EI, the theory that there is a separate type of social intelligence (unrelated to traditional abstract intelligence) is a relatively new idea in the popular culture. Daniel Goleman defines EI as 'the ability to monitor one's own and others' emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use the information to guide one's thinking and actions'. This relatively new idea is a departure from the traditional attitude, still prevalent in many school settings, that intelligence can be divided into the verbal and non-verbal (performance) types. In fact, these are the abilities that the traditional school based IQ tests assess.

Actually, psychologists have been uncovering other intelligences for some time now, and grouping them mainly into three clusters: abstract intelligence, concrete intelligence, and social intelligence. Howard Gardner (1983) has proposed a new view of intelligence that hopefully will be incorporated into school curricula, but this type of integration is always very slow. His theory of multiple intelligences, based on biological as well as cultural research, formulates a list of seven intelligences. These include: logical-mathematical intelligence, linguistic intelligence, spatial intelligence, musical intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence and personal intelligence. This last category includes two separate intelligences: (1) interpersonal intelligence (the ability to understand the feelings and intention of others and (2) intrapersonal intelligence (the ability to understand one's own feelings and motivations.

Emotional intelligence, as defined by Daniel Goleman is really another name for the personal intelligences observed by Howard Gardner. Recently, our culture (by way of magazine articles and TV shows) has begun to recognize the importance of possessing, or if possible, developing this type of intelligence, perhaps even more than traditional abstract intelligence, in order to successfully interact with others and cope in today's complex world.


If parents do not have the ability or knowledge to help their children/adolescent acquire and/or learn such important skills, they need to find other sources of acquiring these necessary kinds of knowledge, so important for optimal functioning in this society. Some teachers are beginning to understand the necessity of helping children with these skills, but as yet, few schools have developed the necessary curricula. In addition, the others types of intelligences mentioned above are often possessed by many of our children/adolescents, often those very children who are not necessarily gifted in traditional abstract intelligence. It seems important to us at The Whole Child/Adolescent Center that these children/adolescents should be recognized as intelligent, in their own unique way, and helped to develop their special talents and skills so that they too have the opportunity to be successful in this society. They need to believe (as should their parents and teachers) that these abilities are equally important and as highly regarded as traditional abstract intelligence.

We, at The Whole Child/Adolescent Center, help work with you, your child/adolescent, and your child/adolescent's school to assess and develop your child's skills and abilities and, in so doing, improve their self-esteem and promote a more positive attitude toward their education.

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