Empathy as a Communication Technique

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The use of Empathy as a communication technique

The word empathy is a noun and means: Having the ability to imagine oneself in another's place and understand the other's feelings, desires, ideas, and actions. The use of empathy was an important part of the psychological counseling technique developed by Carl R. Rogers. (Empathy) Carl Rogers was born January 8, 1902 in Oak Park, Illinois and lived until1987. Carl Rogers is best known for his contributions to therapy. Rogers felt that if a therapist was to be helpful that they must have three defining qualities: The first on should be Congruence, meaning, showing genuineness and honesty with the client. The second is having Empathy, meaning, having the ability to feel what the client feels and the third being Respect, meaning, acceptance, unconditional positive regard towards the client. Rogers says that these qualities are “necessary and sufficient: If the therapist shows these three qualities, the client will improve, even if no other special "techniques" are used. If the therapist does not show these three qualities, the client's improvement will be minimal, no matter how many "techniques" are used. (Personality Theories). Another Psychologist was Theodor Lipps. Born 1851 in Wallhalben/Palatinate, Germany and died in Munich 1914. Theodor Lipps is known as the father of the first scientific theory of Einfühlung (“feeling into,”) Lipps sees the unconscious process of Einfühlung is a natural instinct. Today, empathy is described as an objective awareness of and insight into the thoughts, feelings, and behavior of another (including their meaning and significance). It has also been discussed in the context of emotional intelligence, which is defined as the awareness and management of emotions in self and others. (p89) By showing empathy you are identifying with the other persons emotions. To be able to empathize with others, you must be able to feel and own your own feelings. It is hard for a person to understand someone else’s feelings if they have never felt or dealt with that certain feeling. When a person has experience a wide range of feelings then they are the ones that have the deeps of understanding what others are experiencing. When a person cannot relate it is more than likely because they have not had the experience of what the other is talking about or going through. Experiencing a feeling is much different than just reading or hearing about the feeling. When you are talking to someone that shares what they are going through with you and you understand what they are talking about, this is a process of recall that comes to your mind and you relive your experience. You are able to use those emotions to guide you in your thoughts and actions with this person. Nature helps us to survive our own traumas and experience of life. If you are able to work through what has happened and you are aware of your own feelings when talking to someone else that is going through the same thing or close to it, then you are able to help that other person to survive and give them hope with what they are going through. Accepting a person where they are in life even if you do not agree with them shows that person that you value and support them as an individual no matter what they are going through or who they are. Many people believe that Empathy and Sympathy are the same but they are not. The difference between the two are “Sympathy is literally 'feeling with' - compassion for or commiseration with another person. Empathy, by contrast, is literally 'feeling into' - the ability to project one's personality into another person and more fully understand that person (think of an "empath"). Sympathy derives from Latin and Greek words meaning 'having a fellow feeling'. The term empathy originated in psychology (translation of a German term, c. 1903) and has now come to mean the ability to imagine or project oneself into another person's position and experience all the sensations...
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