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+ Identity

"Perhaps another way of putting some of what I have been saying is that a finely tuned understanding by another individual gives the recipient his personhood, his identity. Laing (1965) has said that "the sense of identity requires the existence of another by whom one is known" (p. 139).

Buber has also spoken of the need to have our existence confirmed by another. Empathy gives that needed confirmation that one does exist as a separate, valued person with an identity."

"Then, in my experience, there are other situations in which the empathic way of being has the highest priority.

  • 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."