Response to Samuel
Social and Emotional Intelligence: Cultural Implications
The environment that surrounds and individual, especially through the more cognitively formative years of their life, is the foremost catalyst for social and emotional intelligence. What this means is that people will respond or react to the stimuli in their environment in myriad ways that characterize and shape their socioemotional intelligence. Stimuli are constantly surrounding us in our everyday lives. Think back to the times when you were a child and try to remember how you responded to things in your life. Sometimes, as is the case with some of the clients that I have worked with, when a child is molested at a young age he or she may respond to that by choosing to confront it head-on and using the trauma to their advantage in their lives. More often, people who I have worked with who have experienced sexual trauma at an early age are guarded and slow to trust people in their environment, leading to a different kind of socioemotional intelligence than the individuals who are more open and direct about the trauma. This is not to say that one is better than the other, because that is not the case, what this means is that two people can have very different socioemotional intelligence even if they have experienced the same set of stimuli. Discrete emotions functionalist theory posits that these kinds of traumatic or emotionally impactful experiences can deviate the formation of a personality outside of its normative emotional circumstances (Chapman & Hayslip, 2005). Cultural factors impact all aspects of an individual’s socioemotional intelligence.
Social Work Applications
In the case of Andres we see the traumatic situation of being diagnosed with a terminal illness and how that affects an individual’s personality. Andres is isolating and is not putting effort into external relationships in his life (Brocksen, Makris & Plummer, 2014). Approaching this from a social work standpoint, it is clear that the trauma of learning that he has a terminal illness, along with the inability to move around and speak as he could before his diagnosis, has severely impacted his emotional and social intelligence. Andres’ depression has locked him into a state of emotional and social stagnancy. It could be argued that his emotional and social intelligence is being dulled by his disease and by his depression. If Andres were my client then I would seek to have him take part in some type of support group, getting him out into the community and trying to have him interact in social situations with people who are going through similar circumstances. There is also a pharmacological approach to the case that could be utilized with respect to anti-depressant medication.
Social Work Practice
Social workers can apply social and emotional intelligence in their practice in almost every case that they come across. For example, people who are struggling with communication issues with their friends or family usually are suffering from a low socioemotional intelligence level. These individuals do not realize how their words or actions impact other people. This happens frequently when people make inappropriate jokes and do not take into consideration the people that are around them or how these people might respond to such jokes. Social workers can teach skills of mindfulness and awareness to clients who are struggling with socioemotional intelligence issues.
Chapman, B. P., & Hayslip, B. (2006). Emotional intelligence in young and middle adulthood: Cross-sectional analysis of latent structure and means. Psychology and Aging, 21(2), 411–418.
Plummer, S. -B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2014). Social work case studies: Foundation year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].
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