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Less Negative and Painful Feelings 
Empathy is the Antidote to these: 

It could be that touch is a tool for communicating empathy, resulting in an analgesic, or pain-killing, effect."
–Pavel Goldstein

(need to list studies about how having pain, and then being heard by someone empathically reducing painful or negative feelings. Once we are in a negative or painful emotional state, empathy can help bring us back to more positive feelings. Many of the problems that can be addressed with empathy are located here on this Therapy Issues page.

"When the other person is 
  • hurting, 
  • confused,
  •  troubled, 
  • anxious, 
  • alienated,
  • terrified; 
  • or when he or she is doubtful of self-worth,
  • uncertain as to identity, 
then understanding is called for. The gentle and sensitive companionship of an empathic stance… provides illumination and healing. In such situations deep understanding is, I believe, the most precious gift one can give to another". Carl Rogers  

”Time and again, people transcend the paralyzing effects of psychological pain when they have sufficient contact with someone who can hear them empathically.”  Marshall Rosenberg 

When Lovers Touch, Their Breathing and Heartbeat Syncs While Pain Wanes
JUNE 21, 2017
Image shows a painting of lovers embracing.
Summary: Study explores how interpersonal synchronization could help to decrease pain.
"That’s one takeaway from a study released last week that found that when an empathetic partner holds the hand of a woman in pain, their heart and respiratory rates sync and her pain dissipates.

“The more empathic the partner and the stronger the analgesic effect, the higher the synchronization between the two when they are touching,” said lead author Pavel Goldstein, a postdoctoral pain researcher in the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab at CU Boulder."

Original Research: Full open access research for “The role of touch in regulating inter-partner physiological coupling during empathy for pain” by Pavel Goldstein, Irit Weissman-Fogel & Simone G. Shamay-Tsoory in Scientific Reports. Published online June 12 2017 doi:10.1038/s41598-017-03627-7

"The human ability to synchronize with other individuals is critical for the development of social behavior. Recent research has shown that physiological inter-personal synchronization may underlie behavioral synchrony. Nevertheless, the factors that modulate physiological coupling are still largely unknown. Here we suggest that social touch and empathy for pain may enhance interpersonal physiological coupling."

Empathy gap – what do we know about empathizing with others’ pain?
Aleksandra Dopierała* Kamila Jankowiak-Siuda* Paweł Boski
2017, vol. 48(1) 111–117
Empathy of pain as a multi-dimensional process includes sharing and understanding the pain of others in relation to oneself. Subjects in such studies are typically members of western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic societies. In the literature review that we conducted, we observed that little is known about the empathy for pain in people who are not members of societies with these cultural characteristics. We often understand those who are “similar” to us more easily – ones who belong to “our” cultural circle. However, contact with another culture could help prevent such bias. Group characteristics, such as focus on others, hierarchy preference, or cultural differences in selfconstructs, can change the activity of brain regions associated with empathy and compassion. Increasing the diversity of the research participants connected with education level, poverty, industrialization, and respect for basic citizen freedoms seem to be necessary to fully understand the mechanisms that influence the development and operation of empathy.