Emotional Intelligence and the Gordon Model

By Linda Adams, President of GTI

Over the past 25 years, there’s been a groundswell of interest in the concept of emotional intelligence, also known as “EQ” which stands for Emotional Quotient. Much research has shown that EQ is more important than IQ in determining our success in life, both as individuals and in our relationships with others.eq emotional intelligence communication

The concept of emotional intelligence was developed by Dr. Peter Salovey and Dr. John Mayer who define it as the ability to:

  • recognize emotions both in ourselves and in others
  • understand and communicate about our emotions
  • hear and understand others’ feelings
  • build and maintain satisfying relationships with others

This sounds very familiar to anyone who teaches or has participated in a Gordon Model program because it is precisely these skills that parents, teachers, leaders and others learn.

Inherent in the Gordon Model is the idea that people have the need and the capacity to be emotionally intelligent. We want to do more than to survive; we want to meet our higher order needs for self-actualization and self-fulfillment.  And equally important, we want to have mutually satisfying, enduring relationships with others–our spouses, partners, children, managers, teachers, parents, friends.  These are universal human needs.

Underlying all of the Gordon Model programs is the belief that people can learn the skills that they need both to take responsibility for their own lives and to have effective and satisfying relationships with others–at work, at home and at school.

Awareness and knowledge are necessary, but they’re not sufficient.  Equally important is competence in interpersonal skills.  This is the reason why our programs are skill-based–for example, we don’t just talk about the importance of being an empathic listener, a clear self-discloser or an effective conflict-resolver, we offer a proven technology for exactly when and how to use these skills and provide the time and opportunity for people to practice them.

What We’ve Learned

Over the 60 years since Dr. Gordon taught the first P.E.T. program, millions of people in many different cultures around the world from the richest to the poorest have integrated these communication and conflict resolution skills into their daily lives.  We’ve seen that this model is applicable to everyone regardless of their race, age, gender, profession, level of education or religion.  We’ve also learned that it applies to all relationships.  It’s really life skills training–it gives people the confidence and skill they need to deal with even the most complicated situations whether they are intrapersonal or interpersonal.

When we learn to think for ourselves instead of looking to others for answers and when we trust our own judgment instead of relying on others, we empower ourselves.  When we learn the communication skills it takes to speak and behave congruently, to be honest and not back away, we take more personal responsibility for our own needs, beliefs and choices; we get in touch with what’s important to us.  We begin to free ourselves of being dependent on others’ expectations and approval.

When we learn to truly listen to others with empathy, we enhance and deepen our relationships and help make it possible for others to actualize their untapped potential.

And when we learn the skills of developing equitable relationships with others, we can work and live in therapeutic environments in which each person has the opportunity to choose and define and live out their highest calling.