The first concept i will be discussing is empthy, which is discussed in Chapter six (Shebib, 2003). Empathy is the ability to correctly interpret another person 's feelings to show them you understand. So, empathy is not something we have, but something we do. Empathy is a skill and an attitude and not a feeling (sympathy is a feeling). It is about being able and willing to understand another person from their own point of view, without your own thoughts, feelings, opinions and judgements getting in the way of this understanding. This can be difficult if you have a strong reaction to someone, or if you disagree with what they are saying, or if you have had a similar experience and feel you could give some helpful advice. Empathy is essential in counselling because it helps to build a relationship between the client and counsellor, it helps clients to label their own feelings, and helps the counsellor to understand how their client is thinking or feeling. Therefore, empathy plays a very important role in counselling relationships. There are three types of empathy: basic, inferred, and invitational. Basic empathy is when the counsellor says back to the client what their client is feeling. According to Shebib (1993) "With basic empathy, no attempt is made to interpret, judge, or promote greater awareness or insight beyond that which the client has already articulated" (p. 170). The example listed below shows basic empathy:
CLIENT: I dont understand why my friend has been ignorning my phone calls for the past three months. We have been best friends for years.
COUNSELLOR: So you are frustrated that your friend doesn 't value your relationship.
CLIENT: Yeah very frustrated and mad that she 's hiding from me.
COUNSELLOR: It sounds like you would like
References: Shebib, B. (1993). Choices:Interviewing and Counselling Skills for Canadians. Toronto: Prentice Hall.