Gain insights and real skills at Sierra College
Many researchers believe that 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 on November 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. Wonder if it's really 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, 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 that our students want to learn new subjects and skills. 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 white water 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. 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.
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 in mid January.
Learn more about Old's practice, Mountain Mental Health, online. Local? Register for one of Sierra College's 80+ classes at sierracollege.edu.