Definers‎ > ‎

(Rogers 1975)

Empathic: An Unappreciated Way of Being 
Carl R. Rogers, Ph.D. Center for Studies of the Person La Jolla, California
(The Counseling Psychologist, 1975, Vol. 5, No. 2-10)

"A Current Definition

With this conceptual background, let me attempt a description of empathy which would seem satisfactory to me today. I would no longer be terming it a "state of empathy," because I believe it to be a process, rather than a state. Perhaps I can capture that quality.

The way of being with another person which is termed empathic has several facets.

1. It means entering the private perceptual world of the other and becoming thoroughly at home in it. 

2. It involves being sensitive, moment to moment, to the changing felt meanings which flow in this other person, to the fear or rage or tenderness or confusion or whatever, that he/she is experiencing. 

3. It means temporarily living in his/her life, moving about in it delicately without making judgments, sensing meanings of which he/she is scarcely aware, but not trying to uncover feelings of which the person is totally unaware, since this would be too threatening. 

4. It includes communicating your sensings of his/her world as you look with fresh and unfrightened eyes at elements of which the individual is fearful. It means frequently checking with him/ her as to the accuracy of your sensings, and being guided by the responses you receive. 

5. You are a confident companion to the person in his/her inner world. By pointing to the possible meaning in the flow of his/her experiencing you help the person

a. to focus on this useful type of referent, 
b. to experience the meanings more fully, and 
c. to move forward in the experiencing."

6. To be with another in this way means that for the time being you lay aside the views and values you hold for yourself in order to enter another's world without prejudice. In some sense it means that you lay aside yourself and this can only be done by a person who is secure enough in himself that he knows he will not get lost in what may turn out to be the strange or bizarre world of the other, and can comfortably return to his own world when he wishes."