Empathy and Sympathy

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On Tuesday 6:30am an old friend of my mine that I knew for 20 years in NY, past away due to a heartatach, it was a shock to my self and all his family. I flew out to New York, trying to put my self together as it just hit me I will never see him again or hear his remarks about my way of life. All of the sudden I realized if I feel like that how will his children feel, how will there stepmother feel, and I remember yes they just lost their mom few years ago and now their dad. I started feeling sorry for them. I realized I am feeling sympathy for the kids and wife, I was thinking that they are remember their father with pain. I did not think as an empathetic person that maybe they are remembering their father with pain but also with the pleasure, he brought to their life. This is what I would like to write the how similar empathy and sympathy are and how different. How a little extra thinking and an extra word could change from sympathy to empathy. Moreover, how us as social worker should make sure we do not move from empathy to sympathy. Sympathy; what dangerous feeling to us Social Workers, yet it comes naturally without any warning and we have to make sure we convert it to empathy before its too late. We have to make sure we do not only agree with some aspects of the clients feelings, beliefs, etc. that he/she believe in which translates into sympathy, but above all we should involve experience, understand and tune into her/his entire inner world to represent empathy. If we Social service workers use empathy, we will respond more expandable to the client. Thinking about what happened to my friend's family this week and watching how people gave sympathy to them, made me realize, that the more sympathy they gave them the more grieved they where. Where when I approached the family and letting them know that understand what they are going made them feel much more relaxed and intoned with the reality of the matter. As social service worker, we always...
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