Smart feelings

THE under-fire WA health system is one of the sectors that would benefit from people being able to process their emotions better, says the newly formed Emotional Intelligence Society of Australia.

Created by WA researchers and practitioners, including academics from the University of Notre Dame, the society aims to create a global network of individuals who apply emotional intelligence to their personal and professional life.

Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability of an individual to understand their own emotions as well as other people’s, and ultimately make decisions using this information in everyday life and the workplace.

Dr Laurel Collin, a lecturer at UND’s school of nursing and midwifery, says the WA health system could greatly benefit from the approach.

“Healthcare professionals worldwide are inundated with people seeking psychological and emotional support, and the waitlists for services increases daily,” she says.

“Healthcare professionals work closely with patients whose emotions are aroused, altered or diminished. 

“We see headlines that indicate compassion fatigue, distrust of our hospital staff or hospital staff distrustful of their employer. 

“Letters to the editor tell us that many citizens have no awareness or desire to be aware of the point of view of another.

“The constant demand for services and the complexity of cases being presented are taking a toll on the wellbeing of those staff providing psychological support.”

Dr Collin says emotional intelligence and self-compassion prevent burnout and compassion fatigue in professionals offering counselling and psychological support services. 

The society aims to:

• Bring together researchers, scholars, professionals and others who are interested in the principles of emotional intelligence and their applications.

• Encourage and support the advancement of emotional intelligence theory, research and applied best practice.

• Disseminate emotional intelligence theory, research and empirical knowledge.

“Our affiliation with the international Society of Emotional Intelligence, will allow us to work together to bring the level 1, 2 and 3 EI training to a wider audience,” Dr Collin says. 

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