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(Jordan 2001)

Relational-Cultural Model: Healing through Mutual Empathy. 
Judith V. Jordan

Jordan, J. V . A Relational-Cultural Model: Healing through Mutual Empathy. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. Vol. 65, No 1, 2001: 92-103.


How does this support Training empathy? 
by giving an explanation of the 
Relational-Cultural Model.  This is an empathic way of being.  This could help give a philosophical foundation to the training.

* She writes that we grow and flourish not through individualism, independence, autonomy, self-sufficiency,  separation based on logic, abstract thought, autonomous thinking, separation of thought from  emotion, but through empathic relationships, mutuality, connection. 

* The center writes a lot about mutual empathy in therapy and not about general social relationships.

*  note: Overcoming authoritarian relationships (and culture) there has been a movement toward individualism. However, another model is relationships based on empathy. 

* Empathy is holding an awareness of self, other(s) and the relationship.

Chronic disconnection is accomplished by a drop in energy, lack of clarity, withdraw from social engagement, feeling of depression, and lower levels of creativity and productivity, (Miller and Stiver 1997)


Challenges to Connection
Author: Judith V. Jordan, Ph.D.

"Emotional connection is established through responsiveness, often in sensing the empathic presence of the other person. In mutual empathy we experience ourselves as affecting and being affected by another. When we feel empathy from the other person for our experience, it provides a palpable sense that we influence and emotionally touch the other person. You can see my responsiveness to you, in my eyes, in my face, and hear it in my voice. In empathy I am present, vulnerable, open, responsive, and concerned. This responsiveness goes against the edicts to protect oneself from the impact of another person, part of our cultural overemphasis on separation and control. Crucial to the therapist’s engagement is the everpresent effort to take into account, and care about, the way another is going to be affected by what we say or do—a kind of anticipatory empathy or empathic concern. This is at the heart of the therapy exchange."

Empathy and Self Boundaries
Author: Judith V. Jordan, Ph.D.
Empathy, here described as a complex cognitive and affective process, is central to the development of relational capacities and therefore to the sense of self in women. Theoretical models in which the autonomous, individuated self and firm, impermeable boundaries are seen as hallmarks of growth are questioned. The importance of self-boundary flexibility to empathic attunement is described. The idea of self-empathy, in which the observing self extends empathic attunement to the experiencing (object) self, is introduced as a useful therapeutic construct. 
  • Empathy is central to an understanding of that aspect of the self which involves we-ness, transcendence of the separate, disconnected self. It is, in fact, the process through which one's experienced sense of basic connection and similarity to other humans is established. 
  • Without empathy, there is no intimacy, no real attainment of an appreciation of the paradox of separateness within connection
  •  Empathy, however, is a complex process, relying on a high level of ego development and ego strength, and in fact may provide a good index of both of these.
  • Self-empathy is a construct that many find troublesome.
    •  Schafer has referred to "intrapsychic empathy," (Schafer, 1964, p 294), 
    • Kohut speaks of the "ability of empathizing with ourselves, i.e. with our own past mental organizations" (1959, p. 467) and 
    • Blanck and Blanck speak of "retrospective self-empathy" (1974, p. 251).

Women and Empathy
Author: Judith V. Jordan, Ph.D.

Empathy Revisited  1990
  • Janet L. Surrey, Ph.D. - Empathy: Evolving Theoretical Perspectives
  • Alexandra G. Kaplan, Ph.D. - Empathy and Its Vicissitudes
  •  Judith V. Jordan, Ph.D. - Relational Development Through Empathy: Therapeutic Applications
This paper examines the evolution of the Stone Center perspective on women's development. Through the study of language, evolving theoretical concepts are explored, especially concepts of mutual empathy, movement in relationship, the importance of the mother-daughter relationship, and relationships as the ground of action and power.

Janet L. Surrey, Ph.D. - Empathy: Evolving Theoretical Perspectives
  • What has changed is the reframing of empathy to a mutual, active, and interactive process, involving what some of us have called mutual empathy. 
  •  This concept of mutual empathy also has served as a way of describing the qualities of mutual relationships that foster growth in both or all participants.
  •  We have moved away from prior views of separate selves connected in momentary cognitive-affective lapses (i.e., empathy). Relationships are not seen as supports to individual development via unidirectional empathy and buttressing “self-objects,”  but rather as goals in themselves, arenas of growth and learning
  • While Rogers’ description of empathy focuses on the movement within the person, we would focus on the movement between people (the relationship) along with the movement within each person.

Alexandra G. Kaplan, Ph.D. - Empathy and Its Vicissitudes
  • Empathy as relational process Since the initial empathy paper, we have studied empathy within mutual relational processes. Optimally, empathy is a quality of relational flow, a mutual exchange in which each shares, absorbs, reflects upon, and enhances her own and the other’s experience, and the relationship itself. Participation in such a relational flow requires affective attunement to the other, the ability to absorb the other’s experience without losing your own, the balance of affective and cognitive components, and comfort within a relational context of mutual understanding. It requires, in sum, the capacity to join in the creation of a synergystic process which transcends the experiences of the individuals involved and moves toward a shared sense of enhanced meaning, clarity, and enrichment.
  • In the latter, empathy becomes a part of relational encounter in its broadest sense, not just a means to the end of the client’s self-awareness or internalization processes
  •  What is the process, then, by which one moves from participation in the culture of narcissism to evolving a capacity to participate in empathic processes?

Judith V. Jordan, Ph.D. - Relational Development Through Empathy: Therapeutic Applications
  • Abstract: In a model of relational development, empathic expansion serves to increase the sense of “connected-being.” Rather than a focus on development of the separate self which stresses internalized structure and self-sufficiency, this perspective emphasizes the integrative experience of “being in and for the relationship.” In the therapy relationship an empathic, relational approach has an impact on both therapist and client; mutual empathy enhances dialogue, a sense of connection, and the sense of human community for all participants.
  •  Empathic expansion involves moving out of a certain kind of “self-consciousness” and selfcenteredness into an understanding of the growth of “self-and-other” or “relational awareness.” Thus, increasing the experience of connection through empathy involves some sense of “loss of self,” if by “self” we mean the self-contained, self-sufficient, incontrol self of Western psychology
  • The old duality of “being for the other” versus “being for the self” suggests that at the extremes, one must choose between “self-sacrifice” or “selfishness.” ....This model, however, omits the integrative experience of “being in and for the relationship” which includes being for the other and for the self.  Here we move beyond the paradigm of altruism versus egoism... At its best, this kind of relationship goes beyond the duality of self and other and describes true community and relational interdependence.
  •  Through empathy, integration occurs. Where there has been diminished access to split-off experience and feelings, both the individual and relationships have become impoverished.

(for training: in an empathy circle have a topic:  let's talk about the nature of our group relationship. What is the quality of it? What other things can we talk about?)