Social Problem Solving


A positive social problem solving (SPS) orientation is believed to produce effective emotional outcomes. Less functional SPS, e.g., impulsivity, carelessness and avoidance of personal responsibility for one’s emotions are believed to be associated with maladaptive behavior and psychological distress.

Emotional intelligence (EI) theory may be best understood as a multidimensional system of SPS requiring a full appreciation for the bio-psycho-social model of broad-spectrum healthcare:

• The biological element of the bio-psycho-social model is allied with the oft-overlooked anatomical influence on emotion, e.g., the limbic system (neighborhood), sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, major organs, neurons and hormones, etc.

• The psychological factor in the bio-psycho-social model is derived from rational emotive behavior theory [REBT] which endorses the application of rationality in personal decision-making, often citing Epictetus as its maxim: “What disturbs peoples’ minds is not events but their judgments on events.” The term irrational may be defined as dysfunctional thought processing that includes exaggeration, oversimplification, overgeneralization, illogic, unproven assumptions, faulty deductions, and absolutistic notions.

• The social aspect of the bio-psycho-social model is related to the unique environments in which people are reared, i.e., family, community, state, country, etc. environments that greatly influence thought and encourage conformity in emotional behavior.

EI theory places substantial weight on self-efficacy, determination and increased frustration tolerance. Consideration of each of these components in the administration of healthcare services provides the individual with added dexterity for more accurate perception of the emotional stimuli, problem-solution skills (process methods) and behavioral performance, resulting in more competent SPS and improved EI.

EI theory highlights the role human anatomy and social environment play in the development of emotional behavior, concluding in an efficient, flexible, open-minded method of addressing emotional problems. An EI / SPS practice lacking balanced emphasis on any of these three dimensions may result in deficit SPS competence and weakened EI. For example, if the REBT paradigm is stressed over the biological/social influence on emotional health, imbalance may result. Simply being adept at untangling cognitive mysteries using REBT is likely to limit EI achievement.

Few researchers agree on the most appropriate techniques for achieving SPS / EI proficiency. Many are in agreement that optimal SPS can be achieved using a four-stage model: 1) input, or the act of perceiving and understanding the problem; 2) processing, or the generation of alternatives and selecting solutions; 3) output, or the act of planning and implementing solutions; and 4) review, or the process of evaluating solutions or modifying them, if necessary. The steps outlined in this book appear to be ideal for use with this paradigm.

EI theory incorporates emotive and behavioral measures to encourage the learner to independently act against irrational thoughts and behaviors. By expressing a more internally locused base of control, and staying well-focused during the process of problem identification and problem resolution, improvement in EI is believed more likely.

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20 responses

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