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The power of empathy
Adam Gerace
"Empathy is generally considered indispensable to the therapist-client relationship. In his 1957 highly influential paper, ‘The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change’, Carl Rogers discussed the role of empathy in bringing about positive client change:

"To sense the client’s private world as if it were your own, but without ever losing the ‘as if’ quality – this is empathy, and this seems essential to therapy. To sense the client’s anger, fear, or confusion as if it were your own, yet without your own anger, fear, or confusion getting bound up in it, is the condition we are endeavouring to describe" (p. 99).

In this article, I discuss why empathy is important in the therapeutic encounter regardless of specific techniques, the ways in which it emerges and is used in therapy, and finally how psychologists can build their empathy skills."

"How can psychologists improve their empathy?"
"Most psychologists who research or work in the area believe that while empathy is to some degree an innate disposition, empathic processes and (particularly) empathic responses are skills that we can all learn and strengthen through training."
  • "self-reflection and insight
  • "be mindful of their emotional reactions to see whether their responses are compassionate and motivate them to help, or involve high levels of personal distress, "
  • "developing self-compassion,
  • self disclosure
  •  self-care.


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