TRUCKEE, Calif. — Intelligence refers to more than the facts we know. Many researchers believe career satisfaction and personal fulfillment are directly linked to emotional intelligence (EI). Take the work of Dr. Daniel Goleman, a brain sciences specialist who holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University and is most widely known for his book “Emotional Intelligence” published in 1995.
Self-awareness, self-management, social awareness (or empathy) and relationship management are the core components of Goleman’s EI model. Nearly a dozen high schools students from Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC) visited Sierra College, Tahoe-Truckee Nov. 11, 2010 and learned about EI from instructor Christopher Old, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and National Certified Counselor.
Old facilitated a hands-on, team building challenge for the visiting students and introduced them to Goleman’s model. The ARC students were challenged to lower an avalanche probe to the ground without having a single fingertip leave the pole, a task requiring a lot of communication and teamwork (Is it a challenge? Try it with at least six people next time you’re at a party). Following the activity, students were asked to consider how they felt during the activity (responses included curious, interested, frustrated), if they were aware of how others were feeling and, if they were cognizant of others’ feelings, how they used that information.
Shelley Gorin, ARC’s Sagehen Program Director said, “Our visit to Sierra College was very inspirational for the students. Directly following the tour we had four students apply to enroll in classes … this really shows our students want to learn new subjects and skills, but they are not given all of the opportunities through the school system. Sierra College is a great outlet for their craving of new knowledge and personal growth.”
Through Old’s Personal Development classes at Sierra College, a diverse group of students including those as young as 16 years old to veteran community members, learn more about themselves, their feelings and their power to enhance their interactions with others. Personal Development classes foster self-awareness as well as interpersonal skills — essential components to building rewarding relationships.
Old explains, “Positive close personal relationships are one of the key ingredients to living a happy and fulfilled life. When our relationships are not going well it affects our ability to work well, to parent well, to feel happiness and live the life we want to live. When our closest relationships are going well, everything else seems a little easier; we feel happier, more productive and generally satisfied with life.”
Old brings expertise, education, and training to his classes on the Sierra College, Tahoe-Truckee campus. After eight years guiding whitewater rafting trips, he went to graduate school to focus on his passion: helping people identify and live their best life. He recently presented at the Association for Experiential Education International Conference in Las Vegas. His presentation, Adventures in Relationships, focused on using Adventure Therapy in couples counseling. Adventure Therapy combines experiential activities and traditional counseling to help people learn about themselves and improve their relationship through positive experiences with clear goals.
In addition to teaching, Old has a private practice as a psychotherapist. He helps people by focusing on the four Cs, the basis of Couples Power therapy: Commitment, Cooperation, Communication and Community. He explains, “These are key ingredients for a healthy relationship. Strong feelings, love, and excitement often initially draw people together; however, these feelings rarely sustain a relationship. If you are both willing to put effort into your relationship, it is possible to create the type of relationship you desire.” Old believes the four Cs apply to any important relationship (not just romantic partnerships).
Like most Sierra College instructors, Old brings extensive real world experience as well as academic credentials to the classroom. This in turn results in students gaining insights about themselves, their classmates and their community. Enrollment is open for spring semester. Classes begin mid- January.
Contact Christopher Old of Mountain Mental Health at 530-582-4171 or through www.mountainmentalhealth.com.
— Submitted by Nicole Cheslock, Sierra College, Tahoe-Truckee’s Career Education Liaison. Nicole can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Learn about yourself
• Gain the perspective and skills to build rewarding relationships
• Spring 2011 personal development classes at Sierra College, Tahoe-Truckee include College Success, Career Planning, Student Leadership and career exploration internships (available to current students)
• More than 80 college courses are offered on campus
• Classes cost $26 per unit and are only $1 per unit for current high school students!
• Register online at www.sierracollege.edu.
For more information, call 530-550-2225 or visit Sierra College at 1001 College Trail in Truckee or online at www.sierracollege.edu.