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NCJ Number: 228251 Find in a Library
Title: Emotional Intelligence: Practical Advice for Law Enforcement Officers
Journal: The Police Chief  Volume:76  Issue:8  Dated:August 2009  Pages:104-106,108,111
Author(s): Brian D. Fitch
Date Published: August 2009
Page Count: 5
Type: Instructional Material
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article explains the features of emotional intelligence (EI), outlines five common irrational beliefs that undermine EI, and proposes seven steps for improving police officers’ EI.
Abstract: For the purposes of this article, EI is defined as the “ability to recognize and manage one’s emotions, as well as those of others.” Emotions represent complex internal feeling states with cognitive, physical, and behavioral components. Emotional reactions are not caused by the objective facts of a situation, but by the ways people appraise and assign meaning to other people and to things. Albert Ellis, the founder of rational emotive therapy, offers a three-step model for explaining the role of beliefs and self-talk statements in influencing emotional reactions. These “ABCs” of emotions for police officers are “activating events” (people, things, or other assumed stressors in an officer’s life); “beliefs and self-talk” (statements that officers tell themselves about the activating events in their lives); and “consequences” (results from an officer’s beliefs and self-talk statements). Within these ABCs there are five common irrational beliefs. They are “should/must” thinking (others, one’s self, and events must conform to one’s fixed beliefs and values); “all-or-nothing" thinking (people and things are assessed in absolute terms); “awfulizing or maximizing" (exaggeration of a minor problem, making it serious); “labeling" (simplistic, fixed judgments about people and events); and “why questions" (belief that certain adverse events should not happen). This article suggests ways of countering these irrational beliefs. The seven steps for improving EI among police officers are explained under the topics of appraisal, self-talk, hot buttons, emotional literacy, physical and mental cues, distinguishing practical from emotional problems, and more time for decisions. 9 notes
Main Term(s): Police human relations training
Index Term(s): Police attitudes; Police effectiveness; Police occupational stress; Police staff management; Police stress training; Police work attitudes; Police-citizen interactions
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