Journal Article

Locating Emotional Intelligence at the Heart of Social Work Practice

Richard Ingram

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 43, issue 5, pages 987-1004
Published in print July 2013 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online April 2012 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcs029
Locating Emotional Intelligence at the Heart of Social Work Practice

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This paper considers the concept of emotional intelligence in relation to social work practice. An overview of the concept of emotional intelligence is offered to establish key aspects and themes, which are then linked to social work. It is noted that elements of emotional intelligence such as empathy and emotional regulation can be integrated into a model for practice that emphasises the centrality of seeking and using the views and perspectives of service users in social work practice. It is argued that emotional intelligence contributes to the development of the social work/service user relationship. Emotional intelligence is mapped against core practice skills and the synergies with reflective practice are explored. It is concluded that emotional intelligence has much to offer social work as a concept and raises the importance of considering the emotional context of social work practice more broadly.

Keywords: Emotions; emotional intelligence; reflection; service users; skills; social work

Journal Article.  6766 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Work

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