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(Davis 2016)

What Is Empathy, and Can Empathy Be Taught? 
DOI or Website Link:  DOI:
Publication:  Physical Therapy 
Volume 70 
Issue 11

Authors:   Carol M Davis
20 November 2016  
(2016) 70 (11): 707-711. 


Empathy is a commonly used, but poorly understood, concept. It is often confused with related concepts such as sympathy, pity, identification, and self-transposal. The purposes of this article are to clearly distinguish empathy from related terms and to suggest that the act of empathizing cannot be taught. According to Edith Stein, a German phenomenologist, empathy can be facilitated. It also can be interrupted and blocked, but it cannot be forced to occur. 

What makes empathy unique, according to Stein, is that it happens to us; it is indirectly given to us, “nonprimordially.” When empathy occurs, we find ourselves experiencing it, rather than directly causing it to happen. This is the characteristic that makes the act of empathy unteachable.

 Instead, promoting attitudes and behaviors such as self-awareness, nonjudgmental positive regard for others, good listening skills, and self-confidence are suggested as important in the development of clinicians who will demonstrate an empathic willingness.

Quotes: (Any pithy quotes)

Topic Area: (In which field / sector / perspective was this study conducted?)

Definition(How was empathy defined?)

Benefits(Were any benefits of empathy mentioned?)

Criticisms  (Were any criticisms, negative effects or risks of empathy mentioned?)

Methods(What were the methods used to train empathy?)

Target Group:  (Who participated in this study / training?)

Measurements(About the assessment: How was the change in empathy measured before/after the intervention/method?) 

Result: (What was the result?)

Posted By:  

(Any other relevant information)


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