Keywords: Culture, emotional intelligence, focus group, professional helpers, qualitative study
Published on: 24 December 2020
Frequent emotional interactions between professional helpers and their clients mean that helpers must possess a high level of emotional intelligence (EI). No previous study explores the specific aspects of EI needed to become efficient helpers. Moreover, most EI research has been carried out in Western countries, where the concept of EI may be different in comparison to the Malaysian context. Therefore, this study explores the idea of EI from the perspective of professional helpers in Malaysia through a qualitative research design. Twenty-four professional helpers, with a minimum of five years working experience in their respective fields, were recruited for four focus group interviews. Participants included counsellors, psychologist, rehabilitation officers and social workers. Data were analysed using Atlas.ti, and the results yielded 11 themes. They were self-awareness, self-expression, self-understanding, self-acceptance, self-management, social awareness, effective decision making, effective communication, management of others emotion, intrapersonal professional competencies and interpersonal professional competencies. The research highlights the vital components of EI from the perspective of professional helpers in the multicultural society of Malaysia.