Articles About Empathy Circles



Would you participate in a Street Prophets Empathy Circle?
- July 18, 2022
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I’m thinking about starting a Empathy Circle for Street Prophets. I the idea is to meet on Zoom for about 2 hours and discuss a topic related to electing more and better Democrats and promoting more empathy in the Democratic Party. Jump the fold for a video on Empathy Circles and a little more explanation. The poll question is: Would you participate in a Street Prophets Empathy Circle?"

Empathy Circles In Schools | My thoughts about attending a session (with video of a past session)
by linkage - July 25, 2022

"In last weeks Monday Coffee Hour I introduced the concept of an Empathy Circle and took a poll on how many readers were able to zoom. I discussed the benefits of the process and provided a link to a introduction video. A few days ago I attended a Empathy Circles in Schools session. Jump the fold and I will share a bit of my experience with everyone along with an short explanation of the process. "


Empathy Circles | My thoughts about grassroots organizing - #1
by linkage - August 01, 2022

"My first diary on my activism, 12/13/2010, Empathy, Politics, and Activism #1 was inspired by a meeting with Edwin Rutsch, founding director of the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy. The meeting was in person and Edwin and spoke to me about the empathy and his some of his plans. The meeting with Edwin Rutsch had an influence on me because I walked away resolved to conduct my club meetings in the round. This was in stark contrast to the usual speaker and audience arrangement. "


Empathy Circles | My thoughts about grassroots organizing
by linkage - August 08, 2022

"For today's suggested topic lets consider Empathy Circles.... In last weeks Monday Coffee Hour I introduced the concept of an Empathy Circle and took a poll on how many readers were able to zoom. I discussed the benefits of the process and provided a link to a introduction video. A few days ago I attended a Empathy Circles in Schools session. Jump the fold and I will share a bit of my experience with everyone along with an short explanation of the process...

I remarked in the last session I attended that even the silence was powerful. For many it is hard to speak in front of an audience. Just having the group respectfully wait for the speaker to choose the right words for me was something special. Just imagine stopping time for moment so those with speaking challenges could catch up. It was magic seeing and hearing a group of strangers being kind and considerate of everyone present. "

Empathy Circles | My thoughts about grassroots organizing | Vallejo Farmers Market - #3 (photos)
by linkage - Monday August 15, 2022

Last Saturday I attended my second training session to become a Empathy Circle Facilitator. The lesson was for me to conduct an half hour session as the Facilitator. And this morning I attended a Empathy Circle Cafe where I was able to practice being the Facilitator for about an hour and a half.

It was a group of about 7 people and we all talked about the environment. My job as Facilitator was to explain the process and make everyone feel it was a safe place to express themselves.

Empathy Circles | My Thoughts about grassroots organizing #4
by linkage - August 22, 2022
During my second training session I was able to practice being a Facilitator for a half hour Empathy Circle. This came in handy because when I was attending a Monday beginners Empathy Cafe the opportunity came up for me to be the facilitator for the whole two hour session.

The facilitator’s role in the circle is to welcome the attendees, explain the process, keep time, and make sure everyone’s voice is heard and no one disrespects the process.

The Empathy Circle process is simple There is speaker that talks for a set time. Usually 5 minutes. While the speaker speaks there is an active listener that speaker talks to. The other attendees are silent listeners and should not interrupt the speaker and active listener.


Empathy Circles | My thoughts about grassroots organizing | Extinction Rebellion #5 (with video)

by linkage - Monday August 29, 2022
Four weeks ago I started taking a 5 week training session to become a Empathy Circle Facilitator. This series is a personal account of my experience. Jump the fold fold for more commentary.

I plan to wrap up this series on September 12th, 2022 with part #6. Next Monday is Labor Day so I will just be doing a holiday Coffee Hour.


Empathy Circles | My thoughts about grassroots organizing #6
by linkage - September 12, 2022

This series has been personal account of my experience taking a Empathy Circle Facilitation Training class. This will be the final installment in the series. Last week I finished the 5 week training session to and I received my certificate of completion as you can see pictured to the right. .. I was attracted to the concept of Empathy Circles when Edwin Rutsch ran in the 2022 California congressional primaries against John Garamendi in the newly redistricted 3RD district .

"During one of the Stoa sessions, I came across the work of Edwin Rutsch. Edwin has a bit of an unconventional life. His bio suggests that he had done a little bit of this and a lot of that and all of that somehow fell into place for him with his leadership of The Center For Building a Culture of Empathy.

It got me curious and I signed up to do a few sessions using their Empathy Circle methodology. Based on the work of Carl Rogers, empathy circles use a structured conversation technique to bridge social, personal, and political divides. You can talk about the most contentious topics or whatever is alive for you and you will be fully heard and the gift that it is, it gives you an opportunity to offer others the same listening ear. Needless to say, it was a nourishing experience and I loved how simple yet magical the conversations were."

Empathy’s Role in Reconciliation – Part I

by Anita Nowak, PhD
November 24, 2020

"This week, I will complete training to become a facilitator of Empathy Circles and I wonder how things might have gone differently with my ex-boyfriend if I had been equipped to have an empathic dialogue with him. I’m quite certain my position would not have changed, but I probably would have heard his opinion with a different set of ears and would not have demonized him in the process.

In an increasingly polarized world – one in which we’re fed a daily diet of views that match and reinforce our own – we need ways to build bridges of understanding. I’m not suggesting anyone tolerate egregious ideas or behaviour, but I do believe there’s value in listening to alternative perspectives without letting triggers get the best of us – as legitimate as the feelings engendered by those triggers may be."

In the last few years, I’ve been exploring the use of Empathy Circles with some of my organizational clients, with facilitator learning groups, and in communication workshops. I’ve been finding that it is a great introduction and warm-up for Dynamic Facilitation, one of my core practices, as it offers everyone in the room the opportunity to engage in offering listening reflections to one another.


"In the last few years, I’ve been exploring the use of Empathy Circles with some of my organizational clients, with facilitator learning groups, and in communication workshops. I’ve been finding that it is a great introduction and warm-up for Dynamic Facilitation, one of my core practices, as it offers everyone in the room the opportunity to engage in offering listening reflections to one another.

At the same time, I’m totally excited to see that Edwin Rutsch, the creator of Empathy Circles, has been bringing his work into the arena healing political divides. My experience is that this simple-yet-powerful form is actually quite revolutionary, in the best sense of the word, and so I want to delve a bit into what I see as the underlying dynamics. But first, a brief description, followed by a distinction and clarification…"

Imagine a meeting in which you always feel heard and able to listen fully. No need to fight for airtime or defend yourself against attack. Maybe you already know (and like) the others. Maybe you don’t. Maybe the topic is controversial (e.g., family conflict, pro-choice vs pro-life, Democrats vs Republicans, God vs the Devil). Regardless, you share, you learn, and your mind explodes with new ideas. Co-creation happens naturally.

That’s what it’s like in an Empathy Circle. It feels great. I loved hanging out with Culture of Empathy founder Edwin Rutsch and fellow empathy authors/activists Minter Dial and Anita Nowak. We took on the question, “How do we build a more empathic culture?” Check out the video and see for yourself how it works. I wonder…what would you like to tackle with an Empathy Circle?


Alternative Editorial: Listening Without Hearing

By Indra Adnan, Co-initiator AUK
23 June 2019

"I took part in an Empathy Cafe last night that was entirely run through listening.

Here is how it goes: In a group of 4-6, one person speaks for an agreed time (typically three minutes), either on an agreed theme or on whatever subject they choose. That same person chooses someone else in the group to reflect back what s/he has just said.

If that person has reflected back accurately what was said, that person will say s/he has felt ‘heard’. The reflector then takes their turn to speak, choosing another person to actively listen."


Listening in an Empathy Circle – A New Way to Develop Your Empathic Muscle

Minter Dial
MAY 3, 2019

I recently discovered a new tool to disseminate empathy that’s called the Empathy Circle. On the heels of newest book, Heartificial Empathy, I was invited to participate in two such Empathy Circles,led by Edwin Rutsch, Director of the Culture of Empathy, who co-developed the concept with Lidewij Niezink. The idea of an Empathy Circle is to practice intense listening and to flex your empathic muscle using a structured dialogue process.

Empathy Circles for Everyone

By Lee-Anne Gray Psy.D

"Edwin believes empathy is needed as a form of “ongoing support for flourishing through life.” He hopes to one day see every family having empathy circles to cultivate more ease and frequency of open and honest communication. In a recent discussion, Edwin mentioned that he’d like to see schools, prisons, law enforcement, and communities using empathy circles.

To achieve these honorable goals, Edwin is the director of Center for Building a Culture of Empathy, a global network of over 20,000 people, where he interviews others promoting empathy, archives the videos, and offers human centered design workshops on cultivating meaningful approaches to spreading a culture of empathy. The center is a portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion. Most critically, Edwin facilitates empathy circles as frequently as he can, which is in my opinion, where the crux of his work lies. Edwin practices empathy with others, in an effort to promote more of it."


"My left-leaning friends may banish me to the far reaches of the earth for this... That said-- I think there is something to be learned from sitting down with people you disagree with and speaking to them in a civil manner. Obviously, in recent months, tensions at UC Berkeley have lead to anger, hostility, violence and riots.

This passed week, former Breitbart editor, Milo Yiannopoulis scheduled a “Free Speech Week,” evidently intent on inflaming tensions once again. In response, David Gottfried & Edwin Rutsch have been putting up an "Empathy Tent.” Their hope for the tent is that it would be a place for dialogue between left and right leaning activists"


Trumphobia: what both sides fear | Documentary Trailer

The Empathy Circle work is used to mediate between the political left and right.