Strong emotional intelligence helps adolescents manage setbacks, communicate effectively with others, and cope with depression, anxiety or stress.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the ability to perceive, manage and understand your own and other people’s emotions. Studies indicate high EQ is associated with lower depression, anxiety and increased academic and social competence. For example, in the famous Walter Michel, Marshmallow Studies, children were assessed on their ability to delay gratification (a component of EQ). Children able to refrain from eating a marshmallow placed in front of them performed better on their SAT’s, had higher educational attainment and better BMI. Fortunately, emotional intelligence is not a static capacity and can be increased throughout a person’s lifetime.
How I can Help
After conducting an in-depth clinical interview and objective assessment to obtain an accurate EQ profile I focus on skills training either in emotional awareness, management understanding and interpersonal communication to strengthen areas where my client’s need assistance
Expanding awareness is a key step in increasing emotional intelligence. I help adolescents identify and label feelings accurately. During this process teenagers learn how to be more attuned to sensations, thoughts, and impulses. They learn how to translate feelings into words and gain perspective on what is influencing their emotional state. As teenagers gain more awareness of their emotions they feel more deeply connected to themselves. This capacity to reflect on emotions allows teenagers to make choices regarding how thoughts and feelings are managed.
Emotional management can often be greatly enhanced through mindfulness, and practical exercises to minimize distress and maintain a positive well-being. Through mindfulness teenagers are able to learn how to relax and decrease difficult negative emotional states such as depression, anxiety or anger. With increased emotional management skills teenagers will be able to delay gratification and become more focused toward goals. The ability to solve problems is enhanced when teenagers are able to decrease intense emotional reactions. Acceptance skills, a component of mindfulness, can help teenagers effectively manage adversity and increase resilience, which is crucial for success. Emotional management skills can also help enhance positive feeling states increasing satisfaction and optimism.
Being able to emotionally understand and empathize with others is extremely important for being socially competent, maintaining positive relationships and being interpersonally effective. Teenagers with poor emotional comprehension of others are more at risk for being isolated or rejected by peers. When you understand and empathize with other’s emotions you are able to develop more positive and meaningful relationships. Emotional understanding is also crucial for understanding your motivation. This ability to understand your own emotions and what drives them can lead to making wiser decisions. I help teenagers gain emotional understanding by teaching active listening skills. I teach teenagers how to read social cues and pay attention to contextual clues so they can better ascertain how others may be feelings. Additionally, self-exploration exercises such as journal writing enhances teenagers self-understanding.
Being assertive, learning to say no and resolving conflict are important interpersonal communication skills that contribute to social competence, self-efficacy and can positively impact mood states. When you are able to communicate effectively you feel more empowered and self-confident, which can lead to positive self-esteem. The ability to express feelings and thoughts can help adolescents successfully navigate relationships with peers, teachers and authority figures and in academic and employment settings. To enhance communication skills I help adolescents identify what their goals are what they are trying to achieve in an interpersonal dynamic. I teach them how to communicate succinctly and directly in a diplomatic fashion. I teach adolescent’s skills to manage emotions that block or negatively impact direct communication.