Daniel Goleman has summarised the notion of ‘social intelligence’ as an overlap of social awareness and social facility.  ‘Social awareness’ refers to a spectrum that runs from instantaneously sensing another's inner state, to understanding their feelings and thoughts, to ‘getting’ complicated social situations. This includes primal empathy (feeling with others and sensing non-verbal emotional signals), attunement (listening with full receptivity and attuning to a person), empathic accuracy (understanding another person's

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SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE  2023-11-21T10:11:49+00:00


In the late 1940s Western society faced serious challenges: rationing, economic uncertainty, and the reassembling of family and social life after prolonged upheaval. (Now that sounds familiar as I edit this blog in early 2021 ...) Working primarily with traumatised ex-servicemen at this time, Wilfred Bion and others at the Tavistock Clinic in London experimented with novel approaches in psychotherapy, particularly in group settings. Bion was a psychoanalyst who had

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BASIC ASSUMPTIONS2023-11-21T10:11:12+00:00


One chord is fine. Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you’re into jazz. (Lou Reed)   Groups can be complex, confusing and chaotic. Where three or more people meet to carry out a common task the potential for creativity and productivity is unimaginable. Alongside this, the potential for conflict and disruption increases exponentially. Before her confrontation with Steve, Beth's perception of her place in the department was blinkered.

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GROUP INTERACTIONS  2023-11-21T10:10:34+00:00


  Marsha Linehan, the prime proponent of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (a cognitive therapy) suggests the acronym 'GIVE' to help people think about and manage difficult one-to-one relationships [1].  Assertiveness is achieved by being Gentle, Interested, Validating and Easy. In the words of an ancient proverb, ‘a gentle answer turns aside wrath’. As we will see shortly, Beth’s assertive discussion with her supervisor led to a subtle change in the working

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It wasn't until the confrontation with her supervisor that Beth began to realise something about her mindblindness. Before the meeting with Steve she had been reading up on ideas of transactional analysis. As she thought about how she felt about confronting Steve, she came to realise that she had been reacting to him like a cowering child, avoiding conflict and confrontation with an overbearing parent figure. Something about his manner

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TRANSACTIONS  2023-11-21T10:06:41+00:00


Around the turn of the century in the UK, Simon Baron-Cohen and others at the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University were working on producing the first electronic encyclopaedia of emotions. A DVD was produced entitled ‘Mind Reading: the interactive guided to emotions’ [1]. The work was motivated by the lack of any tailor-made educational software for people on the autistic spectrum, many of whom have difficulties in recognising emotions.

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