Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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Join the International Conference on: How Might We Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion?

 
   
 

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Do You Support Building a Culture of Empathy?

 

The Center for Building a Culture of Empathy is a leader of the global empathy movement. Our mission is to build a movement 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; bridging social and political divides, designing a free online empathy training course, building an academic empathy training literature wiki, and holding public activist Empathy Tent Pop-ups..
  

Blog Roll: Join the Quest 
Latest
interviews, panel discussions, etc,

We reached the 400+ Empathy Circles, Panels and Interviews milestone!!!  There are over 400 hours of experts from around the world talking about how we might build a culture of empathy.

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Dialogue Across the Political Divides
with Empathy Circles.

An Empathy Circle is a structured process that supports meaningful and constructive dialogue. The process is the most effective first step and gateway empathy building practice. It increases mutual understanding and connection by ensuring that each person feels fully heard to their satisfaction.

If We Demanded Empathy from Our
Politicians & Leaders!

 Arthur P. Ciaramicoli

 

 

"If we were committed to developing empathy in our schools and if we demanded empathy from our politicians and from leaders within the corporate world and beyond, then our society would experience the shift from exclusion and fear of differences to a deep appreciation for diversity and also diverse ideas."


"I recently spoke with Edwin Rutsch, founding director of the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy. He has been working for over 12 years to create a more empathic society. He has interviewed over 200 empathy experts and posted the interviews on his website CultureOfEmpathy.Com. Edwin created a simple and accessible method of learning, practicing and deepening mutual empathy in small groups called Empathy Circles.

 

He uses this method to lessons political, social, family and personal divides. He says he finds Empathy Circles to be the most effective first step or gateway practice for enhancing empathy skills."   - Arthur P.Ciaramicoli, The Transformation of Belief: Empathy Circles and Group Practices 

Facing the COVID-19 Pandemic with Empathy at
Work and Home


Empathy Activists Circle #8: View Video On Facebook or On YouTube

An Empathy Circle with empathy activists, experts, book authors, etc. exploring different aspects of how to build a more empathic world.

Maria Ross
Author: The Empathy Edge: Harnessing the Value of Compassion as an Engine for Success  
Being empathetic at work means seeing the situation from another's perspective, and using that vantage point to shape your leadership style, workplace culture, and branding strategy.

Minter Dial
Author: Heartificial Empathy, Putting Heart into Business and Artificial Intelligence.
Heartificial Empathy looks at why and how brands should learn to flex their empathic muscle, as well as how to encode empathy in AI.

Kim Smiley
Founder: The Empathy Effect
The goal of The Empathy Effect is to inspire loving kindness in public and private life, at home, at school, at work and in the world. What are you waiting for? Join the Empathy Revolution.

Edwin Rutsch
Director: Center for Building a Culture of Empathy
The Center for Building a Culture of Empathy is a leader of the global empathy movement. Our mission is to build a movement for creating a global worldwide culture of empathy and care.

 

The Varied Dynamics of Empathy in Politics
 Claire Yorke

 

Claire Yorke is a Henry A. Kissinger Postdoctoral Fellow at International Security Studies and the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University. Her research explores the role and limitations of empathy and emotions in international affairs and diplomacy.  Claire wrote an article/paper titled, The Significance and Limitations of Empathy in Strategic Communications.

 

 

"This article examines the varied dynamics of empathy through the lens of American politics at domestic and international levels. It argues that empathy is a multifaceted and complex concept with transformative power, but also with practical and political limitations, which deserves far greater attention from strategic communications practitioners."

 
 
 

Understanding Empathy and Compassion
Tania Singer


Tania Singer is a social neuroscientist and psychologist at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, Germany. Her research aims to increase our understanding of the foundations of human social behavior. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, she and her team investigate the neuronal, hormonal, and developmental foundations of human social cognition, social and moral emotions such as empathy and compassion. In this dialogue we discussed the nature of empathy and her studies on  different empathy and compassion training types and their benefits.

 

Study Conclusion:
"Contemplative dyads elicited engagement similar to classical contemplative practices and increased perceived social connectedness. Contemplative dyads represent a new type of intervention targeting social connectedness and intersubjective capacities deficient in participants who experience loneliness and in many psychopathologies."

 

 In other words, there are a lot of benefits in people empathically listening to each other.  One of the benefits is that it reduces social anxiety about being judged and they feel more connected. This feeling of lower stress and greater connection lasts over time as well.


Sub Conferences: Science

Empathy Activists Circle #7
How Might We Design Empathy Trainings?

View Video On Facebook or On YouTube

An Empathy Circle with empathy activists, experts, book authors, etc. exploring different aspects of empathy. 

Participants

"Empathy Circles are the most effective gateway and foundational empathy building practice."
Edwin Rutsch
Director: Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

"It's time to harness the power of empathy by creating shared terminology, vision, and values across disciplines and sectors. As leaders of cross-industry dialogue and innovation, we are positioned to develop the standards and best practices of the empathy-building movement."
Elif Gokcigdem
Author: Fostering Empathy Through Museums
 

"History tells us that empathy comprises a complex, artful but also effortful practice that enrolls feelings, intellect, and imagination."
Susan-Lanzoni
Author: Empathy: A History

"Rosa brings deep content expertise in working with engaged empathy to evoke collaborative sense-making, group flow, and energetic alignment within highly diverse groups."
Rosa Zubizarreta
Author: From Conflict to Creative Collaboration: A User's Guide to Dynamic Facilitation
 

Activating Social Empathy in Schools
12 week empathy program for secondary schools

Patrick Dolan

Patrick Dolan is a professor and director of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at  the National University of Ireland Galway. Pat is co-developing and testing the Activating Social Empathy program. Social Empathy Education aims to develop and mainstream Social Empathy Education program in schools and in teacher education.

The program is structured around 4 key learning principles:

1. UNDERSTANDING EMPATHY: Students learn what empathy is and why it is important.

 

2. PRACTICING EMPATHY: Students practice and strengthen their empathy skills.

 

3. OVERCOMING THE BARRIERS: Students discuss the barriers to empathy and identify ways they can overcome these obstacles.

 

4. PUTTING EMPATHY INTO ACTION: Students take part in a social action project of their own choosing.

Building Cultures of Empathy at Work and Beyond
Maria Ross

Maria Ross is the founder of Red Slice, a consultancy that advises entrepreneurs, startups, and fast-growth businesses on how to build an irresistible brand story and authentically connect with customers. She is a keynote speaker who regularly speaks to audiences on marketing and building an engaging brand story that drives growth and impact. Maria understands the power of empathy at both a brand and personal level. She is author of The Empathy Edge: Harnessing the Value of Compassion as an Engine for Success.

 

Ford Madox Brown, Work, Wikipedia

"When you encourage empathy among your workforce and parlay that mindset outward to customers, your company will thrive. Why? Because empathetic businesses better understand their customers and can anticipate their wants and needs - delivering solutions to the market that customers crave."

 

Empathy for Evoking Collaborative Flow
Rosa Zubizarreta

Rosa Zubizarreta works with leaders and groups to catalyze creativity and collaboration. She specializes in developing organizational capacity for strategic conversations to facilitate group learning, shared systemic perspectives, and effective action.


Rosa brings deep content expertise in working with engaged empathy to evoke collaborative sense-making, group flow, and energetic alignment within highly diverse groups. Author of "From Conflict to Creative Collaboration: A User's Guide to Dynamic Facilitation," she teaches this work internationally.  In the last few years, she has been exploring the use of Empathy Circles with some of her organizational clients, with facilitator learning groups, and in communication workshops.

 

'
 

Rosa says, "I'm totally excited to see that Edwin Rutsch, the creator of Empathy Circles, has been bringing his work into the arena of healing political divides. My experience is that this simple-yet-powerful form is actually quite revolutionary, in the
best sense of the word..."

Empathy and Awakening from the Meaning Crisis
John Vervaeke

John Vervaeke, is an award-winning lecturer at the University of Toronto in the departments of psychology, cognitive science and Buddhist psychology.  His work is in integrating science and spirituality to solve the meaning crisis.  He hosts an extensive Youtube video lecture series entitled, Awakening from the Meaning Crisis and has taken part in numerous public dialogues to explore the topic.

John writes, "The Meaning Crisis is at the root of modern crises of mental health, the response to environmental collapse, and the political system. We are drowning in bullshit--literally "meaninglessness". We feel disconnected from ourselves, each other, the world, and a viable future."

 

  

In this dialogue, Edwin Rutsch and John discuss how empathy relates to John's work to solve the meaning crisis. We begin by trying to get a clear mutual understanding on what we mean by empathy.

 

Different Faces of Empathy
feelings of similarity disrupt recognition

Jacob Israelashvili

 Jacob Israelashvili did his PhD in Social Psychology at Tel Aviv University.  His research examines the empathic processes that antecedent understanding and caring for others. Jacob recently coauthored a study and paper entitled: Different faces of empathy: Feelings of similarity disrupt recognition of negative emotions.  In this interview we talk about that study.

Some Highlights of the Study.

  • Recognition of emotions becomes less accurate when having had similar negative experiences.
     

  • Personal distress evoked by a negative story inhibits recognition of the storyteller's emotions.
     

  • Being instructed to take another's perspective does not help to recognize emotions better.

Sub Conferences: Science

Does Empathy have Dark Sides or is it all Light?
 New Part 2 Posted - Part 1 and Part 2

Fritz Breithaupt

Fritz Breithaupt is Provost Professor at Indiana University Bloomington. He founded and directs the Experimental Humanities Laboratory at IU. He is author of the book, The Dark Sides of Empathy.

Fritz argues that some of the dark sides of empathy include; self-loss, side taking, identifying with the helper, sadistic empathy and vampiristic empathy. Edwin argues that empathy is light and the so-called dark sides are not empathy, but blocks to empathy.

Fritz says (and Edwin agrees) that a benefit of empathy is;

 

 "Empathy intensifies our experiences and widens the scope of our perceptions. We feel more than we could with-out it, and it enables us to participate more fully in the lives of others, even fictional characters."

and

 "Empathy is, of course, a critical factor in healthy long-term relationships, too, making it easier for us to understand our family members or romantic partners and anticipate their emotional needs and reactions. Love without empathy would be a sad thing for most people."


Sub Conferences: Science

 
 
 


More Empathy is the Solution to Compassion Fatigue
 


(View On YouTube or On Facebook)

Lou Agosta & Edwin Rutsch discuss Lou's recent article. 'Compassion Fatigue: A radical proposal for overcoming it.' We  talk about the confusion, inaccuracies, myths and misunderstandings about the concepts and experiences of:

* Empathy,
* Compassion,
* Compassion Fatigue,
* Empathic Distress,
* Empathy Fatigue,
* Culture of Empathy.

The good news is that empathy serves as an antidote to burnout or "compassion fatigue." Note the language here. Unregulated empathy results in "compassion fatigue." However, empathy lessons repeatedly distinguish empathy from compassion.
 

Most providers of empathy find that with a modest amount of training, they can adjust their empathic receptivity up or down to maintain their own emotional equilibrium. In the face of a series of sequential samples of suffering, the empathic person is able to maintain his emotional equilibrium thanks to a properly adjusted empathic receptivity. No one is saying that the other's suffering or pain should be minimized in any way or invalidated. One is saying that, with practice, regulating empathy becomes a best practice.

Empathy Circle
What are any concerns, anxieties, worries or fears you are dealing with in your life?

Peter Limberg, John Vervaeke, Jason Snyder, Edwin Rutsch
(View On Youtube or On Facebook)

 

Participants 

  • Peter Limberg - Empathy Circles 'a good conversational modality for memetic mediators to have in their toolkit.'

  • John Vervaeke - Psychology and Cognitive Science Professor | Integrating science and spirituality to solve the meaning crisis

  • Jason Snyder - I found the Empathy Circle format to be a very useful 'enabling constraint' encouraging a dynamic interplay between co-presence, theory, and embodied/intuitive processing. Thanks guys!

  • Edwin Rutsch - Director Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

EMPATHY CIRCLE

Peter Limberg Interviews Edwin Rutsch
About
the Empathy Circle Process

Peter Limberg of the Intellectual Explorers Podcast and Edwin Rutsch discuss the nature of Edwin's Empathy Circle process.  We discuss the origin of the practice, examples, the how to, upcoming events and more.
(View On Facebook or On Youtube)

Regenerative Cultures and Cultures of Empathy
Daniel Christian Wahl

Daniel Christian Wahl is author of Designing Regenerative Cultures. In his book, Daniel explores ways of relating to the many converging crises and opportunities faced by humanity at a local, regional and global scale. He invites us to step back from our tendency to want quick-fix solutions.

In this dialogue, we talk about the relationship between designing Regenerative Cultures and Cultures of Empathy. We see how they are closely interrelated.  Instead of othering and separating from each other, we need to come together with mutual empathy, presence, connection and care to heal the planet and co-design Regenerative and Empathic Cultures.

 

Daniel writes, "Spreading the story of why we care about life and the health of the whole and sharing the narrative of interbeing is culturally creative meta-design. By sharing the new and ancient story of interbeing we facilitate the emergence of diverse regenerative cultures scale-linked by empathy and cooperation."

 

 

Responses to
"Misuse of Empathy Is Devaluing Pain"

Matthew Delaney

Matthew Delaney is an editor and reporter for a local newspaper in the Washington, D.C. metro area. He wrote an article in the magazine Quillette, titled The Misuse of Empathy Is Devaluing Pain. He had a wide range of criticism of empathy, saying it is; divisive, self-centered, and unhelpful. It makes people take sides in a conflict, supports cancel culture, it leads to tribalism, and temps us into immediacy. Matt feels hopeless that society will change for the better or overcome it's polarization and that it will have to hit a rock bottom before it can change.

Edwin listens to and empathizes with Matt and shows how he is misunderstanding the nature of empathy.  He explains how the qualities he is criticizing are not empathy, but the blocks to empathy.

Effective Empathic Listening
Douglas E. Noll

Doug Noll has been in professional practice for over 40 years. For the past 20 years, he has dedicated himself to understanding the emotional and biological origins of human conflict. With this knowledge, he has developed a set of empathic listening skills that "work the first time, every time". He is author of, De-Escalate: How to Calm an Angry Person in 90 Seconds or Less Paperback.

 

Doug says: "Empathic leadership development is essential for teachers, educators, administrators, and school board members. Without the ability to connect with students and parents quickly and effectively, conflict escalates. Empathic leadership is a skill comprised of three elements:

  • The ability to ignore the words, focus on emotions, and reflect those emotions back

  • The ability to problem-solve specific issues once calm is restored

  • The ability to create a learning environment that is emotionally safe

This skills must be learned, practiced and honed to be mastered. Research shows that learning empathic leadership skills will not come from a one-off workshop."
 

Conference: Lawyers for Empathy

 

God and Satan in Mediation
Restorative Empathy Circle
 

God and Satan take part in this Restorative Empathy Circle Mediation to work out their differences. For millennium God and Satan have been in conflict with each other. Edwin Rutsch invites them to take part in a Restorative Empathy Circle to use mutual empathic listening to talk out their differences. The opening issue they talk about is that Satan left heaven.

An Empathy Circle is a structured dialogue process based on mutual active listening. The process increases constructive dialogue and mutual understanding by ensuring that each person feels fully heard to their satisfaction. It can be used for conflict mediation.

 

Transforming Law as a Healing Profession
Pauline H. Tesler

 Pauline Tesler is a a pioneer in interdisciplinary collaborative legal practice. She is founding director of the Integrative Law Institute, author of Collaborative Law: Achieving Effective Resolution Without Litigation.  Her workshops and writings catalyzed an international movement called "Collaborative Law" that is changing the face of family law in 28 nations.  In this dialogue we talk about the role of empathy in transforming law into a healing and collaborative profession.


"We believe that law can be a healing profession, and that lawyers can be peacemakers. At the Integrative Law Institute, our mission is to bring insights and tools to lawyers so that they have what they need to return the practice of law to this original purpose: helping people reach resolution that heals the conflict."
 

Conference: Lawyers for Empathy

The War on Empathy
John Wood

John Wood Jr. is a national leader for Better Angels, a former nominee for congress, former Vice-Chairman of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County, and author of the upcoming book Transcending Politics: Perspectives for a Divided Nation.

 

He is Director of Media Development and spokesman at Better Angels. Better Angels is a national, grassroots, nonprofit organization dedicated to project of creating greater understanding and collaboration in our civic culture between Democratic and Republican voters. I am responsible for the development of original written, video and audio content for Better Angels website and social channels, crafting public messaging, and public speaking.

 

John wrote an article called The War on Empathy. In this dialogue we discuss the article.


"There is something subversive in empathy that makes it threatening to certain social status-quos. Most political coalitions are based, to some degree, on the dehumanization of their opponents.

Some find empathy to be antithetical to the pursuit of justice. To others, empathy is the virtue of the morally irresolute. In a time when some politicians relentlessly insult their opponents on Twitter while others encourage their supporters to harass opponents in public places, empathy may not always strike everyone as a self-evident good. It is good to understand why empathy seems to frustrate, disappoint, or even offend its critics, precisely because it is a virtue worth defending."

Does Empathy have Dark Sides or is it all Light?

Fritz Breithaupt


Fritz Breithaupt is Provost Professor at Indiana University Bloomington. He founded and directs the Experimental Humanities Laboratory at IU. He is author of the book, The Dark Sides of Empathy.
 

Fritz argues that some of the dark sides of empathy include; self-loss, side taking, identifying with the helper, sadistic empathy and vampiristic empathy. Edwin argues that empathy is light and the so-called dark sides are not empathy, but blocks to empathy.
 

Fritz says (and Edwin agrees) that a benefit of empathy is;

 

 "Empathy intensifies our experiences and widens the scope of our perceptions. We feel more than we could with-out it, and it enables us to participate more fully in the lives of others, even fictional characters."

and

 "Empathy is, of course, a critical factor in healthy long-term relationships, too, making it easier for us to understand our family members or romantic partners and anticipate their emotional needs and reactions. Love without empathy would be a sad thing for most people."


Sub Conferences: Science

 
 
 

Building Social and Cultural Empathy
Elizabeth  Segal
 


 

Elizabeth A. Segal is a social policy analyst with a background in professional social work. She currently holds the position of Professor in the School of Social Work at Arizona State University. Dr. Segal's current research is on social empathy, the application of empathic insights into creating better social welfare policies and programs. She has begun work on creating a compendium of methods to teach social empathy and an instrument to measure people's inclination towards social empathy.

Elizabeth is author of many books, including;
   * Social Empathy: The Art of Understanding Others
   * Assessing Empathy.
   * An Introduction to the Profession of Social Work.

 

Our ability to understand others and help others understand us is essential to our individual and collective well-being. Yet there are many barriers that keep us from walking in the shoes of others: fear, skepticism, and power structures that separate us from those outside our narrow groups.

 

 To progress in a multicultural world and ensure our common good, we need to overcome these obstacles. Our best hope can be found
 in the skill of empathy.


Sub Conferences: Science

Best Ways to Learn, Practice and Deepen Empathy
Michele Borba

Michele Borba, is an internationally renowned educational psychologist and an expert in parenting, bullying, and character development. She is an award-winning author of twenty-two books translated into fourteen languages. One of the foremost authorities on childhood development in the country, she is a regular NBC contributor who appears regularly on Today and has been featured as an expert on Dateline, The View, Dr. Phil, NBC Nightly News, Fox & Friends, Dr. Oz, and The Early Show, among many others.  She is author of, UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World.

 

"Empathy is the root of humanity and the foundation that helps our children become good, caring people. But the Empathy Advantage also gives them a huge edge at happiness and success."


Sub Conference: Education

 
 

True Stories About The Healing Power of Empathy

Mary Goyer

 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 engagement.  She is editor of: The Healing Power of Empathy: True Stories About Transforming Relationships.

 

"Empathy is an essential leadership skill and a cornerstone of good relationships - but it can be hard to access when it's most needed. Luckily, empathy is also a learnable skill. With mindfulness, empathy has deescalated conflicts, combated loneliness, and built human connections in the most unlikely places."



The Boyhood of Raleigh by Sir John Everett Millais

 

"What a difference it makes when a dash of empathy
 is added into tense or important conversations
 of every magnitude."


Sub Conference: NVC

It's time to harness the power of empathy.
Fostering Empathy Through Museums

Elif Gokcigdem 

Elif Gokcigdem is a thought leader, historian of Islamic art, and a museum scholar who is committed to creating fertile grounds of empathy through informal learning platforms to inspire positive behavior change, caring mindsets, and compassionate worldviews that value all of humanity and the planet.


Musée du Louvre - Hubert Robert (Wikipedia)

 It's time to harness the power of empathy by creating shared terminology, vision, and values across disciplines and sectors. As leaders of cross-industry dialogue and innovation, we are positioned to develop the standards and best practices of the empathy-building movement.

Empathy Activists Circle
How might we
grow the empathy movement?

 
View Video  ON YOUTUBE or ON FACEBOOK
 

A series of Empathy Circles with empathy activists. Most participants have written books or head programs on the topic. This is a way to explore the different facets of empathy together and for people in the field to get to know each other and exchange ideas and insights.

Participants
Edwin Rutsch: Director, Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

Jackie Acho: Author, Empathy Deficit Disorder: Healing from Our Mix-ups About Work, Home, and Sex

Anita Nowak: Author, The Empaths Strike Back! 

Jack Ricchiuto: Author, Simple Listening

The Empathy Instinct:
How to Create a More Civil Society

 Peter Bazalgette 

Peter Lytton Bazalgette is a British television executive and creative figure. He is a television producer who helped to create the independent TV production sector in the United Kingdom, and went on to be the leading creative figure in the global TV. He was Chair of Arts Council England from 2012 until 2016. He is the author of: The Empathy Instinct: How to Create a More Civil Society.

 

Empathy is the power of understanding others, imaginatively entering into their feelings.
It is a fundamental human attribute, without

which mutually cooperative societies

cannot function.

Empathy:
Bridging The Divide Of Polarizing
Conversations with Edwin Rutsch

Being interviewed by Justine Willis Toms on New Dimensions Radio.
See this link for Free Listening Through May 7, 2019.

For over 4 decades New Dimensions has been gleaning experience and inspiration from some of the world
's most innovative, enlightened, and trustworthy wisdom leaders as it sows the seeds of encouragement and confidence that, together, we can meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • What is the history of the concept of empathy

  • What is the difference between empathy and sympathy

  • What are some physical traits we can cultivate to establish empathy with another

  • What is an example of connecting with a neighbor of a different political persuasion

  • How developing empathy is a gateway practice like developing a muscle

  • What is the process used in the Empathy Cafes both on-line and in person

  • How Rutsch set up an Empathy Tent at a Berkeley political rally

  • Why it is important to repeat back to the person what they have said without having to agree with them...

  • ....


MORE - Blog Roll Continued..

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