The LEGO pieces and their construction are a great tool to externalize one’s belief system and emotions , since the individual comes into contact with the most implicit knowledge of his person and his present.

The construction of LEGO pieces and emotional intelligence

This free building process has a positive effect on the development of emotional intelligence and is also a tool used in psychotherapy and business coaching.

In the following interview, Mª Teresa Mata, psychologist collaborating with the Mensalus Institute of Psychological and Psychiatric Assistance, presents this tool as one of the new allies of emotional intelligence training.

How has Lego broken into the world of Psychology and Coaching?

Nowadays, the dynamics based on the representation of ideas through the free construction by means of Lego pieces or similar, has become a fantastic working tool within the world of business coaching. Recent studies have demonstrated its efficiency by verifying the high level of information they generate, information rich in content and structure that is highly useful for the resolution of all types of conflicts. Specifically, the LEGO® Serious® Play® Method is the method that, in this sense, has gone around the world .

On the other hand, from the training/coaching of emotional intelligence, we have discovered in this method a new working instrument that, like the rest of the externalising techniques, promotes imagination and gives free rein to creativity, thus becoming the perfect ally to promote self-knowledge, self-expression, projection of challenges and objective capacity, as well as certain social skills such as empathy.

What happens when we start building?

With the constructions a connection to another level is established . The release of imagination and creativity is intimately related to the use of the hands. When the hands come into play we set in motion a whole set of mental processes that allow access to deeper knowledge. In this way we manage to promote communication at another level (both communication with oneself and with others).

When we transfer this technique to a system (a work team, a family, a workshop group), a lot of information becomes visible: each individual offers a small sample of what their perception of the world is. This puts on the table different points of view in a fast and visual way, and promotes the dialogue and the empathic capacity as we were commenting.

It must be amazing the feedback that is generated in a session when so much information comes out, isn’t it?

Right. This is one of the great advantages of using techniques that activate messages through creativity and association: the messages that appear are fresh, full of ingenuity and wisdom, details that, from other processing models, would be difficult to bring to light.

Often, information that goes unnoticed on a daily basis can become the driver of unknown choices and unintended solutions. This is a work that, from the training of emotional intelligence, we especially promote:

“What knowledge I possess and what knowledge I do not profit from.” / “What knowledge is awakened in me when I see and hear the knowledge of others.”

What else can you tell us about this methodology and the work that is done from coaching and psychotherapy?

By creating with building blocks, without realizing it, the unconscious barriers that arise in social interaction are lowered, allowing intelligent conversations to emerge that help people connect with their knowledge and the knowledge of others.

In the workshops we put this into practice, for example, through the formulation of a “mobilizing” question . Once the question is posed, the participants let their resolution capacity flow. The next step is to make this information palpable through the construction with pieces. The results are incredible. The methodology rescues information that is usually “out of use”. The fact of exposing, ordering, and validating such information within a framework of skills training, generates a high level of introspection and insight.

In short, what is the relationship between emotional intelligence training and building with LEGO parts?

From emotional intelligence we seek to synthesize the complex, express the abstract, touch the invisible, and concretize the volatile. We look for a way to simplify processes and obtain “powerful” information in order to facilitate its use and increase the efficiency of our actions.

The training of emotional intelligence through free inspired construction as an answer to a mobilizing question, as we explained, accelerates the obtaining of useful information. This is achieved by promoting processes that connect with the implicit knowledge of the person, a knowledge that has been established throughout his or her life.

With the LEGO pieces and the figures that complement the creative scenarios, each user constructs, projects and observes , he becomes the spectator of his own creation, a privileged position since it allows him to take distance from the possible conflict and make use of the information in a more intelligent way. Likewise, in the workshops, each person is a spectator of the creations of others, a fact that provides a multitude of ideas and options.

And do the ideas of one and the other, even if they are in different conflicts, work for everyone?

This is the most interesting point of the externalization work in emotional intelligence . It is very revealing when, at the end of a session of free construction, the participants adopt ways of solution that are the fruit of the knowledge extracted from other experiences, not only their own. For this to be possible, the key lies in the formulation of the mobilizing question(s).

Our great challenge is always based on posing a common question for everyone, even if the experiences and life contexts are different; with this we achieve a high level of group connection and intelligent emotional feedback.