J U R G I T A Z A B U L Y T E K U P R I U N I E N E
I dreamt to become a doctor or teacher, but came to social work. I realized that it is not simply a profession or job, it is a lifestyle and who I am.
I grew up in a family where there were strong values of sharing, human relationships and helping others to thrive. It seems to me, then, that I am a social worker from my early childhood! I remember hearing, “you can not change the world” when I was young, and now I know: helping a person will not necessarily change the World, but it will change the world for that person.
Now I combine many roles – a lecturer, researcher, social work teacher in a Lithuanian university, and also I am a certified emotional intelligence practitioner and coach. I realize that social emotional abilities are the key ones to become happy myself and to help others to become happier.
I chose Heart because …
… I believe that heart symobolizes the truest kind of wisdom, emotional intelligence which I locate at the heart of social work practice. A social work practitioner could be an experienced professional, know a lot and apply various methods and techniques, but if he or she relates with clients only from a cognitive perspective, they will succeed less. Why? Because emotional intelligence in social work is what matters!
The elements of emotional intelligence such as empathy and emotional navigation need to be be integrated into social work practice; this approach emphasizes the perspectives of clients. Emotional intelligence contributes to the development of the relationship and speaks to the social reality in their lifes. ‘EQ’ (as opposed to ‘IQ’) has much to offer to social work as a concept and raises the importance of considering the emotional context of social work practice more deeply and broadly. I decided to explore emotional intelligence as a key strategy to improve social workers’ and clients’ mutual well-being.
Socially emotionally intelligent and skilled social workers demonstrate empathic behavior, encourage healthy communication, and create more open and effective environments where clients feel safe, valued and accepted. Much research points to the importance of helping professional practitioners to develop social-emotional abilities to help their clients effectively: self management, self and social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. Experiential groupwork training for social workers can help them to understand their behavior patterns and get deeply into their self and social awareness. I have found it very important to enhance the emotional literacy of social workers. When social workers have the ability to recognize, understand, label, express and regulate emotions, they can provide clients with positive role models and the resources needed to thrive. I do believe that!
I have various heart symbols, given me in the emotional intelligence certification course – smooth, rough, angular … I always check my personal Heart before getting in touch with a client – what does it look like and how does it feel for me and for the person I am relating with … ?