvement in the services they receive. The potentially uneasy relationship between emotions and effective decision making will be explored. The familiar paradigm that emotions cloud judgements will be challenged and a case will be made to suggest that emotions are inextricably linked to thought processes and in turn we can begin to develop a view that the construct of emotional intelligence has a resonance in practice. There are many interesting parallels between emotional intelligence and the concept of the reflective practitioner. These will be explored and supervision will be highlighted as a key forum to develop the expression of emotions in practice. Reference Salovey, P. & Mayer, J.D. (1990). 'Emotional intelligence. Imagination', Cognition, and Personality (9) 185-211

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