Promoting excellence within dementia care


Jacqueline A Hinds

Emotional intelligence (EI) has been defined as ‘Being ready to motivate oneself and continue the face of frustrations; to manage impulse and delay gratification; to regulate one’s moods and keep distress from swamping the power to think; to empathize and to hope. Given the centrality of emotions and power relationships within the welfare work task, the exponential growth of educational and popular literature about EI suggests that the necessity for a discussion of the potential relevance of EI to welfare work is overdue.

Additional impetus for this discussion arises from two sources. The standards underpinning the new social work degree include requirements for practitioners to ‘to develop and maintain effective working relationships; reflect on your own background experiences and practice that may have an impact on the relationship. Second, the Common Core of Skills and Knowledge for the Children’s Workforce provides a multidisciplinary framework of competence targeted at all those working with children and young people. The framework stresses the intra and inter-personal skills required of practitioners

The notion that there are sorts of intelligence, not captured by IQ and which are important in life skills and life chances, has long been established. For instance, Thorndike coined the term ‘social intelligence’ to describe the idea of acting wisely in human relationships. Wechsler proposed that the non-intellectual abilities were essential for predicting the ability to succeed in life. More recently, Gardner developed the thought that humans possess multiple intelligences, including inter-personal, intra-personal, physical, visual, special, artistic, environmental and kinesthetic additionally to cognitive intelligence.


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