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Clinical Empathy

(HOWICK + 2015)Effects of changing practitioner empathy and patient expectations in healthcare consultations
Jeremy Howick+
"Empathy has been conceptualised in diverse ways including as a behaviour, a personality trait, an affect and a cognition (Mercer 2002). In this review we will take a broader perspective that acknowledges clinical empathy as complex and multidimensional (Coulehan 2000; Decety 2014; Hojat 2009; Mercer 2002; Morse 1992; Neumann 2009). The broader definition of empathy is guided by Mercer 2002, and views empathy as an ability to
  • understand the patient’s situation, perspective and feelings (and their attached meanings);
  • communicate that understanding and check its accuracy; and
  • act on that understanding with the patient in a helpful (therapeutic) way."

  • "For example, empathy and positive expectations are suspected to reduce anxiety and stress (Everly 2002) which in turn could reduce pain, depression, and various other conditions (Grossman 2004)."
    • - anxiety
    • stress
    •  - pain, 
    • - depression,
  • Improving practitioner empathy and inducing positive patient expectations can also affect overall wellbeing (Thomas 1987).
    • overall wellbeing 

  • practitioner empathy
    • "More complex interventions involve more extensive training programs such as three 60 minute empathy and relational skills training sessions (Riess "2012),"
    •  or a semi-structured interview with a patient designed to empathetically induce positive expectations (Vangronsveld 2012). "
    • "We have listed several examples of the types of interventions on which this review will focus in Table 1 and Table 2."
  • patient expectations