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The Language of Emotional Intelligence

If you’re reading this website, you’ve probably heard the term emotional intelligence before, but you may not know exactly what it is. And even if you know what it is, you may not really have any idea of how to get more of it. You can consult a library and hit the books to increase your IQ, but what can you do to increase your Emotional IQ?

Psychologist and sociologist Jeanne Segal, Ph.D has some ideas about emotional IQ and she’s put them into an enjoyable and useful book called The Language of Emotional Intelligence. Unlike many other books about emotional intelligence, this book doesn’t just talk about what emotional intelligence is and why it’s important (although it does spend some time laying a foundation if you’re new to the topic)— it provides the reader with five specific methods for helping a person to learn to improve upon their own emotional intelligence.

Dr. Segal is no stranger to this topic. She authored another book on this topic entitled Raising Your Emotional Intelligence, which was more focused on the individual. The current book is more focused on your relationships — understanding not only the key ingredients to making a successful relationship, but also how to go about building them up over time and with practice.

The book is an easy read, peppered throughout with specific examples of situations that may resonate with you. The book is a little on the short end of things, with twelve chapters covering the five methods (or tools, as she calls them) for helping you improve the emotional intelligence in your relationships: The Elastic (Stress busting); The Glue (Emotional communication); The Pulley (Nonverbal communication); The Ladder (Playfulness and humor); and The Velvet Hammer (Conflict resolution).

I found the book to be filled with common-sensical advice and examples that most anyone will be able to easily relate to. While I don’t always agree with the advice given in these kinds of books, I found most of what Dr. Segal had to say relevant and appropriate. The book is oriented not just to explaining how problems come to exist in our relationships, but gives you specific tools and strategies for how to address the problems.

The real problem isn’t so much with a book of this nature, it’s that for it to be the most effective, both parties of a relationship should read and find value in it. While one person in a relationship can improve their emotional intelligence through the strategies listed in this book, the relationship may become unbalanced if their partner isn’t also partaking of the skills and educational opportunities.

Even if your partner has no interest in this type of self-help book, anyone who wants to try and improve their relationships with others will likely find benefit from The Language of Emotional Intelligence. I know I did and will be putting some of the strategies to work within my own relationship.

Softcover, 217 pages.

The Language of Emotional Intelligence

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John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder & CEO of Psych Central. He is an author, researcher and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues -- as well as the intersection of technology and human behavior -- since 1992. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member and treasurer of the Society for Participatory Medicine. He writes regularly and extensively on mental health concerns, the intersection of technology and psychology, and advocating for greater acceptance of the importance and value of mental health in today's society. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2016). The Language of Emotional Intelligence. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 17 May 2016
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 17 May 2016
Published on Psych All rights reserved.