Education, Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Humanity, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Compassion and the Importance of It

I came across this article on LinkedIn: Compassion at Work: What is It?

We all could have a different definition of compassion, but this is the scenario I came up with to describe its meaning;

“Compassion then, is empathy with action.” Imagine being in a meeting with a colleague and all of a sudden they tear up or make a comment that someone they were very close to just died. Compassion is acknowledging this statement and offering to have lunch together to discuss further. Over lunch, you find out it was their best friend from high school that died. You listen patiently, you suggest that this colleague maybe put their thoughts down on paper…you become a person that cares…

I am a social worker who works as a case manager with older adults. I work in a social services department with 30 other staff who perform various roles from Intake to case management to group facilitators, mental health case manager, transportation, supervisors, etc…We are a team and not just a department. Our ages range from young 20’s to late 60’s, mostly women.

Compassion, empathy, caring are in us already or we would not be in this field. “When leaders model and reinforce values that encourage employees to build closer relationships, workplace empathy will increase. Leaders who demonstrated compassion were more likely to foster employee engagement, motivation, and productivity.”

Now, this makes sense to me. We cannot just go to work and focus on work. We support one another as staff, we learn about each other’s personal lives to the extent we choose to share and we become friends as well as colleagues. To me, this fosters compassion and makes the work environment happier, peaceful, caring. Staff wants to go to work and be at work and when relationships between colleagues are good, the work performance is better. Compassion further flows into relationships with clients and their families.

To me it is win-win!

Thoughts? Examples to share regarding compassion?

Career/Job Advice, Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Humanity, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Be Nice, Be Kind…Pay it Forward

You may have big plans on where you see yourself in 2, 5 or 20 years from now. Conversely, you might not have a clue where life will take you; you have no idea what you’ll be doing in 3 weeks let alone years into your future. No matter what might be ahead in your […]

via Be Nice — Employment Counselling with Kelly Mitchell

Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Humanity, News

Research at the Centre for Studies on Human Stress at Montreal’s Hospital-Louise H. LaFontaine

by Victoria Brewster, MSW

While reading the Montreal Gazette this morning I came across an article titled: “Bullying leaves its mark on mood gene, study finds.” Naturally, this grabbed my interest, especially considering the events of last Friday in both the U.S. and China.

Isabelle Ouellet-Morin believes bullying can leave a psychological trace that could persist over time, making victims more vulnerable to mental health problems as they age. She is studying cortisol levels in the bodies of twins. “We also found that for the victim, the less they secrete cortisol, the more problems they had in their social interactions,” she explained. “So it seems secreting less cortisol is not a sign of resilience, but of vulnerability.”

Today, because of social media and access to the internet on cell phones the newer version of bullying is cyber bullying. Despite lots of discussions about bullying and new anti-bullying legislation in many provinces, including Quebec, (Bill 56) resources to combat the problem are scarce and bullying remains a huge problem. In Ontario it is Bill 14.

“It shows we need to pay more attention, not only to the short-term consequences, but also to the long-term effects a victim may carry over his life and which may be associated with a higher vulnerability later on for physiological or psychological problems,” said Ouellet-Morin, who is also a professor at the Université de Montréal. “It means we have to make sure we take all of the means necessary to minimize the prevalence of these victimizations, that we need to help them and provide the necessary resources.”

As a parent in Quebec, I am waiting to see how schools put this legislation into place. The schools choose the program and implement it.

I keep coming back to the same notion that EQ or Emotional Intelligence is what needs to be taught in all schools as part of the regular curriculum. EQ focuses on empathy, compassion, acceptance, mediation between students if there are issues at school and this can all be done in any language with any subject. If the teachers and school staff are all taught this and make it part of the everyday school environment-imagine the school environment!

At the same time workshops need to occur for parents so the skills learned in school can be carried over into the home environment.

We, as a western society need to realize that things have changed since the Baby-Boomer generation was born. In most nuclear families both parents work leaving children and youth in day cares, after school programs and the school becomes the place where youth spends much of their time during the school week. What better place to continue the ground work that began within the home environment.

Read more:

Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Humanity, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Emotional Intelligence and Preventive Mental Health Care

by Victoria Brewster, MSW

I read the following article ( and the first thing that came to my mind is that the events of Friday and all the other events that have occurred in the world where someone who was angry and full of hate either attacked and injured or murdered innocent people is not about gun control!

Instead, I focus on the next paragraph for the article that discusses Mental Health Care. This is the focus. Society helping society. More services for those that are suffering from either serious Mental Health issues or the episodic depression, anxiety, anger, self-loathing, low self-esteem and negative internal dialogue that is happening for so many.

We need to take a look at why so many people feel this way. I am sure our consumeristic, materialistic, gotta have the latest electronics, more money, more status seeking society is to blame. Or perhaps the unacceptance of those that have physical or developmental challenges to face every day? Intolerance of different cultures, religions and ethnicities?

We as humans need to return to a more basic lifestyle that focuses on family, friends, community- a ‘village’ type of atmosphere where neighbors actually say hi to one another, help one another and watch each others kids. The book, “It Takes a Village” by Hillary Clinton describes this kind of lifestyle.

Acceptance, compassion, empathy, tolerance and respect need to be a focus and taught to youth on a regular basis. By doing so and having these qualities become the norm, things will change…..

EQ or Emotional Intelligence should be taught in every school as part of the core curriculum with older students acting as mediators for the younger students to assist with leadership skills, the ability to identify feelings, to raise self-worth. Imagine the school environment! Teachers and educational staff along with parents also learn these skills and it becomes part of the school environment and hopefully is carried over into the home environment.

To me, youth should be the focus. If we have positive impact on their learning now, change will follow them as they grow up and go through high school, university and into their adult lives after. and are worth taking a look at on this topic.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Emotional Intelligence: The Cure for Materialism

by Victoria Brewster, MSW

Where to start on a topic that can affect so many? EQ, or Emotional Intelligence, has importance for all levels of society, in all professions, all organizations and in schools.

EQ is the ability to recognize your own feelings, and recognize the feelings of others, i.e. sadness, happiness, fear, anxiety, compassion and empathy.

The ability to recognize feelings in oneself and to recognize the feelings in others makes the world a better place. Levels, or brackets of society, merge on the intellectual and emotional level. When it comes to EQ, There is much less emphasis on materialism and money.

Think of all that has been in the news lately, such as,  bullying of kids by kids.  If we accept each other for who we are,  strive to work together, forgo culture, educational levels, religion, and ethnic background,  imagine what the environment would be like at work, in schools and in society? Accept each other for who we are!

For those interested in EQ in the work environment or schools I recommend these resources:

Any books by Daniel Goleman are good also.

There are amazing groups on LinkedIn worth being part of if you have interest.

If one really wants to learn ways to change themselves, I would recommend reading up on the areas of’ Positive Psychology, Law of Attraction, Neurolinguistic Programming or EQ.

*Initially posted at: