Sample Essay on Emotional Intelligence (The great book)

Emotional Intelligence


Emotional intelligence entails the ability of an individual to identify, regulate, and process his or her emotions. When perceived in relation to mental health, high emotional intelligence is associated with improvements in terms of effectiveness and efficiency in the execution of work related responsibilities and in the quality of social interactions of an individual (Martins, Ramalho & Morin, 2012). These attributes of high emotional intelligence help in the reduction of stress hence improving the state of an individual’s mental wellbeing. Practitioners in the fields of mental health and AOD can be considered as social workers whose work environment is not only stressful but also emotionally demanding.

Importance of emotional intelligence

Emotions often affect their effectiveness and professionalism. This is especially when engaging with clients suffering from drug and alcohol abuse related complications. Emotions, in such cases can affect their ability to engage in effective counselling, make relevant and objective decisions, and engage in collaborative efforts with other players within these fields towards developing effective solutions (Rathore, Chadha & Rana, 2017). The ability of these professionals to develop emotional intelligence has the capacity to ensure collaboration between their interpersonal skills, which are vital in the delivery of quality services (Ingram, 2013). This is because through effective management of their emotions, the practitioners have the ability of developing empathy towards other people.

In developing emotional intelligence among practitioners working with clients at their most vulnerable state, there are chances of strong emotions occurring among staff despite the underlying requirement of emotional neutrality or displaying different emotions to what they are actually feeling. For instance in a mental health institution or within the field of AOD, the practitioners while delivering their services to clients are expected to appear pleasant and calm even in situation where the client appears to be hostile towards them (Ingram, 2013). This generates a mismatch in terms of the actual feelings of an individual and what he or she is expected to display. This is emotional labor and it is considered as major source of stress among professionals in these fields (Ingram, 2013). In any workplace, other than effective interpersonal skills, the ability of workers to manage personal anxiety and stress in ways that do not affect their ability to execute their professional responsibilities is a critical attribute (Rathore, Chadha & Rana, 2017). This is because when such practitioner are left to struggle with managing anger, anxiety or stress, they may not provide or perform according to the expected standards. The need to develop strategies of developing emotional intelligence among mental health and AOD workers is critical because of the centrality of emotions in their jobs (Grant, Kinman, & Alexander, 2014). Emotional intelligence not only improves on their effectiveness in their jobs but also enhances their ability to develop better techniques of managing their anxiety and stress.

Physiological and physical effects of stress among workers in mental health and AOD

In the description of the biological model of stress, researchers have provided an account of stress in terms of the general technique through which human body reacts to stressors. These responses whether negative or positive are characterized by changes in the intestinal, adrenal, and lymphatic systems (Mikolajczak et al, 2015). When physiological changes, which are meant to deal with short-term body demands such as a faster heart rate, are ignored, there is increased possibility that the body will react by shelving the stress and this may result in stress accumulation. Physiological signs of stress often trigger physical action. For example in stressful situations, the body through the hormone cortisol will trigger the release of metabolic energy with the objective of fueling physical action (Mikolajczak et al, 2015). However, when the physical action fails to occur, the body does not engage in effective distribution of the energy dispatched to deal with anxiety. When an individual experiences significant levels of anxiety, anger, or frustrations over time and fails to develop effective strategies of managing these emotions, he may experience problems (Mikolajczak et al, 2015). This is because accumulating negative emotions has a high probability of leading to varieties of psychosomatic symptoms.

Existing evidence indicates that for those working in emotionally demanding environment, their bodies often release cortisol as response to uncontrollable social threats. This means that it is important for such individuals to develop strategies and plans in emotional management in different scenarios will help in reducing the number of occasions in which cortisol is produced (Mikolajczak et al, 2015). Developing emotional intelligence is an effective way through which such individuals can manage personal and other people’s emotions in an effective way hence helping them in the development of a sense of control.

The process of developing emotional intelligence requires focus on different elements related to emotional management. From a broader perspective, emotional intelligence entails the effectiveness of an individual in terms of his or her ability to recognize his own emotions and emotions of others (Donaldson-Fielder & Bond, 2004). In addition, emotional intelligence also entails the ability of an individual to understand how emotions work because this understanding helps them in developing strategies of managing their own emotions and those of others.

Emotional intelligence can be ranked as high or low. Individual with the ability of demonstrating high emotional intelligence have the ability of recognizing their feelings and the feelings of other people. Such individuals can talk about those feelings and use the emotions in informing their decisions in an objective manner (Mikolajczak et al, 2015). These individuals when working in mental health or in the field of AOD, they have the ability of inspiring and influencing the feelings of their clients by using their skills to calm them down or psyche them up (Onginsak-Bulik, 2005). Developing high emotional intelligence therefore enhances the ability of a practitioner to engage in effective prediction about how they might feel when subjected to different factors (Gerdes & Segal, 2011). This also involves predictions on how other people may feel. Through such deliberations and predictions, it becomes relatively easier to develop effective strategies of adapting to different emotional situations (Kannaiah & Shanthi, 2015). Effective emotional management through the development of high emotional intelligence facilitates the reduction of the number of times such individuals may experience stress.

Developing emotional intelligence among practitioners in mental health and AOD

Existing research indicates that emotional intelligence does not facilitate the prediction of less stress. Instead, it enhances emotional self-understanding, which is critical in the reduction of stress. Emotional intelligence training is one way through which the emotional self-understanding levels of individuals can be enhanced (Donaldson-Fielder & Bond, 2004). Emotional intelligence training can be effective if the individuals are willing to explore themselves in terms of their emotional capacities and assess the best techniques of managing their emotions within their workplaces (Tripathi & Kohli, 2017). In mental health or AOD fields, increased stress levels are common and they are the main contributing factors to ineffective performance among the practitioner. In extreme cases, these stress levels make the practitioners unsatisfied and unhappy to the extent of leaving their jobs to seek other alternatives (Ng, Ke & Raymond, 2014). When organizations institute measures such as exposing their workers to professional counselling services for assessing ways of dealing with their emotions, they improve on employee wellbeing while at the same time enhancing the skill capacity of employees in managing themselves and their clients in the most objective and effective ways.

The underlying assumption is that these practitioners possess high emotional intelligence because their choice of profession involves interaction with many people and they have the experience of dealing with clients from different backgrounds (Gerdes & Segal, 2011). However, there is variance in the level of emotional intelligence among these practitioners depending on their roles in these fields the importance they accord the application of emotional intelligence in the execution of their professional responsibilities.

Training mental health and AOD personnel on emotional intelligence and providing them with exposure towards different clients can help in enhancing their sensitivity towards the needs of their clients (Rajan-Rankin, 2014). Existing studies indicate that high emotional intelligence among these practitioners increases their performance in terms of effective management of the needs of their clients (Martins, Ramalho & Morin, 2012). This is because when they are sensitive to the needs of the clients, it becomes easier for these clients to communicate because of the existence of an enabling environment. However, ineffective practitioners in these fields show less sensitivity to the needs of the patients and this increases the level of discomfort and anxiety whenever clients are to have a session with such practitioners (Kannaiah & Shanthi, 2015).

The development of high emotional intelligence among practitioners in the fields of mental health and AOD enhances the development of empathy and communication skills, which are critical in facilitating client treatment and enhancing client experience. This is because the practitioners’ level of happiness has a strong relationship with the level of client satisfaction with the quality of services that he or she receives (Kannaiah & Shanthi, 2015). Practitioners with low emotional intelligence scores are generally unhappy and have limited self-awareness of their emotions and they do not have the capability of identifying and translating the emotions of their patients (Tripathi & Kohli, 2017).


Developing emotional intelligence requires focus on different elements related to emotional management. These include the ability of an individual to recognize and manage his own emotions and emotions of others. The development of high emotional intelligence among practitioners in mental health and AOD fields improves on their level of sensitivity to the needs of their clients. This is because through emotional intelligence the practitioners acquire the ability of developing relationships that encourage confidence and communication with clients. Emotional intelligence enhances emotional self-understanding, which is critical in the reduction of stress. Training is one way through which the emotional self-understanding levels of individuals can be enhanced. The practitioners’ level of happiness has a strong relationship with the level of client satisfaction with the quality of services that he or she receives.


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