The Emotional Experience of Volunteers

National Center of Competence in Research on Affective Sciences & Department of Psychology, University of Geneva in collaboration with IFOTES. Research report: February 2008

Social interactions are enriching, challenging, and filled with a multitude of emotional experiences. Indeed, most emotions occur in social interactions, and knowing how to deal effectively with emotions in different contexts is a key to successful interpersonal relationships. Of the many skills necessary for satisfying social relationships, empathy and effective emotion regulation are among the most important. For example, when faced with an interpersonally challenging situation, individuals first need to know how to manage their own emotions before they can deal with the person and the emotionally-charged situation. Knowing how to manage the emotions of another person is equally useful, especially in helping relationships. Despite the importance of these skills, however, we still have much to learn about how individuals successfully regulate emotions in social interactions or to what extent such skills are related to training, personality, differences in emotional competence, empathy, or specific contextual factors.[.….] (From the introduction)

The message in a bottle in the internet sea. E-mails cries for help to Telefono Amico

Ines Testoni, professor of Social Psychology, Padua University; Diana Rucli, IFOTES director; Paola Fornasier, educational counsellor; Luca Rusi, TAI trainer (Telefono Amico Italia). Research report: April 2008

The e-mail inbox of the Telefono Amico Italia [TAI] website receives messages requesting a hearing ear, into which suicidal tendencies can be read. Registering the theme in the broad sector of initiatives aimed at the prevention of suicides and at offering support by giving sufferers a hearing ear, this paper presents the results of an initial analysis of the phenomenon, pointing out some features that characterise on the one hand the personal situation described by the callers and on the other the form with which these calls for help manifest themselves. The survey is aimed at setting up a possible method of analysis that could be used to study the interactions and the contents of such interactions, on which to base the ongoing training of volunteers. [….] (Summary)