The Center for Building a Culture of Empathy is the home and leader of the global
empathy movement. Our
mission is to build a
for creating a global worldwide culture of empathy and care. We do this
through a variety of means. First is by community organizing and
by collecting, curating and organizing all the material we find on the
internet on the topic. A current focus is on; designing a
free online empathy training
course,building an academic
empathy training literature wiki, and holding public activist
Empathy Tent Pop-ups..
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interviews, panel discussions, etc,
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are over 400 hours of experts from around the world talking about
how we might build a culture of empathy.
For more than thirty years, Dr. Brian Goldman has been an active
participant in and keen observer of the culture of modern medicine. Since
2007, he has hosted White Coat, Black Art, a multi-award-winning show on
CBC Radio that reveals what goes on behind a hospital
As a veteran emergency room physician, Dr. Brian Goldman has a
successful career setting broken bones, curing pneumonia, and otherwise
pulling people back from the brink of medical emergency. He always
believed that caring came naturally to physicians. But time, stress,
errors, and heavy expectations left him wondering if he might not be the
same caring doctor he thought he was at the beginning of his career. He
wondered what kindness truly looks like
in himself and in others.
How can empathy transform health care?
Empathy is the way that we establish human connections. Without it,
relationships between people are just transactions and devoid of the
emotional warmth and meaning that I think is inherent in the human
condition. If we could put more empathy into health care, it would mean
that patients are more likely to follow the instructions of physicians and
to feel assured that the best is being done for them.
Shantigarbha is an experienced teacher of both Nonviolent Communication
(NVC) and Buddhism; he is also a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order.
Shantigarbha is an international NVC trainer, certified with the
International Centre for Nonviolent
Communication. He teaches on CNVC's
International Intensive Trainings (IITs), is a CNVC
Assessor-in-training, and serves on the Social Change and Peacemaking
working group. He was given the name Shantigarbha, which means
"seed of peace". He is author of,
I'll Meet You There: A Practical
Guide to Empathy, Mindfulness and Communication.
Empathy is an intuitive body-sense rather that an
intellectual understanding of other people's psychology.
Empathy is appreciating and valuing what is
fundamental to the other person, their deep motivations, their physical
needs, their hopes and dreams. It involved imagining how the other
person might feel in their situation and what is important to them.
Alissa Stover is new gradate in Psychology from UC Berkeley. She along with other students, designed and facilitated a series of empathy
classes there over a several year period. The
Empathy Tent Team worked with the classes to facilitate the
empathy circle practice and set up the empathy tent in Sproul plaza.
experience facilitating the classes.
We believe that empathy is not only fascinating as a concept, but important as
a skill on an individual and societal level. By the end of this course we aim
to have a better understanding of empathy and to feel more able to use it in
our daily lives.
Suman Ghose holds an undergraduate degree from Indian Institute
of Technology, Kharagpur & an MBA from Indian Institute of Management,
He has 22+ years'
corporate work experience in some of the world's top
multinational companies such as Cadbury's, Intel, Philips and PwC.
Suman's focus areas are Leadership Development, Creative Problem Solving
(including Decision Making & Cognitive Biases), Design Thinking (trained
on Stanford D-school's methodology) & Emotional Intelligence (Personal and
He is co-author of
From Command to Empathy: Using EQ in the Age of Disruption.
In a world characterized by
globalization and rapidly evolving technology, change is a given. The
primary workforce is evolving and is now dominated by millennia's who
seek purpose and empathy -
a phenomenon that
top management grapples with.
"An accomplished trainer, therapist and consultant, Elizabeth Morrison
specializes in helping health care organizations enhance human connections
in care provision. Her areas of expertise and passion are building
effective and sustainable integrated behavioral health (IBH) services,
developing patient-centered complex care programs, and providing
research-based training in empathetic communication for healthcare
professionals. Originally inspired by Carl Rogers'research
on the primary role of empathy in healing, she uses evidence-based
strategies to design trainings and consultations tailored to meet the
needs of a wide range of organizations." Elizabeth developed the Empathy
Effect Training and curriculum for teaching empathy skills in the
healthcare field with
for Healthcare Communication."
"Expressions of empathy are the
that ensure caregiving encounters are healing and not harmful.
They are essential for building connection and trust, and especially so
for interactions with people who have suffered trauma. Empathy is
universally accessible, free, an effective treatment by itself in many
and it has no side effects!"
The Healing Power of Empathy and Mindful Listening
David Rakel, MD was the founder and director of the University of
Wisconsin Integrative Medicine program and is now Professor and Chair of
the Department of Family & Community Medicine at the University of New
Mexico Medical School in Albuquerque, NM.
Jeremy Howick is
senior researcher at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health
Services at University of Oxford. His research lies at the crossroads of
philosophy and medicine. His interest in empathetic care grew out of his
interest in placebo effects.
Jeremy is also founder and director of the
The Oxford Empathetic Care
The Oxford Empathetic Care Programme (OxCare) is an
interdisciplinary research group that includes medical practitioners,
philosophers, psychologists, and sociologists.
the importance of empathy in clinical practice.
This includes empathetic relationships between patients (and their
families) and healthcare practitioners, as well as empathetic
relationships between healthcare systems and patients/practitioners.
develop and maintain a glossary of empathy (and related terms) definitions
2. To maintain a database of key measures of empathy
3. To identify and reduce contextual obstacles to empathy
4. Explore the relationship between evidence-based healthcare and
5. To develop empathy training for healthcare practitioners and healthcare
6. To develop a research program
7. To identify obstacles and facilitators to empathy
8. Explore the relevance of empathy to professional burnout and stress
9. To investigate whether the current model of revalidation is empathetic
10. To investigate how can empathetic care improve value-based healthcare
Ventura is founder and CEO of Sub Rosa, a strategy and design studio. Sub
Rosa's clients include a variety of Fortune 100 companies, as well as some
of the world's most progressive start-ups. Michael is author of
Applied Empathy: The New Language of Leadership.
is not about being nice. It's not about pity or sympathy either. It's about
understanding-your consumers, your colleagues, and yourself-and it's a
direct path to powerful leadership.
Applied Empathy presents real strategies, based on Sub Rosa's
design work and the popular class Ventura and his team have taught at
Princeton University, on how to make lasting connections and evolve your
business internally (your employees, culture, and product/services) as well
as externally (your brand, consumers, and value).
Quotes from the book.
"With empathy, complex problems become more understandable, teams becomes
more effective, and companies become more nimble."
Miller is Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at
the University of New Mexico, with over forty years of experience in
teaching empathic understanding. He is a co-founder of
motivational interviewing. His many books include; Lovingkindness, Quantum
Change, Motivational Interviewing, and Portals. His latest book is
Listening Well: The Art of Empathic Understanding. In this
interview we talk about his book and how to be a better empathic listener.
Are you a good listener? How well do you really know the people around you?
A capacity for empathic understanding is hard-wired in our brains, but its
full expression involves particular listening skills that are seldom learned
through ordinary experience.
Through clear explanation, specific examples, and
practical exercises, Dr. Miller offers a step-by-step process for developing
your skillfulness in empathic listening. Empathic understanding can help
to deepen personal relationships, alleviate conflict, communicate across
differences, and promote positive change.
Danny Penman is a journalist and
author. He has worked for the BBC and "The Independent" and is a feature
and comment writer for the "London Daily Mail". He holds a PhD in
biochemistry and a postgraduate diploma in newspaper journalism. He
is author and coauthor of several books on Mindfulness including,
"Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan to Finding Peace in a Frantic World" and
"The Art of Breathing." He wrote an article which was critical of empathy
Janet Blank-Libra teaches courses in journalism as well as
foundational courses in composition and literature at Augustana
University, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She also regularly teaches courses
in literary journalism and creative nonfiction. Janet is the author of
Pursuing an Ethic of Empathy in Journalism. This book advances a
journalistic theory of empathy, challenging long-held notions about how
best to do journalism based only on "objectivity". Because the institution
of journalism has typically equated empathy and compassion with bias, it
has been slow to give the intelligence of the emotions a legitimate place
in the reporting and writing process.
"When journalists practice an ethic of empathy and
compassion, they do not forfeit their objectivity. Empathy seeks to
understand the other, not produce agreement with the other. For this
reason, empathy compels fair treatment of all sources. Just as one should
empathize with the poor person, he or she should empathize with the public
Jessica Jackson Sloan is a human rights attorney, the National
Director & Co-Founder with Van Jones of an organization called
#Cut50, which is a national bipartisan effort aimed at reducing America's
She also serves as the Mayor of Mill Valley, California.
organizes the Day of Empathy in the
first week of March. To cultivate empathy and empower partners and
activists, #cut50 provided content that would help build understanding for
the experiences of incarcerated people and victims of crime.
Take the Pledge to Choose Empathy
Empathy is, at its simplest, the ability to understand and be aware of the
feelings and thoughts of other people, so much that you actually
co-experience them. Empathy is one of the most important aspects of
cultivating harmonious relationships, enhancing emotional awareness, and
yet it can be complicated at times. Threatened by judgment
and fear, we risk opportunities to connect to do good for all.
With empathy, understanding, and love, we can build the
political will needed to rectify the damage caused by the incarceration
industry on individuals, families, and our society.
What is the meaning of
"Free Speech" if people don't
listen to each other? We hear from all sides and every quarter that there is a
need for constructive dialogue on so many critical issues; for people who
disagree to start listening to each other. We strongly agree, and we have been
passionately pursuing creating space for such dialogues both face-to-face and
online. We also see that many are afraid to engage in dialogue on emotionally
charged topics because of where things might lead. This is as true at public
protests as it is in homes and community meetings. How do we think about and
discuss these kinds of issues constructively? How might we do this without
dehumanizing each other and scapegoating? How might we begin to hear each
other and empathize even if we don't agree?
A conservative and a Berkeley progressive hug after taking part in
Circle dialogue about gun control.
As an example, a Jewish member of our team participated in
dialogue with members of Identity Evropa, a white supremacist group. When one
of them asked
"what is Nazism anyway"
the Jewish speaker responded
"For me Nazism means that half my extended family was
killed, that my father at age 10 and his immediate family were forced to flee
Austria, and that the surviving members of my family are now spread all
We hold a Empathy Dialogue Circle with James Damore, fired
Google Senior Software Engineer and author of the 'Google Memo' to find
In his memo, James had called for de-empathizing
empathy. In this dialog we talk about the nature and benefits of Empathy.
For this discussion, we use the Empathy Circle, a structured process for
inclusive, effective and constructive dialogue that allows everyone to be
heard to their satisfaction.
provides training, coaching, and facilitation/mediation around the U.S.
and around the world. He is a speaker and author, and has helped people
resolve conflicts peacefully and collaboratively for over two decades.
John is co-developer and founder of the Mediate Your Life training
program, and worked closely for over a decade with Marshall Rosenberg,
founder of the international work of Nonviolent Communication.
What does that mean to have a culture of empathy?
I see it as skills, so that empathy is not just an ability to just sort of
sense the emotions and that commonality with others, but to actually have
the skills in communications to create that sort of empathic understanding
and connection. But not just that but also to be able to use that when
conflict occurs, to have difficult conversations.
"I see that there are 4 responses to fear,
they are fight, flight, freeze, or empathy."
Publisher's Weekly notes:
"After evaluating her conclusions and meeting her informants in these
pages, it's hard to disagree that empathy is the best solution to stymied
political and social discourse."
"An empathy wall is an obstacle to deep understanding of
another person, one that can make us feel indifferent or even hostile to
those who hold different beliefs or whose childhood is rooted in different
"We, on both sides, wrongly imagine that empathy with the "other" side
brings an end to clearheaded analysis when, in truth, it's on the other
side of that bridge that the most important analysis can begin."
"We are all the surveyors, drafters, and followers of "empathy maps" which
show us whom and whom not to empathize with. Just as political maps can be
drawn and redrawn, so too can empathy maps - depending on the interplay of
gender, race, class, and nationality."
Judith Orloff, MD is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA,
has helped patients find emotional freedom for over 20 years. She
synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge
of intuition, energy, and spirituality to achieve physical and emotional
healing. She is the author of
The Empath's Survival Guide:
Life Strategies for Sensitive People.
"Having empathy means our heart goes out
to another person in joy or pain,"
Edwin Rutsch is the founding director of the Center for Building a Culture
of Empathy and the founder of the International Empathy Trainers
Association. The center's website, CultureOfEmpathy.com, is
the internet's most comprehensive portal for empathy-related material,
including interviews with over 300 experts on the topic.
He is a world traveler, a "seeker," a documentary filmmaker and has worked
in the computer technology field. In his travels, he has interacted with a
wide variety of cultures and peoples from all walks of life and learned to
see and feel the common humanity of all people on the planet.
Mary Goyer is Holistic Counselor, Trauma Specialist, & Executive
Coach. She supports organizations in cultivating innovative, collaborative, and
productive work cultures. Individual coaching and team trainings focus on
peak performance, conflict resolution, effective collaborative and
feedback skills, and managing personality challenges that impede employee
She is editor of:
Empathy Stories: Heart, Connection, & Inspiration.
Empathy Stories is a collection of uplifting stories and anecdotes
highlighting empathy-in-action in real conversations. These stories show
what's possible when compassion comes first between family, co-workers,
and perfect strangers in difficult - even life threatening - interactions. In Empathy Stories: Heart, Connection, & Inspiration, Mary Goyer invites over thirty communication experts to share their most
teachable stories showcasing how simple and powerful true empathy is.
"What a difference it makes when a dash of empathy
is added into tense or important conversations
of every magnitude."
Jessica Alexander is an American expat, author, columnist and cultural
trainer. She graduated with a BS in a psychology and went on to teach
communication and writing skills in Scandinavia and central Europe.
Married to a Dane for 13 years, she lives in Rome with her husband and two
children, Sophia and Sebastian. She is the co-author of
"The Danes' highly developed sense of empathy is one of the main reasons
that Denmark is consistently voted one of the happiest countries in the
world (this year it is once again number one). Empathy plays a key role
in improving our social connections, which is a major factor in our
calms the emotional brain so that we can perceive situations and
interactions accurately and thoughtfully. With empathy, we produce our own
natural stress-reducing chemicals that create calm, focused energy, allowing
us to do and be our best."
"Positive relationships and involvement in meaningful group
experiences create resilience and lessen stress. Such experiences
stimulate the release of oxytocin, the compassion hormone. This hormone
produces feelings of security and calm and inhibits stress and anxiety:
thus it protects us against the release of cortisol.... while cortisol
make us fearful, oxytocin makes us feel comfortable, secure, and in a
position to give and receive empathy... The good news is that we can
produce this effect with practice by expanding our abilities to
communicate with empathy."
"Victim empathy work helps them to acknowledge that it
is real people that they have harmed. Empathy engenders a sense of shared
experience, and an identification with and understanding of the other
person's situation, feelings and motives. Empathy has the potential to
profoundly change our interactions with one another."
Robert Elliott is Professor of Counselling in the Counselling Unit at the University of Strathclyde,
where he directs its research clinic and teaches counselling research and
emotion-focused therapy. A professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Toledo
(Ohio), he is co-author of several books.
co-edited Psychotherapy Research, and Person-Centered Counseling and
Psychotherapies, and is a Fellow in the Divisions of Humanistic
Psychology, Psychotherapy, and Clinical Psychology of the American
Psychological Association. He also teaches workshops about empathy around
"Psychotherapist empathy has had a long and sometimes
stormy history in psychotherapy. Proposed and codified by Rogers and his
followers in the 1940's and 1950's, it was put forward as the foundation
of helping skills training popularized in the 1960's and early 1970's."