People living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder are notorious for their emotional dysregulation. Emotional intelligence is critically important for controlling one’s emotions and surfing the problems one may encounter in the world. There are many theories about establishing emotional intelligence and how to apply it to your life.

In this article, we shall discuss theories about emotional intelligence (also known as an emotional quotient) and ways you can improve yours.

A Recap: What is Emotional Intelligence?

In a paper written by Davis & Nichols in 2016, emotional intelligence is defined as:

“competency in perceiving, understanding, and regulating our own emotions and the emotions of others (Zeidner et al., 2009).”


I am not sure I agree with the second part of that definition because we cannot control others.

However, breaking that definition down, emotional intelligence (EI) describes the ability to use, understand, and manage emotions in positive and effective ways to relieve stress, defuse conflict, and overcome challenges.

EI is vital if you are to succeed in your career and life as it helps you deal with the stress and emotions you will face when working toward your goals.

Emotionally intelligent people build strong relationships, succeed in their endeavors, achieve personal and professional goals and also help to connect with their feelings, make informed decisions, and turn intention into action.

Emotional intelligence is an attitude that allows the effective management of feelings, relationships, and experiences. EI is a set of values driven by emotional and social relationship skills that can guide one in how they perceive and understand themselves and cope with changes and challenges in a meaningful manner.

The Two Perspectives of Emotional Intelligence

There are several different perspectives in the scientific literature about emotional intelligence. Below we shall outline two of those perspectives.

The first perspective regards emotional relevance regarding self-perceptions such as empathy and self-control. The other perception talks about cognitive abilities such as emotional information processing, emotion perception, and the underlying experimentation and observation rather than theory. (Petrides et al., 2007) (Mayer et al., 2008).

Let’s break down these perspectives.

Emotional relevance. Although the definition of emotional relevance is used most often in operating a business to help relate to their customers, to have emotional relevance, one must first begin to understand and relate to others’ emotional needs. Emotional relevance helps people engage with others’ feelings.

Cognitive relevance. As humans, we often speak louder than just what we say. Our words are vital when communicating our needs or interpreting the needs of others. Yet, body language and how we speak can convey to others what we need or want from them, plus convey emotional understanding.

These two perspectives complement each other.

The Theory of Emotional Intelligence

For many years, researchers have studied why having a high IQ doesn’t guarantee that a person will do well emotionally and be successful in life. These theorists focused primarily on the crucial role of skill sets needed to process information.

Psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer in 1990 theorized that a singular intelligence underlay the skills the other theorists had been studying. Salovey and Mayer coined emotional intelligence and broke it into four branches.

  • Using emotions to guide cognitive thinking
  • Identifying emotions on a nonverbal level
  • Regulating one’s own emotions
  • Understanding the information emotion convey and the actions they produce


In 1995, a science reporter for the New York Times, Daniel Goleman, took Mayer’s and Salovey’s work and came up with the tag “emotional intelligence” and wrote a book about it.

Goleman argues in his book that prevailing definitions of emotional intelligence need to change. He claimed that the intelligence quotient of a person was more important, but that intellect by itself is not a guarantee of being able to identify one’s own emotions and the emotions of others.

Goleman went on to widen Mayer’s and Salovey’s four branches to add five essential elements of emotional intelligence.

Self-awareness. Knowing your feelings at any time and understanding how your mood affects others.

Self-regulation. Controlling or redirecting your emotions and anticipating and looking for the consequences before acting.

Motivation. Using emotional factors to achieve goals and enjoying the learning process even in the face of problems.

Empathy. Being capable of sensing the emotions of other people.

Social skills. Being able to manage relationships and creating desired responses from other people.

The more you manage the five branches, your emotional intelligence will increase.

Ending Our Time Together

Emotional intelligence isn’t something you are born with; often, it is either the result of good parenting or teaching it to oneself. You can increase your emotional intelligence by keeping the five branches in your mind and working to become more aware of your and others’ emotions.

“There are certain emotions that will kill your drive, frustration, and confusion.  You can change these to a positive force.  Frustration means you are on the verge of a breakthrough.  Confusion can mean you are about to learn something.  Expect the breakthrough and expect to learn.  — Kathleen Spike

“What really matters for success, character, happiness, and lifelong achievements is a definite set of emotional skills – your EQ — not just purely cognitive abilities that are measured by conventional IQ tests.”  — Daniel Goleman



Davis, S. K., & Nichols, R. (2016). Does emotional intelligence have a “dark” side? A review of the literature. Frontiers in Psychology7, 1316.

Mayer, J. D., Roberts, R. D., & Barsade, S. G. (2008). Human abilities: Emotional intelligence. Annual review of Psychology59(1), 507-536.

Petrides, K. V., Pita, R., & Kokkinaki, F. (2007). The location of trait emotional intelligence in personality factor space. British journal of psychology98(2), 273-289.

Triberti, S., Chirico, A., La Rocca, G., & Riva, G. (2017). Developing emotional design: Emotions as cognitive processes and their role in the design of interactive technologies. Frontiers in Psychology8, 1773.

Zeigler-Hill, V., Marcus, D. K., & American Psychological Association (Eds.). (2016). The dark side of personality: Science and practice in social, personality, and clinical psychology (pp. 371-389). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.



UK Recovery Support


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Shortly, CPTSD Foundation will have compiled a list of providers treating complex post-traumatic stress disorder. When it becomes available, we will put it on our website


Visit us and sign up for our weekly newsletter to help inform you about treatment options and much more for complex post-traumatic stress disorder.


The Healing Book Club

As of May 7th, 2022, the current book will be – “A Practical Guide to Complex PTSD: Compassionate Strategies to Begin Healing from Childhood Trauma.”

by Dr. Arielle Schwartz.


Here is an Excerpt –


Repetitive trauma during childhood can impact your emotional development, creating a ripple effect that carries into adulthood. Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) is a physical and psychological response to these repeated traumatic events. A Practical Guide to Complex PTSD contains research-based strategies, tools, and support for individuals working to heal from their childhood trauma. You don’t have to be a prisoner of your past.


Learn the skills necessary to improve your physical and mental health with practical strategies taken from the most effective therapeutic methods, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), eye movement desensitization, and reprocessing (EMDR), and somatic psychology. When appropriately addressed, the wounds of your past no longer need to interfere with your ability to live a meaningful and satisfying life.


This book includes:


  • Understand C-PTSD—Get an in-depth explanation of complex PTSD, including its symptoms, its treatment through various therapies, and more.
  • Address the symptoms—Discover evidence-based strategies for healing the symptoms of complex PTSD, like avoidance, depression, emotional dysregulation, and hopelessness.
  • Real stories—Relate to others’ experiences with complex PTSD with multiple real-life examples in each chapter.


Start letting go of the pain from your past—A Practical Guide to Complex PTSD can help show you how.


If you or a loved one live in the despair and isolation of complex post-traumatic stress disorder, please come to us for help. CPTSD Foundation offers a wide range of services, including:


All our services are reasonably priced, and some are even free. So, sign-up to gain more insight into how complex post-traumatic stress disorder is altering your life and how you can overcome it; we will be glad to help you. If you cannot afford to pay, go to to apply for aid. We only wish to serve you.

Mindfulness, Prayer, and Meditation Circle

Meditation can be an integral part of healing from trauma. Our 9-week self-study video course helps you integrate this fantastic grounding, centering, and focus method. Join the Mindfulness, Prayer, and Meditation Circle today!

Trauma-Informed Yoga

A new Trauma-Informed Yoga program is now available! Check out our information page about this highly requested new program! #yoga #traumainformed #cptsd #mentalhealth #recovery #wellness

Trauma-Informed Coaching

 Do you have goals you need help to reach or help define what goals suit you? Have you considered working with a #traumainformed coach? Learn about a new opportunity and a Free Discovery Call!

A New Service!







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