Cultivating Empathy: Inspiring Health Professionals to Communicate More Effectively (Revised Edition)

A Historical Definition of Empathy from the Perspective of Philosophy, Psychology & Neuroscience

Author(s): Kathleen Stephany

Pp: 1-35 (35)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815036480122010005

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


This book is unique because it promotes empathy as the foundation of all
therapeutic interactions and teaches how to be empathetic. The chosen methodology for
this book is Phenomenology. The key method for data collection are narratives and the
underlying theoretical premise for data analysis is the ethic of care. The important
association between the ethic of care and empathy is explained. The concept of
empathy is historically explored from a philosophical, psychological, and Social
Neuroscience perspective. Terms that are closely aligned with empathy, such as
benevolence and compassion, are carefully delineated. Positive Psychology is
introduced as a new and crucial focus that emphasizes positive emotions. It is pointed
out that whereas traditional empathy is primarily focused on the identification with
troubling feelings with the goal of helping people feel better, positive empathy is a
therapeutic response that emphasizes emotions like joy and contentment. Emotional
intelligence or the ability to read others’ feelings is deemed necessary for empathy. The
intelligence quotient (IQ) and emotional quotient (EQ) are both essential for success. In
the Case in Point, subjective perceptions of empathy in practice are shared by different
helping professionals. A closing simulation exercise focuses on practicing active
listening, reflection and nonverbal cues, followed by mock scenarios on how to tell the
difference between sympathy and empathy.

Keywords: Active listening, Behavioural approaches, Benevolence, Code-recode, Compassion fatigue, Compassion, Cultural intelligence, Emotional intelligence, Emotional quotient (EQ), Empathy, Ethic of care, Flourishing, Intelligence Quotient (IQ), Member-check, Methodology, Method, Mirror neurons, Motivation, Narratives, Non-verbal communication, Phenomenology, Philosophy, Psychoanalytical theory, Psychology, Person-centred Humanistic Psychology, Positive emotions, Positive empathy, Positive Psychology, Reflection, Reflexivity, Self-awareness, Self-Psychology, Self-regulation, Social intelligence, Social Neuroscience, Social skills, Traditional empathy.

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