Exploring Difference and Developing Empathetic Capability

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Exploring difference and developing empathetic capability

CPCAB Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills

Exploring difference and developing empathetic capability

How have I identified and explored difference between myself and others?
In order to identify difference between myself and others I firstly need to be aware of what I am, what I represent and how I seem to others. I am aware that being white, middle class, educated, able bodied, tall, English speaking and a man creates a set of perceptions that others have of me (and I have of the world). This part of me is in the open (Johari’s Window), I can’t change it and my personal attributes will naturally create surface difference between myself and say a black, underclass, non-educated, disabled, short, foreign woman.

I am aware that others concept of me (pre-judgement) will naturally filter into every interaction, affecting their ability to relate to me. In addition my own understanding of others, my interpretation of their messages, and my ability to relate and communicate with them will be influenced by my background, upbringing and by my own values and beliefs (judgements).

Much as I believe that all people are equal, I am aware that because of my social and class differences some people may respond to me and others not. Likewise I am aware that I may hold conscious or even unconscious prejudice regarding others.

I am becoming more aware of how I might be conceived. Indeed when we ran a Johari Window exercise of soliciting feedback about what others see in me I was described as analytical, intelligent, too thoughtful and intimidating. I was shocked that I come over as intimidating as it is not an empathic quality! I am beginning to understand the concept of power in a counselling relationship and that certain factors, whether I like it or not, shift others sense of authority/power. Factors that shift the ‘power up’ are being my being middle...
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