The Use of Empathy as a Communication Technique

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Running Head: The Use of Empathy

The Use of Empathy as a Communication Technique
Virginia Howard
HHS 307 Communications Skills for Health & Human Service Personnel Instructor Katherine Martinek
November 14, 2011

The Use of Empathy 1 Using empathy as a communication technique is a good way to help the listener to understand their speaker as well as identify with the emotions of the speaker. The empathy technique allows the listener to be more tolerant, compassionate and be able to accept any differences that the speaker may have without difficulty. Empathy being used as a communication technique is important in the field of Health and Human Service profession. If you are able to use empathy in your session with your client correctly than you will be able to help your client more that you will ever know and you will start to build the foundation of a great human service worker and client relationship. Empathy in today’s times is best described as an awareness of and insight into the thoughts, behavior and feelings of someone else including their significance of them. Empathy will allow a person to build a strong relationship off of trust and honesty along with understanding, and at the same time giving them the strength to disagree without prejudice or judging some else. Empathy is the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner Empathy is basically putting yourself in the emotional shoes of someone else by being able to feel what they are feeling as if it was you going through the situation. Empathy is a tricky technique that you must not get confused with sympathy which is a term used to refer to the act of feeling the feelings or needs of another. It is usually accompanied by responses of sadness or pity. The Use of Empathy 2 Empathy is the ability to identify with and comprehend someone else’s feelings or difficulties. With empathy, you relate through your own experience similar to what the patient is going so it is easy for you to relate to what they are going through. Sympathy is the ability to enter into or share another person’s feeling. Sympathy is expressing feelings such as sorrow and pity. With sympathy, you can basically show pity or the need to feel sorry for someone else’s down falls. When you use empathy you have to know the right moment or time to use empathy. Knowing this will let your patient or love one know that you understand. You need to pay close attention to their body language, tone of their voice pay close attention to their facial expression. These gestures may be on display but the words are not matching their actions. If you have ever experience a loss of a love one or you have had to deal with financial problems think about how the person was comforting you and how you receive their actions. Was it an offending action or was it an accepting thoughtful action. When showing empathy in an intimate relationship it should bring those involved closer to each by sharing an emotional moment, where as in a professional relationship showing empathy allows the patient to be more relaxed and probably open up more to discuss their problems with you and are more likely to receive any suggestions that you may have for them and meet the expected goal with little to no resistant. When a patient is feeling along and isolated & having problems they will feel better if they can just talk to someone about it and when you give them a positive feedback response they will come out of that isolated shell...
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