Social + Emotional Intelligence Profiling and Development as a Proactive Intervention to the “Costs” of Caring.
As a senior, Child and Youth Care Practitioner [CYC-P] who has had the privilege of instructing and supervising child and youth care students, I believe Social and Emotional Intelligence Profiling [S+EIP] and development, can act as a proactive intervention to the “costs” of caring. The Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence [IS+EI] has an evidence based S+EIP (Cronbach alpha 96) that assesses twenty-six characteristics, within four specific areas; self-awareness, awareness of other, management of self and management of other(s) (see appendix A).
Social + Emotional Intelligence
S+EI, “is the ability to be aware of our own emotions and those of others, in the moment, and to use that information to manage ourselves and to manage our relationships” (Belsten, 2016). Identifying strengths and challenges of a person, team or organization validly and reliably, creates an opportunity of empowerment. Strengths are characteristics supported by ones’ nature and nurture. Intelligence is a genetic trait that if reinforced will reach its full potential but there is a cap on this genetic attribute. Social and emotional intelligence can be developed to infinity and beyond there are no limits other than the ones we set for ourselves. Maslow new this thus the peak of our development stops when we reach self-actualization.
Imagine if Child and Youth Care [CYC] educational settings and other fields of caring adopted, S+EI Profiling, as a tool to identify where individuals/teams/classrooms stand on the noted twenty-six characteristics. Coaches, along with students, facilitators and supervisors would possess valid, reliable and relevant data, to foster discussion on the impact and importance of self in relation with other.
Three characteristics are assessed by the S+EIP in regards to self-awareness; emotional self-awareness, accurate self-assessment and personal power. Self-awareness and self-management have competencies that determine how aware we are of self and how to manage ourselves. Self-awareness is the starting point for individual/team/classroom development.
Personal development and self-care is a, CYC-P professional competency and while engaging in personal and group intervention/development an experiential activity is learned, applied and modelled. Personal development strategies/awareness can later be applied in multiple contexts assisting individuals manage/utilize self in the management of other.
Track your Developmental Journey
There are twenty-six characteristics assessed with a S+EIP addressing them all during a student’s educational journey is not likely. Students can reassess their characteristics upon leaving their educational setting to see where they have improved and what they need to focus on moving forward in their career. This information can be provided to supervisors as part of the hiring package.
S+EI growth reduces turnover and enhances an organizations culture as individuals/teams; engage in self - discovery of values and beliefs, explore, clarify and align objectives, elicit solutions and strategies from within to solve problems and improve critical thinking competencies. During my time researching vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue and burnout I found answers and I want to empower others, utilizing, S+EIP and coaching, as a proactive intervention to the cost of caring.
In my own research participants stated having an individual outside of an organizations management team to talk to would be beneficial (Pickrem, 2015). A coach can provide the level of confidentiality required to fulfill this need, while supporting individual and team objectives improving organizational cultures.
As a certified, S+EI Profiler, coach and workshop facilitator I have an amazing new tool for my tool box which I have utilized in my own development. Personal and professional goals have been developed due to the feedback provided by the adult S+EI professional and personal profiles. We as a society appear to be doing more with less. Individual and team mindset and strategies, in some instances, are not in our or our children, youth and families’ best interests.
Support Mental Health well-being
My concern is that we become entrenched in routines, surviving rather than thriving, we need approaches that will assist us to stop, reflect and alter ineffective strategies. It is important to consciously stop breath and reflect on our behavior, feelings and impact we have on other(s) especially so as a CYC-P! I believe S+EIP and coaching will validly and reliably guide and support mental health wellness in students and practitioners as they grow within their practice.
How do we motivate those in the CYC field to embrace evidence based practices such as, S+EIP and coaching as a valid and reliable tool to assist proactive development decreasing cost of caring symptoms? I’m hoping awareness will assist in the implementation of this practice. Longitudinal research regarding the mental health outcomes of providing CYC students with S+EIP and coaching throughout their education, and first few years of practice, could also provide the evidence required to enforce such a practice and provide evidence based data to further our professional recognition.
Appendix A The twenty-six social and emotional intelligence characteristics assessed by the Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence.
Belsten, L. (2016). Social + Emotional Intelligence Toolkit, ISEI®, Denver, CO.
Pickrem, C. (2015). Residential child and youth care workers’ perspectives of job stress and knowledge of interventions. (thesis)
Dyslexia’s one of my challenges and I continue to overcome the roadblocks!
The Dyslexia Syndrome is often misunderstood as only a reading disorder but this is not the case as also consists of non-reading symptoms.
As an individual with Dyslexia I have and continue to have unique challenges. I have overcome many obstacles and been able to attain goals that at one time I believed and was told I would never achieve. I share my stories to provide hope and motivate others to overcome the limitations/labels often set by society or ourselves
To give you an example of some of the challenge’s individuals experience who have been labeled with dyslexia I have chosen to focus on a few of my own symptoms;
Spelling – impaired memory for visual/phonetic spelling details and sequences as an example I regularly spell approach wrong.
Speech – poor word recall and pronouncing words improperly. There are days when word recall or pronouncing is an issue. I acknowledge that I am having a Dyslexic brain challenging day and practice compassion for self to overcome ego induced judgment.
Math – reversals or inability to grasp sequences - word problems are a nightmare and I still cannot perform my multiplications
Grammar – even when properly taught an understanding of complex grammar is delayed. God love my mother and all those who corrected my written word over the years.
Direction – difficulty with left and right, easily gets lost. I still have to pause and pretend to write to state confidentiality which is the left or right hand.
Psychosomatic – motion sickness, nausea, abdominal complaints. Motion sickness continues to be a real challenge for me. I have vomited even while I am driving. Road trips are not something I enjoy.
There are flexibility and degrees of challenge within every medical model label.
What applies to me may not apply to another individual defined by their Dyslexia Syndrome. Both of my siblings are also Dyslexic as are many of my Uncles and cousins. Our challenges are unique therefore interventions require out of the box approaches to spark interest and motivation. School and the learning process were not enjoyable but I have experienced fun learning opportunities.
Social and Emotional Intelligence© development opportunities are endless, can be quite fun and can be implemented at any stage in our lifespan
Overcoming challenges increase with early intervention, consistent effort/practice, support, advocacy, and self-motivation. Challenges require individuals (parents/teachers/coaches) to think outside of conventional models to meet the individual where they are at and utilize relationship to create physiological safety, learning cannot occur without psychological safety!
I had a discussion with a parent whose child was diagnosed with the Dyslexia Syndrome. I listened to their concerns then shared my own experiences and successes. They thanked me for sharing my own story as provided them with hope for their own child.
Everyone has their own combination of strengths and challenges learning to overcome the roadblocks these challenges create can empower, motivate, enhance resiliency and create feelings of self-efficacy. As you develop your awareness of self or other be compassionate with self and other and always be mindful of strengths and blessings.
Practicing compassion for self has allowed me to reflect on my fear of failure, learn from mistakes and minimize judgment allowing me to try new things and grow.
Everyone experiences unconscious bias!
Stereotypes are automatic, unintentional and engrained through familiar and social learning, these unconscious thoughts can influence your behavior negatively impacting your relationships.
Unconscious bias is discussed in business circles particularly around gender wage gaps, hiring, promotion decisions, a lack of diversity in management levels and lack of cultural and intellectual diversity within teams. If you are engaging with other unconscious bias is extremely important to identify in oneself. Engaging in self-awareness exercises, discussions and feedback can assist individuals to have a greater understanding of their perspectives on the world, as well as, why and how our unconscious bias influences behavior.
None of us are perfect!
I have been fortunate enough to engage in educational awareness and apply my knowledge in alternate contexts. I know I experience moments of unconscious bias. I am familiar with several biases that influence my thoughts and could impact my interaction with others. I am able to link my prejudices to cultural, social and familial influences or experiences. These perspectives or stereotypes are learned therefore can be altered.
Compassion for self.
I am also fortunate enough to practice compassion for self. I did not always possess an awareness of unconscious bias and its influence on my thinking and behavior. I have not always been respectful of others.
You have to be willing to lean into the discomfort or fear of discovering who you truly are. This can be difficult as you may not like what you discover.
Enhancing our awareness of others is also key in decreasing the power of our unconscious bias. Exposing ourselves to a variety of cultures whether that be through, travel, attending cultural events in your city, celebrating or joining friends from diverse cultures in their homes, volunteering with new Canadians and listening to their stories, are all strategies to bring an awareness to our unconscious biases.
Be cognizant of where messages regarding others are originating. We know that many historical books do not represent or tell all. Our parents and friends aren't likely experts either and have their own unconscious biases due to their social and cultural education .
Having an accurate depiction of a culture’s history is important as generational trauma has an impact on future generations biology and behaviors.
I did the best I could with the information I had at the time. I am making better choices because I know better and that is part of the journey. Lean into the discomfort of your unconscious bias, say hello and tell unconscious bias you are aware of its influence on thoughts therefore behaviours.
“Imperfect Perspectives" will consist of written and video format. The writing and videos will be imperfect as I am the composer and director and I am perfectly imperfect! Be genuine, have the hard conversations and be compassionate to self and other. Be empowered!