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

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International Online Conference on:
How Might We Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion?
Permanently Ongoing

Sub Conference: Empathic Family and Parenting

How to foster a culture of empathy within the family and home life


Teaching Empathy Magazine
Articles about Teaching and Learning how to be more Empathic and Compassionate.

Empathy and the Danish Way of Parenting
Jessica Alexander and Edwin Rutsch

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 Danish Way of Parenting; What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids.

 "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 overall happiness."


Nurturing Empathic Family and Parenting
Robin Grille
"Our job is to be the teachers of empathy - We are empathy farmers!"

Robin Grille is an "empathy farmer", father, a psychologist in private practice with twenty years' experience, and a parenting educator. His articles on parenting and child development have been widely published in Australia and overseas. Robin's first book: 'Parenting for a Peaceful World'  has received international acclaim and led to speaking engagements around Australia, USA and New Zealand. 'Heart to Heart Parenting' is Robin's second book.

A passionate speaker and social change activist, Robin's extensive research has led him to feel that improved attention to babies' and children's emotional needs is the most powerful way to move societies toward sustainability and peace.


"The human brain and heart that are met primarily with empathy
the critical early years cannot and will not grow to
choose a violent or selfish life.


"Building of human empathy is one brick at a time and sometimes
bricks come down in the building process.


"Nobody can escape life's struggles and traumas, but those who have experienced the empathy that helped them build a strong sense of self in childhood tend to have a strong foundation for emotional resilience and can draw on positive internal resources to help them resolve and rebound."

Sub Conference: Empathic Family


Empathy-Based Family Life with Hand in Hand Parenting
Craig Appel & Edwin Rutsch

Craig Appel is the Executive Director of Hand in Hand Parenting, a nonprofit organization that uses the Parenting by Connection approach. They say, "Our mission is to provide parents with insights, skills, and support they need to listen to and connect with their children in a way that allows each child to thrive. We do this through easy-to-access support, classes, and literature. We offer vital information to help parents deal with issues from children biting and kids' temper tantrums to learning issues and bullying on playgrounds and in schools."

"I started to see that helping parents and changing the dynamic in the family and how children are raised is a huge leverage point for changing the world. Raising empathic children... has huge butterfly rippling effects in terms of changing the world...

We model the behaviour of listening with empathy, and that is how we help them grow into social and emotionally intelligent children."

Sub Conference: Empathic Family

Empathy-Based Family Life and Parenting with Love and Logic

Charles Fay and Edwin Rutsch

Charles Fay, Ph.D. is a parent, internationally recognized author, consultant and highly skilled public speaker. He is, President of the Love and Logic Institute, Inc. The Love and Logic Institute is dedicated to making parenting and teaching fun and rewarding, instead of stressful and chaotic. They provide practical tools and techniques that help adults achieve respectful, healthy relationships with their children. All of their work is based on a psychologically sound parenting and teaching philosophy called Love and Logic.

In this interview we discussed the role of empathy in family life, parenting and the Love and Logic parenting model.

"So, that's the limit's part of it. Now the other end of this
 has to do with, how do we do this without losing their love?
 That comes down to empathy. Remember that word.
When you hear Love and Logic, you think empathy. "

Sub Conference: Empathic Family


Empathy-Based Parenting Educators Discuss
What is the Role of Empathy in Different Parenting Styles?

Our panel of Empathy-Based Parenting Educators discuss, What is the Role of Empathy in Different Parenting Styles? Some of the styles discussed are; Authoritarian, Authoritative, Indulgent (permissive), Neglectful (uninvolved), Attachment, Nurturant and Empathic Parenting.


 "there is room for all of us to have empathy for all
of these parents who are struggling, whether
 they are permissive, indulgent, authoritative,
authoritarian or absent. "


Empathic Parenting: Empathy as a Foundation of Family Life
Robbyn Peters Bennett


Robbyn Peters Bennett, LMHC, CMHS is a psychotherapist, educator, and child advocate who specializes in the treatment of trauma-related mental health problems resulting from the effects of early childhood stress, abuse and neglect. She is the founder of, a non-profit dedicated to educating the public on the dangers of spanking. She is on the steering committee of The U.S. Alliance to End the Hitting of Children.


In this dialog we talk about how science shows that we are biologically wired for empathy and how trauma can block it and ways to restore blocked empathy.  We also discuss the role of empathy in different parenting approaches.

" I think for some, there is a religious idea that children are innately sinful, and innately evil even maybe.  But what neuroscience is saying is that children are innately empathic. That the fundamental neurobiological orientation of the brain, is it learns though empathy and through co-regulation and that children have an innate need to connect and they have an innate need to feel good with us and to enjoy us."

Sub Conference: Home & Family

Eva Scherer and Edwin Rutsch: Building Empathy with Children, Touch & Massage

Eva Scherer, professional body worker and the owner of several Sports & Therapeutic massage clinics in Auckland.  In 2000 with like-minded professionals, Eva established Child Connection Trust, a registered charity.

The aim of this organization is to introduce massage into the mainstream education system as a low-cost prevention for child abuse and family violence.  Since then, her award winning Children Massaging Children programme has benefited children in New Zealand as well as overseas. "Our programmes teach Peace and Empathy in the purest way... Most people would react with surprise or disbelief at the concept of empathy being taught in schools; however, this idea is more than mere wishful thinking. The idea of teaching children empathy has been the subject of extensive research in New Zealand and also the focus of at least two Master's degree theses in Poland."

Sub Conferences: Education and Home-Family

Anne Paris: How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Children's Books

Anne Paris, PhD, author of Standing at Water's Edge: Moving Past Fear, Blocks, and Pitfalls to Discover the Power of Creative Immersion, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has practiced psychotherapy for over 25 years, and has specialized in working with artists, trauma victims, couples, and parents.

Also, Anne is coauthor (text) with Marian Brickner (photography) of  Empathy Magic: Insides Out.. A new book that is a fun and whimsical way to introduce young children to EMPATHY. Stunning photographs of bonobo apes illustrate what empathy is, and how empathy helps build good relationships with family and friends. Cute, fun, and engaging. A wonderful tool to help facilitate social skills development, as well as to prevent later problems such as bullying, school violence, and depression. Geared towards children aged 3-7.
Sub Conference: Home & Family and Arts

Robert Brooks: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy

Robert Brooks is one of today's leading speakers on the themes of resilience, motivation, and family relationships. During the past 30 years, Dr. Brooks has presented nationally and internationally to thousands of parents, educators, mental health professionals, and business people with a message based on encouragement, hope, and resilience. He is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and the former Director of the Department of Psychology at McLean Hospital.

He is author or co-author of 15 books including: Handbook of Resilience and has written numerous articles about empathy. He writes, "In my workshops and writings I have consistently emphasized the importance of empathy as an essential skill for enriching our lives...  If empathy is not translated into behavior it will indeed be a "sideshow." However, when empathy serves as a guiding light for our behaviors, showing us the path that leads to compassion and caring, it becomes a potent force that will improve the lives not only of our children but ourselves as well. The more we bring together theory, skills, and actions, the more we can engage in activities that permit us to lead purposeful, fulfilling, caring lives.."

 "a common characteristic of individuals who are successful as business leaders, teachers, parents, spouses, or healthcare professionals is their ability to be empathic. Empathic people are skilled in placing themselves inside the shoes of another person and seeing the world through that person
's eyes. It is not surprising that Daniel Goleman listed empathy as one of the main components of emotional intelligence. In my activities as a therapist and consultant as well as in my personal life, I have come to believe that empathy is implicated in all of our relationships, impacting on the satisfaction and effectiveness with which we interact with others."
Sub Conference: Home & Family

 How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Men's Groups: Owen Marcus, Ken Solin, Edwin Rutsch 
A discussion with Owen Marcus and Ken Solin, both leaders in the men's movement, on how to use micro-communities to teach men empathy and other missing emotional skills. Both Owen and Ken are long term workshop leaders and have a new initiative for building a men's movement to foster Masculine Emotional Intelligence. They hold Man Camp Weekends and have a tool kit where men can start their own circles. ;

Some of the questions addressed in this dialog were

  • How would men sitting together shift the 'culture of empathy'?

  • What is the best way to not just educate men about empathy, but teach the skill?

  • Why are men behind on the empathy curve?

  • In your Man Camp Weekend you speak about a man 'being his own hero' - what does that mean?

  • How can men learn empathy in one weekend?

"One of the values that I think men in particular have to pass on is the value of empathy. Not sympathy, empathy. And what that means is standing in somebody else's shoes, being able to look through their eyes. You know, sometimes we get so caught up in "us" that it's hard to see that there are other people and that your behavior has an impact on them.

 And sometimes brothers in particular don't like to feel empathy, don't like to think in terms of "How does this affect other people?" because we think that's being soft. There's a culture in our society that says we can't show weakness and we can't, therefore, show kindness. That we can't be considerate because sometimes that makes us look weak."  Barack Obama
Sub Conference: Home & Family


Stephanie Mattei & Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Empathy in the Family

Stephanie Bachmann Mattei is a Certified Trainer with The Center for Nonviolent Communication. Parenting is Stephanie's niche. Parenting is a powerful and far-reaching tool for social transformation. Mahatma Gandhi's said, "If we are to reach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with the children." Parenting is one of the most crucial ways to bring about social change in terms of consciousness evolution. We are moving toward a more empathic child rearing.

How to Build a Culture of Empathy? Presently the three main unempathic "Parenting Tools" are; Corporal Punishment, Guilt and Shame inducing communication (verbal and non-verbal), behavior modification through rewards carrots and sticks.  Research show these approaches do not foster empathy and emotional intelligence. In order to change a habit, we need to know what to put in its place. We need an empathic parenting approach.
Sub Conference: NVC  and Sub Conference: Home & Family

 2013 Parenting Matters TeleConference - Stephanie Bachmann Mattei talks with Edwin Rutsch

The Parenting Matters TeleConference
Thursday, January 24 - Monday, January 28, 2013
Presented by the NVC Academy and Stephanie Bachmann Mattei.  Join us for this virtual conference packed with world renown parenting speakers and receive the latest cutting-edge information on what brain science has to offer on parenting and healthy brain development in children, and practical tips for parenting from your heart even when feeling stress. Learn how to foster empathy and compassion in the home.
Sub Conference: Home & Family

Panel 11: Nurturing Empathy in the Home: Attachment and Reflective Capacity


Elle McSharry

Kim Beuhlman

Sarah Schumacher

Edwin Rutsch

Nurturing Empathy in the home: Attachment and reflective capacity.  
Kim, Sarah and Elle discuss promoting empathy, reflection, safety, and compassion in relationships between adults and the infants and toddlers in their care.
Sub Conference: Home & Family

Kenneth Barish & Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Empathy in the Family

Kenneth Barish is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology at Weill Medical College, Cornell University. He is also on the faculty of the Westchester Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy and the William Alanson White Institute Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program. He is the author of Pride and Joy: A Guide to Understanding Your Child's Emotions and Solving Family Problems.

How to Build a Culture of Empathy in the Family?

1) It begins with our relationships with our children. If we put aside as little as 10 - 15 minutes a day to share in our children's interests and listen to their concerns, we strengthen their willingness to listen to others.
2) All real dialogue begins with our willingness to hear - and make a genuine effort to appreciate - another person's concerns: their interests, anxieties, and grievances.
3) Then, when our children know that their feelings are valued and important, we can teach them that so are the feelings of others.
4) We can include doing for others as a regular part of our family lives.
Sub Conference: Home & Family

Marcy Axness & Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Empathy in the Family

Marcy Axness has a private consulting-counseling practice specializing in mind-body fertility, pregnancy psychology, adoption, and early parenting.  She is author of Parenting for Peace: Raising the Next Generation of Peacemakers.

Marcy also provides training for adoption, education, and mental health professionals about the latest findings in the science of human thriving.

How to build a culture of empathy in the family?
1. By giving our children the gift of a well-built brain -- i.e., the frontal and occipital lobes have the circuitry they need to even process empathy!! This begins before most people think parenting begins - in the womb, or even earlier. It is our birthright to experience empathy, and that right is taken from us if we don't have a well-wired brain.
2. For the child to witness and experience empathy, in an everyday, all-day way.
3. Model empathy with our own cells, through how we care for ourselves.

 Sub Conference: Home & Family