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(ROGERS 1975)

Title:  Empathic: An Unappreciated Way of Being(ROGERS 1975) etc

"a listening, empathic approach leads
  • to improved communication,
  • to greater acceptance of others and by others, and
  • to attitudes which are more positive and more problem-solving in nature. 
There is a decrease
  • in defensiveness, 
  • in exaggerated statements, 
  • in evaluative and critical behavior." 

  Carl Rogers

Carl Rogers writes,

"Another meaning of empathic understanding to the recipient is that someone values him, cares, accepts the person that he is.

It might seem that we have here stepped into another area, and that we are no longer speaking of empathy. But this is not so. It is impossible accurately to sense the perceptual world of another person unless you value that person and his world - unless you in some sense care. Hence the message comes through to the recipient that "this other individual trusts me, thinks I'm worthwhile. Perhaps I am worth something. Perhaps I could value myself. Perhaps I could care for myself."

A vivid example of this comes from a young man who has been a recipient of much sensitive understanding, and who is now in the later stages of his therapy:

Client: I could even conceive of it as a possibility that I could have a kind of tender concern for me. Still, how could I be tender, be concerned for myself, when they're one and the same thing? But yet I can feel it so clearly. You know, like taking care of a child. You want to give it this and give it that. I can kind of clearly see the purposes for somebody else but I can never see them for myself, that I could do this for me, you know. Is it possible that I can really want to take care of myself, and make that a major purpose of my life? That means I'd have to deal with the whole world as it I were guardian of the most cherished and most wanted possession, that this / was between this precious me that I wanted to take care of and the whole world It's almost as if I loved myself - you know - that's strange but it's true.

Therapist: It seems such a strange concept to realize. It would mean 'I would face the world as though a part of my primary responsibility was taking care of this precious individual who is me - whom I love.'

Client: Whom I care for--whom I feel so close to. Woof! That's another strange one.

Therapist: It just seems weird.

Client: Yeah. It hits rather close somehow. The idea of my loving me and the taking care of me. (His eyes grow moist.) That's a very nice one very nice."