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?

Benefits Outline
================

Good Feelings
Feel: Damn Good!!!
  Acceptance
  Aliveness
  Authenticity
  Belonging
 
Calmness & Relaxation
  Caring
  Connection
  Compassion
  Cooperation
  Creativity
  Creative flow
  Closeness
 
Happiness
 
Healing
  Heard
  Identity
  Inclusion
  Self Integration (wholeness)
  Intimacy
  Love
  Mutual Validation
 
Openness
  Presence
  Resilience
  Safe
  Seen
  Self-Empathy
 
Spaciousness
  Transcendence
  Trust

 

Less Negative Feelings
Feel Less;

   
   Aggressiveness
    Alienation
    Anger
    
Anxiety
    Burnout
    Conflict: personal or social
    Confusion  
    Cynicism
    Despair
    Depression
    Fear
    Judgment
    Loneliness
    Narcissism
    Pain
    Pathologies
    PTSD
    Psychopathy
    Righteousness
    Schizophrenia
    Selfishness
    Self-Doubt
    Self-Judgment
    Shame
    Stuckness
    Suffering
    Resentments
    Trauma
    Troubled
    Distress
    Frustrated



Foundation of Morality

Way of Knowing


Fosters Values
 Authenticity
 Community
 Communication

 Collaboration
 Cooperation
 Creativity
 Democracy
 Effective Communication
 Healing
 Removes Internal Blocks
 Conflict Resolution
 Peace
 Positive Change
 Personal Growth
 Imagination
 Innovation 
 Leadership
 Learning
 Problem Solving
 Resilience
 Self Understanding
 Understanding
 Feeling Heard



In Contexts
  Animal Care
  Business & Work
  Education & School
  HealthCare System
  Home & Family

  International Relations
  Justice System
  Organizations
  Media
  Political System
  Romanic Relationships
 

Others
 able to take others perspectives


Articles
Interviews
Peoples Comments
To Do
Sort

 


 

 

 

Benefits of Empathy
(this page is in development)

http://j.mp/UUZ1RR 

 

The Project

We want to systematically lay out the benefits of empathy in this project. We need to show people why empathy is so beneficial to their well being so they will be inspired to cultivate it in their lives and promote it in society. We need to create a benefits organizational framework.  I’m imagining fleshing out each benefit with a write-up, drawings, stories, interviews, etc. and making an entertaining video clip of each one as well.

Join the project team to work on this.
 

Challenge Questions

  • How might we articulate, describe and express the benefits of empathy?

  • How will empathy be helpful and promote or enhance your well being and the people you care about?

  • Why practice, nurture and foster empathy in your life and society?

  • How will empathy help support and meet your needs, values, aspirations and dreams?

 

What does 'benefit' mean?
 

Benefit
  • from Latin benefactum 'good deed',
  • to be useful or profitable to
  • something that is advantageous or good; an advantage:
  • to do good to; be of service to: 
  • something that promotes well-being

Well-being

  • the state of being healthy, happy, or prosperous; welfare.
  • a good or satisfactory condition of existence;
  • a state characterized by health, happiness, and prosperity; welfare.

Helpful

  • serving a useful function; giving help
  • giving or rendering aid or assistance; of service.
  •  to keep from weakening or failing; strengthen


Overview Of Benefits

Empathy has many benefits. First, it feels really good. The pleasure centers of the brain light up when we are empathically heard and understood. It reduces stress and fosters resilience, trust, healing, personal growth, creativity, learning and nourishing connection. Empathy also transforms conflict, and supports sustainable collaborative action and positive social change.


In Brief,
Empathy;
 

1. Fosters good, pleasurable and positive feelings
Feels really good. Pleasure centers of the brain light up.

 

2. Is a Way of Being in Life and the World.
Gives a sense of identity. I am an empathic person and will strive to live that way in the world.

3. Fosters emotional and physical health and well-being
Via connection, care, inclusion, Community, etc.
 

4. Heals painful psychological problems
(loneliness, alienation, anxiety, fear, depression, despair, shame, etc)

  • Helps you from having negative/painful/uncomfortable feelings

  • Is a healing antidote to negative/painful feelings

5. Is the active ingredient in conflict resolution

  • Can head off conflicts before they happen

  • Keeps conflicts from escalating

  • Is the key active ingredient for conflict resolution.

6. Is a Source of Creativity, Innovation and Transformative Action

  • Empathy Connects, Transforms and Removes the Blocks to Action

7. Is a Gateway to, and Supports, Socially Desirable Values
(Healing, happiness, collaboration, understanding, creativity, innovation, etc)
 

8. Expands our Perspectives

  • Is a Way of Knowing (like a sixth sense)

  • Is a Way of Knowing what others know

  • Gives you multiple perspectives, eyes and hands on a situation

  • Gives you more perspectives on self

9. Helps Us Find and Meet Our Needs, Values and Aspirations

 

10. Increases helping and altruism behavior.
(Batson et al., 1987; Eisenberg & Miller, 1987; Krebs, 1975; Toi & Batson, 1982).

 

11. Has Many Benefits in Specific Contexts

 

 

Below we go more in-depth.


Good Feelings
Empathy is sensed as a felt bodily and visceral experience.

  • What are the good feelings that come up in us?

  • What are the positive felt experiences of empathy?

Let's describe that positive emotional constellation or landscape.  While empathy in the broadest sense feels good, let's look more closely at the specific good feelings. What are those good feelings? They can be individually described. You feel a cornucopia of feelings instead of being emotionally monotone, blocked and constricted. People often talk about never having been heard in this way and how good it feels when they have been deeply heard.
 

Empathy Feels Damn Good

To me the first overall benefit of empathy, like Carl Rogers so eloquently states, is that, "IT FEELS DAMN GOOD!" For me this is perhaps a primary draw of empathy.  It just feels so good. 

 

Pleasure Centers of the Brain Light Up
Sylvia Morelli says, when we are understood, or empathized with, the pleasure centers of the brain light up. In other words, feeling empathized with feels good. "Behavioral research has demonstrated that feeling understood by others enhances social closeness and intimacy, as well as subjective well-being. In contrast, feeling misunderstood can be harmful to social relationships, leading to loneliness and isolation. However, it is still unclear why and how felt understanding exerts such a powerful impact on both interpersonal and intrapersonal well-being"  

 

When we have an empathic matching of body movements, even in babies before they can speak, the pleasure centers of their brain light up. "every parent knows that mimicking a baby's behavior, such as clapping hands, brings the child pleasure. Imaging technology has confirmed that this kind of play activates the pleasure center in the baby's brain, whereas engaging in a mismatched activity doesn't."
Wise Beyond Their Years: What Babies Really Know

 
Bodies in sync experience pleasure. When we are deeply heard, the other is in sync with us. It releases Oxytocin I believe. I have the deep feeling of coming together in love making.

Pair of Lovers, by Pal Szinyei Merse

"Which leads us back to the brain’s pleasure center, or reward center. Empathy triggers dopamine and serotonin, neurochemicals associated with the reward center’s conjoined twin, the brain’s emotion center. If, as the scientific literature indicates, mere laughter stimulates the reward center, how much more stimulating would be the act of immersing yourself in the world of another?" David Cameron - The Look of Love - Love's many splendors begin with empathy and attachment

 

“How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it.” Adam Smith

 



Feel Connection  
(versus disconnection, loneliness, alienation)



 


 

"I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship." Brené Brown

 “The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy, we can all sense a mysterious connection to each other.” Meryl Streep

 

Feel  Presence  (versus distance, alone and alienated)
Fighting, Fleeing,  Freezing or Empathizing
With empathy you will develop more presence. Instead of withdrawing, you stay open and present with yourself and others.


 

Feel More Openness (versus deceptive, closed off, hidden, bottle up)

When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you. Susan Sarandon

 

Feel Spaciousness (versus constricted, boxed in and cramped)
Being empathically heard allows you open up and unfold. In time you can feel a greater sense of spaciousness. The bodily muscles relax

 

 

Feel More Calm and Relaxed (versus agitated, nervous and tense)

 

Feel Deeper Intimacy (versus aloneness, antagonism, disunion and isolation)
you will feel more intimacy and closeness.

"When empathy is extended, it satisfies our needs and wish for intimacy, it rescues us from our feelings of aloneness."
Carl Rogers
 

Feel Deeper Caring (versus indifference, disregard, ignored and neglected)

Feel caring for others and feel cared about.


Carl Rogers writes,

"Another meaning of empathic understanding to the recipient is that someone values him, cares, accepts the person that he is.

 

It might seem that we have here stepped into another area, and that we are no longer speaking of empathy. But this is not so. It is impossible accurately to sense the perceptual world of another person unless you value that person and his world - unless you in some sense care. Hence the message comes through to the recipient that "this other individual trusts me, thinks I'm worthwhile. Perhaps I am worth something. Perhaps I could value myself. Perhaps I could care for myself."

A vivid example of this comes from a young man who has been a recipient of much sensitive understanding, and who is now in the later stages of his therapy:
 

Client: I could even conceive of it as a possibility that I could have a kind of tender concern for me. Still, how could I be tender, be concerned for myself, when they're one and the same thing? But yet I can feel it so clearly. You know, like taking care of a child. You want to give it this and give it that. I can kind of clearly see the purposes for somebody else but I can never see them for myself, that I could do this for me, you know. Is it possible that I can really want to take care of myself, and make that a major purpose of my life? That means I'd have to deal with the whole world as it I were guardian of the most cherished and most wanted possession, that this / was between this precious me that I wanted to take care of and the whole world It's almost as if I loved myself - you know - that's strange but it's true.

Therapist: It seems such a strange concept to realize. It would mean 'I would face the world as though a part of my primary responsibility was taking care of this precious individual who is me - whom I love.'

Client: Whom I care for--whom I feel so close to. Woof! That's another strange one.

Therapist: It just seems weird.

Client: Yeah. It hits rather close somehow. The idea of my loving me and the taking care of me. (His eyes grow moist.) That's a very nice one very nice."


 

Feel Happiness (versus sad and depressed)

 


Feel Acceptance (versus unaccepted and excluded)

"Still another impact of a sensitive understanding comes from its nonjudgmental quality. The highest expression of empathy is accepting and nonjudgmental.
[Note: Removes judgment, can be yourself and more self acceptance]
This is true because it is impossible to be accurately perceptive of another's inner world, if you have formed an evaluative opinion of him. If you doubt this statement, choose someone you know with whom you deeply disagree, and who is in your judgment definitely wrong or mistaken. Now try to state his views, beliefs, feelings, so accurately that he will agree that this is a sensitively correct description of his stance. I predict that nine times out of ten you will fail, because your judgment of his views creeps into your description of them.

Consequently, true empathy is always free of any evaluative or diagnostic quality. This comes across to the recipient with some surprise. "If I am not being judged, perhaps I am not so evil or abnormal as I have thought. Perhaps I don't have to judge myself so harshly." Thus gradually the possibility of self-acceptance is increased.

There comes to mind a psychologist whose interest in psychotherapy started as a result of his research in visual perception. In this research many students were interviewed and asked to relate their visual and perceptual history, including any difficulties in seeing, in reading, their reaction to wearing glasses, etc. The psychologist simply listened with interest, made no judgments on what he was hearing, and completed the gathering of his data. To his amazement, a number of these students returned spontaneously to thank him for all the help he had given them. He had, in his opinion, given them no help at all. But it forced him to recognize that interested non- evaluative listening was a potent therapeutic force, even when directed at a narrow sector of life, and when there was no intent of being helpful.

Perhaps another way of putting some of what I have been saying is that a finely tuned understanding by another individual gives the recipient his personhood, his identity. Laing (1965) has said that "the sense of identity requires the existence of another by whom one is known" (p. 139).

[Note: I am a person who is worthy of being listened to and of being heard. In our society you have to have fame or money or power, etc to be worthy of being heard.]  Carl Rogers
 

 

Feel Seen (versus unseen, invisible, ignored, neglected and overlooked)


 

 

Feel Your Own Identity (versus a loss of self)

"Buber has also spoken of the need to have our existence confirmed by another. Empathy gives that needed confirmation that one does exist as a separate, valued person with an identity.

Let us turn to a more specific result of an interaction in which the individual feels understood. He finds himself revealing material he has never communicated before, and in the process he discovers a previously unknown element in himself. Such an element may be "I never knew before that I was angry at my father," or "I never realized that I am afraid of succeeding." Such discoveries are unsettling but exciting. To perceive a new aspect of oneself is the first step toward changing the concept of oneself. The new element is, in an understanding atmosphere, owned and assimilated into a now altered self-concept. This is the basis, in my estimation, of the behavior changes which can come about as a result of psychotherapy. Once the self-concept changes, behavior changes to match the freshly perceived self."  Carl Rogers
 

Feel Creativity   (versus blocked and dulled)

Empathic Creativity: By empathizing with someone, we share each others feelings and thoughts.  There's a feeling of creativity that comes up and we mutually create new ideas and possibilities.  There's a freshness, a burst of energy that comes with each new idea or inspiration. A new energy for taking action.
 

 Feel Love (versus dislike and hate)

Empathy is the first steps toward feeling deeper caring and love.

 

“Love is about bottomless empathy, born out of the heart’s revelation that another person is every bit as real as you are. And this is why love, as I understand it, is always specific. Trying to love all of humanity may be a worthy endeavor, but, in a funny way, it keeps the focus on the self, on the self’s own moral or spiritual well-being. Whereas, to love a specific person, and to identify with his or her struggles and joys as if they were your own, you have to surrender some of your self.”  Jonathan Franzen, Farther Away

 

Love is that enviable state that knows no envy or vanity, only empathy and a longing to be greater than oneself. Thomas More

 

 "But the scientific evidence is unmistakable: Whatever this thing called love is, we humans need it. Deep attachments to others—and the pleasure–center stimulation those links cause—are as vital to our bodies and minds as food and sleep. Their absence carries catastrophic risk to our health and well–being." The Look of Love: Love's many splendors begin with empathy and attachment by David Cameron.

 

"It is, I believe, the therapist's caring understanding--exhibited in this excerpt as well as previously--which has permitted this client to experience a high regard, even a love, for himself. Carl Rogers (i.e. Being empathized with in a caring way allows the person who is heard to have high regard and even love for themselves.)

 
Feel Attachment


Feel Power

"Power comes not from the barrel of a gun, but from one's awareness of his or her own cultural strength and the unlimited capacity to empathize with, feel for, care, and love one's brothers and sisters." "Addison Gayle, Jr.

 

Feel Transcendent Truth

"There is another peculiar satisfaction in really hearing someone: It is like listening to the music of the spheres, because beyond the immediate message of the person, no matter what that might be, there is the universal. Hidden in all of the personal communications which I really hear there seem to be orderly psychological laws, aspects of the same order we find in the universe as a whole. So there is both the satisfaction of hearing this person and also the satisfaction of feeling one's self in touch with what is universally true".  
Carl Rogers - Experiences in Communication
 

Greater Self-awareness, Self-Empathy, Self-Connection

One way to get connected more deeply to our own inner feelings is to withdraw, find solitude or meditate, etc. While that can sometimes help, being empathized with, also allows us to connect more deeply with our own inner feelings, sensations and creativity.
 

 

 

 

 


Aliveness
 


Authenticity
 


Belonging  (vr exclusion, ostracism, ignoring, shunned)

"a sense of belonging is a sine qua non of healthy psychological functioning everywhere. Such a sense, beginning in infancy and continuing throughout life, comes about by experiencing mutual empathy; by sensing oneself as part of a whole, which recognizes and accepts that one is a member." Maureen O'Hara


Cooperative
 


Creative flow
 


Closeness
 

Empathy

Empathy has the benefit of creating more empathy.. Creating a virtuous cycle.


"We need empathy to give empathy. When we sense ourselves being defensive or unable to empathize, we need to (a) stop, breathe, give ourselves empathy,   (b) scream nonviolently, or (c) take time out."
Marshall Rosenberg


Healing


"If you think ahead to what to say next – like how to fix it or make the person feel better – BOOM! Off the board! You’re into the future. Empathy requires staying with the energy that’s here right now. Not using any technique. Just being present. When I have really connected to this energy, it’s like I wasn’t there. I call this “watching the magic show.” In this presence, a very precious energy works through us that can heal anything, and this relieves me from my “fix-it” tendencies."
Marshall Rosenberg


Inclusion
 

 

Compassion

 

Trust  (vrs mistrust, suspicion)

 

Wisdom

 

Resilience

I find the more I'm empathized with, heard and seen, the more resilience I have in. Also learning how to empathize with others, especially in tense or conflicted situations adds to the resilience.


Safety

”The more we empathize with the other party, the safer we feel.” 
Marshall Rosenberg


Self-Exploration
By maintaining our attention on what's going on within others, we offer them a chance to fully explore and express their interior selves. We would stem this flow if we were to shift attention too quickly either to their request or to our own desire to express ourselves."
Marshall Rosenberg
 

 

Self Integration (wholeness) (vrs a fragmented, divided, disjointed, separated self )
Empathy brings the different parts of yourself together. If parts of ones-self are fragmented or at odds with each other, empathy can bring them together to create a feeling of integration and wholeness.   This might be a whole benefit of it's own.


Understanding

”The best way I can get understanding from another person is to give this person the understanding, too. If I want them to hear my needs and feelings, I first need to empathize.” Marshall Rosenberg
 

Vulnerable
”Our ability to offer empathy can allow us to stay vulnerable, defuse potential violence, help us hear the word 'no' without taking it as a rejection, revive lifeless conversation, and even hear the feelings and needs expressed through silence.” Marshall Rosenberg

 


Empathy Can Keep You from Entering Negative and Painful Feelings
A benefit of empathy would be that it keeps us from entering negative or painful feelings like confusion, anxiety, alienation,  loss of identity, not feeling heard, etc, etc. It's a form of preventative care.

 

Less Negative and Painful Feelings - Empathy is the Antidote to these:
Once we are in a negative or painful emotional state, empathy can help bring us back to more positive feelings. Many of the problems that can be addressed with empathy are located here on this Therapy Issues page.

"When the other person is hurting, confused, troubled, anxious, alienated, terrified; or when he or she is doubtful of self-worth, uncertain as to identity, then understanding is called for. The gentle and sensitive companionship of an empathic stance… provides illumination and healing. In such situations deep understanding is, I believe, the most precious gift one can give to another". Carl Rogers  

 

”Time and again, people transcend the paralyzing effects of psychological pain when they have sufficient contact with someone who can hear them empathically.”  Marshall Rosenberg 

 

Alienation



"In the first place, it dissolves alienation. For the moment, at least, the recipient finds himself/ herself a connected part of the human race. Though it may not be articulated clearly, the experience goes something like this.

"I have been talking about hidden things, partly veiled even from myself, feelings that are strange, possibly abnormal, feelings I have never communicated to another, nor even clearly to myself. And yet he has understood, understood them even more clearly than I do. 

If he knows that I am talking about, what I mean, then to this degree I am not so strange, or alien, or set apart. I make sense to another human being. So I am in touch with, even in relationship with, others. I am no longer an isolate." Carl Rogers  From Empathic: An Unappreciated Way of Being
 

" when a person realizes he has been deeply heard, his eyes moisten. I think in some real sense he is weeping for joy. It is as though he were saying, "Thank God, somebody heard me. Someone knows what it's like to be me." Carl Rogers - Experiences in Communication

 

Loneliness

“We all suffer alone in the real world. True empathy's impossible. But if a piece of fiction can alow us imaginatively to identify with a character's pain, we might then also more easily conceive of others identifying with their own. This is nourishing, redemptive; we become less alone inside. It might just be that simple.” David Foster Wallace

Conflict - Personal or social
 

 

Cynicism

 

 

Pain

"Time and again, people transcend the paralyzing effects of psychological pain when they have sufficient contact with someone who can hear them empathically.” Marshall Rosenberg 


 

Empathy gives you the ability to enjoy another person's pain.” Marshall Rosenberg 
 

 

Suffering  - relates to compassion.

"Deep listening is the kind of listening that can help relieve the suffering of another person. You can call it compassionate listening. You listen with only one purpose: to help him or her to empty his heart." Thich Nhat Hanh
 

Anxiety

 


 

Fear

”The more we empathize with the other party, the safer we feel.” Marshall Rosenberg

Anger

The opposite of anger is not calmness, its empathy. Mehmet Oz 

 

Grief

  • The grief journey from Suzanne H
    Benefits Meeting Saturday Oct 5

    • With empathy you can tell your story.

    • When feeling empathy and being heard, you feel you're not crazy, you feel you’re sane.

    • With empathy you feel you’re not locked away.  Empathy unlocks and releases you.

    • Empathy allows all feelings to arise.

    • With empathy you feel like you're relating

    • It's helpful to tell the full story of your experience and the details of it.

       

Depression

  ”To be able to hear our own feelings and needs and to empathize with them can free us from depression.” Marshall Rosenberg

 

”NVC enhances inner communication by helping us translate negative internal messages into feelings and needs. Our ability to distinguish our own feelings and needs and to empathize with them can free us from depression.” Marshall Rosenberg
 

Stuckness
 

 

Self-Doubt


 

Self-Judgment
"Translate all self-judgments into self-empathy." Marshall Rosenberg

 

Confusion  

It is astonishing how elements which seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens. How confusions which seem irremediable turn into relatively clear flowing streams when one is heard. "  Carl Rogers

 

Troubled


 

 Distress
 

 

Frustrated - feeling frustrated at not being heard.

 


Righteousness (self-righteous)

“Empathy is an antidote to righteousness, although it’s very difficult to empathize across a moral divide.” Jonathan Haidt, from The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

 

Shame

  "Shame needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence, and judgment.... You put the same amount of shame in a petri dish and you dowse it with empathy, you've create an environment that is hostile to shame. Shame cannot survive being spoken. It can't survive empathy. If I call you and something very shaming happened to me,... and I tell you, and you express empathy, shame can't survive it. Shame depends on me buying into the belief that I am alone, " Brené Brown

 

Pathologies
 

 

Narcissism

 


Psychopathy

 


Schizophrenia

 


Others

Addiction  Gabor Mate

Boundaries
Communication Difficulties

Healing Survivors of child abuse/ neglect & victims of psychopaths
Healing PTSD

Racism
Resentments - (Newt Bailey suggestion and clip: It can help you get rid of resentment)
Sadness
 

Needs are Met

”Our goal is to create a quality of empathic connection that allows everyone's needs to be met.” Marshall Rosenberg
 

”If the other persons behavior is not in harmony with my own needs, the more I empathize with them and their needs, the more likely I am to get me own needs met.” 
Marshall Rosenberg

Others to Sort

 

”Empathy allows us to re-perceive our world in a new way and move forward ” 
Marshall Rosenberg
 

”Our ability to offer empathy can allow us to stay vulnerable, defuse potential violence, help us hear the word 'no' without taking it as a rejection, revive lifeless conversation, and even hear the feelings and needs expressed through silence.” 

Marshall Rosenberg

 

 ”Our ability to offer empathy can allow us to stay vulnerable, defuse potential violence, help us hear the word 'no' without taking it as a rejection, revive lifeless conversation, and even hear the feelings and needs expressed through silence.” Marshall Rosenberg

 

 

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Foundation for Morality
Morality is about a code or doctrine of conduct. It is often seen as what is right or wrong, good or bad.  Empathy is a building block of morality and the foundation of the golden rule. We can have a code of conduct that we want to be empathic and contribute to the well being of others and support their needs.

(see Michael Slote)
(see Martin Hoffman)

 

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A Way of Knowing

  • Epistemological benefits.  Empathy "gives us the benefit of what others are thinking and have learned and constitutes a way of knowing about things that is somewhat independent of the usual modes of knowing: perception, memory, and inference". Michael Slote

  • (is empathy like a sixth sense?)

  • A way of knowing with direct mirrored sensing.

  • A way of knowing with imaginative empathic role taking.

  • Empathy allows emulation and imitation: this way of knowing allows for fast learning . See the polar bear slow adaptation versus human fast adaptation story by VS Ramachandran.

 

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Foundation of Helping: You Can Help and Contribute to Others Wellbeing 

"I discovered that simply listening to my client, very attentively, was an important way of being helpful. " 

Carl Rogers

 

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Supports  Positive Social Values

"Empathy is the greatest virtue. From it, all virtues flow. Without it, all virtues are an act." Eric Zorn
 

"I thought, "Why? and how did we evolve with this weak, and useless passion in tact within the deep heart's core?" And the answer as I've formulated it to myself is that empathy is the engine that powers all the best in us."   Meryl Streep

 

Promotes Health

 

Study: How positive emotions build physical health: perceived positive social connections account for the upward spiral between positive emotions and vagal tone.
 Results suggest that positive emotions, positive social connections, and physical health influence one another in a self-sustaining upward-spiral dynamic.

 

Empathy provides more than just information about relationships. It is an expression of being in relationship. It is not just a means to better healing relationship, but because it recenters relationship as a central organizing feature of psychic life, empathy itself is healing. The experience of being known and accepted deeply by another, being aware of another being aware of you, what Jordan calls "mutual empathy"  Maureen O'Hara

 


Promotes Healing - (Physical and Emotional)

Emotional
"The gentle and sensitive companionship of an empathic stance - accompanied of course by the other two attitudes - provides illumination and healing. In such situations deep understanding is, I believe, the most precious gift one can give to another." Carl Rogers

 "situations in which the empathic way of being has the highest priority. When the other person is hurting, confused, troubled, anxious, alienated, terrified; or when he or she is doubtful of self-worth, uncertain as to identity, then understanding is called for.
The gentle and sensitive companionship of an empathic stance - accompanied of course by the other two attitudes - provides illumination and healing. In such situations deep understanding is, I believe, the most precious gift one can give to another. Carl Rogers

Empathy can improve psychological outcomes for patients with cancer and palliative care patients
Reduces bad stress and inflammation

 

 

Physical

  • Studies show a cold is one day shorter with a doctor that offers empathy

  • Health care stories - From the Empathy Cafe

    • story telling eyes light up. their bodies soften, they become energized, become tearful

    • their bodies are flooded with positive chemicals - endorphins

 

Foster Positive Change

"Over the years, however, the research evidence keeps piling up, and it points strongly to the conclusion that a high degree of empathy in a relationship is possibly the most potent and certainly one of the most potent factors in bringing about change and learning.Carl Rogers

"This kind of sensitive, active listening is exceedingly rare in our lives. We think we listen, but very rarely do we listen with real understanding, true empathy. Yet listening, of this very special kind, is one of the most potent forces for change that I know.  How does this climate which I have just described bring about change? Briefly, as persons are accepted and prized, they tend to develop a more caring attitude toward themselves. As persons are empathetically heard, it becomes possible for them to listen more accurately to the flow of inner experiencings. But as a person understands and prizes self, the self becomes more congruent with the experiencings. The person thus becomes more real, more genuine. These tendencies, the reciprocal of the therapist's attitudes, enable the person to be a more effective growth-enhancer for himself or herself. There is a greater freedom to be the true, whole person.” Carl Rogers

 

 Extremely important in understanding and "effecting changes in personality and behavior." Carl Rogers

"ways of being with people which evoke self-directed change, which locate power in the person, not the expert, and this brings me again to examine carefully what we mean by empathy and what we have come to know about it."   Carl Rogers

 

"Empathy is clearly related to positive outcome. From schizophrenic patients to pupils in ordinary classrooms; from clients of a counseling center to teachers in training; from neurotics in Germany to neurotics in the United States, the evidence is the same, and it indicates that the more the therapist or teacher is sensitively understanding, the more likely is constructive learning and change." Carl Rogers

 

Empathy is the only human superpower-it can shrink distance, cut through social and power hierarchies, transcend differences, and provoke political and social change. Elizabeth Thomas

 


"a listening, empathic approach leads
to improved communication,
to greater acceptance of others and by others, and
to attitudes which are more positive and more problem-solving in nature.

There is a decrease
in defensiveness,
in exaggerated statements,
in evaluative and critical behavior."  Carl Rogers

 

 

A Source of  Personal Growth
Promoting Self Growth
more accurate sense of self.
a powerful source of change and growth

Promotes Creativity

”Only by examining our personal biases can we truly grow as artists; only by cultivating empathy can we truly grow as people.” Jen Knox
 

Leads to Greater Authenticity

  • 'releasing effect

  • don't need to be on guard

  • can be more expressive and real in the real relationship"  Carl Rogers - The Client - Part 2

 

 

Fosters Connection
 

 

Dissolves Alienation

"For the moment, at least, the recipient finds himself/ herself a connected part of the human race. Though it may not be articulated clearly, the experience goes something like this. "I have been talking about hidden things, partly veiled even from myself, feelings that are strange, possibly abnormal, feelings I have never communicated to another, nor even clearly to myself. And yet he has understood, understood them even more clearly than I do. If he knows that I am talking about, what I mean, then to this degree I am not so strange, or alien, or set apart. I make sense to another human being. So I am in touch with, even in relationship with, others. I am no longer an isolate."

Perhaps this explains one of the major findings of our study of psychotherapy with schizophrenics. We found that those patients receiving from their therapists a high degree of accurate empathy as rated by unbiased judges, showed the sharpest reduction in schizophrenicpathology as measured by the MMPI (Rogers, et al, 1967, p. 85). This suggests that the sensitive understanding by another may have been the most potent element in bringing the schizophrenic out of his estrangement, and into the world of relatedness. Jung has said that the schizophrenic ceases to be schizophrenic when he meets someone by whom he feels understood. Our study provides empirical evidence in support of that statement.

Other studies, both of schizophrenics and of counseling center clients, show that low empathy is related to a slight worsening in adjustment or pathology. Here, too, the findings make sense. It is as if the individual concludes "If no one understands me, if no one can grasp what these experiences are like, then I am indeed in a bad way more abnormal than I thought." One of Laing's patients states this vividly in describing earlier contacts with psychiatrists:

It's a most terrifying feeling to realize that the doctor can't see the real you, that he can't understand what you feel and that he's just going ahead with his own ideas. I would start to feel that I was invisible or maybe not there at all (Laing, 1965, p. 166). "  Carl Rogers

 

"Only curiosity about the fate of others, the ability to put ourselves in their shoes, and the will to enter their world through the magic of imagination, creates this shock of recognition. Without this empathy there can be no genuine dialogue, and we as individuals and nations will remain isolated and alien, segregated and fragmented." Azar Nafisi

 


Education – Learn more and better

 
"If we think, however, that empathy is effective only in the one-to-one relationship we call psychotherapy, we are greatly mistaken. Even in the classroom it makes an important difference. When the teacher shows evidence that he/she understands the meaning of classroom experiences for the student, learning improves. In studies made by Aspy and colleagues, it was found that children's reading improved significantly more when teachers exhibited a high degree of understanding than in classrooms where such understanding did not exist. This finding has been replicated in many classrooms (Aspy, 1972, Ch.4; Aspy and Roebuck, 1975). Just as the client in psychotherapy finds that empathy provides a climate for learning more of himself, so the student in the classroom finds himself in a climate for learning subject matter, when he is in the presence of an understanding teacher."  Carl Rogers

 

"I believe I know why it is satisfying to me to hear someone. When I can really hear someone, it puts me in touch with him; it enriches my life. It is through hearing people that I have learned all that I know about individuals, about personality, about interpersonal relationships." 
Carl Rogers - Experiences in Communication

 

Learning is a result of listening, which in turn leads to even better listening and attentiveness to the other person. In other words, to learn from the child, we must have empathy, and empathy grows as we learn. Alice Miller

 

Deepens Self Understanding and Removes Internal Blocks

 

 Imagination - Supports imagination

“Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not - and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation - in its’ arguably most tranformative and revelatory capacity it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.” ― J.K. Rowling

 

 

 

A Source of Creativity

"Caring is an attitude which is known to foster creativity -- a nurturing climate in which delicate, tentative new thoughts and productive processes can emerge. " Carl Rogers

"Empathic, emotionally intelligent work environments have a good track record of increasing creativity, improving problem solving and raising productivity." Daniel Goleman

 

The field of Empathic Design or human-centered design makes the case for the benefits of empathy in fostering creativity and innovation.

"We find that with more empathy, with more of a human-centered approach, people are able to do that more easily. They are more motivated and become more effective in their lives." David Kelley

"What do we mean by empathy in terms of creativity and innovation? For us, it’s the ability to see an experience through another person’s eyes, to recognize why people do what they do. It’s when you go into the field and watch people interact with products and services in real time—what we sometimes refer to as “design research.”

Gaining empathy can take some time and resourcefulness. But there is nothing like observing the person you’re creating something for to spark new insights. And when you specifically set out to empathize with your end user, you get your own ego out of the way. We’ve found that figuring out what other people actually need is what leads to the most significant innovations. In other words, empathy is a gateway to the better and sometimes surprising insights that can help distinguish your idea or approach." David Kelley and Tom Kelley


 


A Source of Innovation


"Design empathy is an approach that draws upon people’s real-world experiences to address modern challenges. When companies allow a deep emotional understanding of people’s needs to inspire them—and transform their work, their teams, and even their organization at large—they unlock the creative capacity for innovation." By Katja Battarbee, Jane Fulton Suri, and Suzanne Gibbs Howard, IDEO

 

"Empathy is a powerful force. Research shows that when we are empathetic, we enhance our ability to receive and process information. Putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes—a part of our subconscious behavior—causes measurable changes in our cognitive style, increasing our so-called field-dependent thinking. This type of thinking helps us put information in context and pick up contextual cues from the environment, which is essential when we’re seeking to understand how things relate to one another, literally and figuratively. Research also shows that we are more helpful and generous after an empathic encounter (Decety and Ickes, 2011). Taken together, this empathetic behavior personally motivates us to solve design challenges". By Katja Battarbee, Jane Fulton Suri, and Suzanne Gibbs Howard, IDEO

 



Foundation of Collaboration


 

 

Increased Cooperation

"increased cooperation and care in conflict situations, including conflict in bargaining and negotiations, ethnic, religious, and political conflicts, and racial conflicts in educational settings; "  Benefits of Empathy-Induced Altruism  - C. Daniel  Batson

Fosters Understanding (of others)

Empathy has the benefit of people being about to understand the world of another. We can understand their feelings, intentions, desires needs, etc. (how is this beneficial?) It expands our world and enriches it. It expands  the range of our understanding.

 

You can only understand people if you feel them in yourself. John Steinbeck , East of Eden
 

“Reading fiction not only develops our imagination and creativity, it gives us the skills to be alone. It gives us the ability to feel empathy for people we've never met, living lives we couldn't possibly experience for ourselves, because the book puts us inside the character's skin.” - Ann Patchett

 

"The third facilitative aspect of the relationship is empathic understanding. This means that the therapist senses accurately the feelings and personal meanings that the client is experiencing and communicates this understanding to the client.  When functioning best, the therapist is so much inside the private world of the other that he or she can clarify not only the meanings of which the client is aware but even those just below the level of awareness.  This kind of sensitive, active listening is exceedingly rare in our lives. We think we listen, but very rarely do we listen with real understanding, true empathy. Yet listening, of this very special kind, is one of the most potent forces for change that I know."   Carl Rogers - Empathic: An Unappreciated Way of Being

 

"The state of empathy, or being empathic, is to perceive the internal frame of reference of another with accuracy and with the emotional components and meanings which pertain thereto as if one were the person." Carl Rogers - Empathic: An Unappreciated Way of Being

 

"Empathy means both understanding others on their own terms and bringing them within the orbit of one's own experience." - Jacob A. Belzen

Empathic Resilience

Develop your empathic resilience.
It is a sense of spaciousness,

greater ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like;
you will have better resilience to adversity
 

Feeling Heard
Be heard deeply personal support
Feeling heard, puts me at peace and new ideas flow (creativity)

 

 


Problem Solving
Allows us to live not just in our own heads but in others' heads too
 

 

"Empathy is a universal solvent.  Any problem immersed in empathy becomes soluble.Simon Baron-Cohen,  The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty

"Empathy is like a universal solvent. Any problem immersed in empathy becomes soluble. It is effective as a way of anticipating and resolving interpersonal problems, whether this is a marital conflict, an international conflict, a problem at work, difficulties in a friendship, political deadlocks, a family dispute, or a problem with a neighbor." Simon Baron-Cohen
 

A number of times in my life I have felt myself bursting with insoluble problems, or going round and round in tormented circles I can testify that when you are in psychological distress and someone really hears you without passing judgment on you, without trying to take responsibility for you, without trying to mold you, it feels damn good! It is astonishing how elements that seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens, how confusions that seem irremediable turn into relatively clear flowing streams when one is heard.  Carl Rogers Experiences in Communication

 

"When I have been listened to and when I have been heard, I am able to re-perceive my world in a new way and to go on. It is astonishing how elements that seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens, how confusions that seem irremediable turn into relatively clear flowing streams when one is heard. I have deeply appreciated the times that I have experienced this sensitive, empathic, concentrated listening."   Carl Rogers - Experiences in Communication

 

"One friend, one person who is truly understanding, who takes the trouble to listen to us as we consider a problem, can change our whole outlook on the world." E. H. Mayo


Learning from Others
It allows us to learn skills from others

Learning from

  • Mirroring Activity - Artists copy the brush strokes of master painters to embody and take in the style and emotion of the master painter.

  • Role Playing - doing empathic role playing,

  • Being more relaxed and able to study better

  • you will do better academically. 

  • it increase your emotional intelligence.


Leadership
Be a better leader

"Leaders with empathy do more than sympathize with people around them: they use their knowledge to improve their companies in subtle, but important ways."  Daniel Goleman


Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives.– Oprah Winfrey
 

"The main tenet of design thinking is empathy for the people you're trying to design for. Leadership is exactly the same thing--building empathy for the people that you're entrusted to help. Once you understand what they really value, it's easy because you can mostly give it to them. You can give them the freedom or direction that they want. By getting down into the messy part of really getting to know them and having transparent discussions, you can get out of the way and let them go. The way I would measure leadership is this: of the people that are working with me, how many wake up in the morning thinking that the company is theirs?"" David Kelley:

 


Conflict Resolution
 is the foundation of conflict resolution

 

 "Empathy is our most valuable natural resource
for conflict resolution."

 Simon Baron-Cohen
TEDx: The Erosion of Empathy

Personal

Interpersonal and Societal
 

Effective Communication


"Man's inability to communicate is a result of his failure to listen effectively." Carl Rogers


 

It's a Social Glue that Holds Society Together
Places without empathy are like Rwanda or Cambodia during the genocides and killing fields.

 

 

A Foundation for Democracy

 

"Empathy is vital for a healthy democracy, it ensures that we listen to different perspectives and we hear other peoples emotions, and that we also feel them. Indeed without empathy, democracy would not be possible."
 Simon Baron-Cohen
TEDx: The Erosion of Empathy

 


 

A Foundation of Peace

 

"Learning to stand in somebody else's shoes, to see through their eyes, that's how peace begins. And it's up to you to make that happen." Barack Obama


”Peace requires something far more difficult than revenge or merely turning the other cheek; it requires empathizing with the fears and unmet needs that provide the impetus for people to attack each other. Being aware of those feelings and needs, people lose their desires to attack back because they see the human ignorance leading to those attacks. Instead, their goal becomes providing the empathic connection and education that will enable them to transcend their violence and engage in cooperative relationships.'” Marshall Rosenberg


Throughout the world, teachers, sociologists, policymakers and parents are discovering that empathy may be the single most important quality that must be nurtured to give peace a fighting chance. Arundhati Ray

 

Reconciliation is a deep practice that we can do with our listening and our mindful speech. To reconcile means to bring peace and happiness to nations, people, and members of our family.... In order to reconcile, you have to possess the art of deep listening,   Thich Nhat Hanh

 

"Listening is a very deep practice….You have to empty yourself. You have to leave space in order to listen….especially to people we think are our enemies – the ones we believe are making our situation worse. When you have shown your capacity for listening and understanding, the other person will begin to listen to you, and you have a change to tell him or her of your pain, and it’s your turn to be healed. This is the practice of peace.”  Thich Nhat Hanh

”Peace requires something far more difficult than revenge or merely turning the other cheek; it requires empathizing with the fears and unmet needs that provide the impetus for people to attack each other. Being aware of those feelings and needs, people lose their desires to attack back because they see the human ignorance leading to those attacks. Instead, their goal becomes providing the empathic connection and education that will enable them to transcend their violence and engage in cooperative relationships.'” Marshall Rosenberg

 

A Motivation for Altruism
A source of altruism in helping community members in need of assistance.


 

Meeting the Needs of Others

"Empathetic people are superb at recognizing and meeting the needs of clients, customers, or subordinates. They seem approachable, wanting to hear what people have to say. They listen carefully, picking up on what people are truly concerned about, and respond on the mark,"   Primal Leadership.

 

Success
 

"If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from his angle as well as your own. "  Henry Ford

 

"Empathically accurate perceivers are those who are consistently good at 'reading' other people's thoughts and feelings. All else being equal, they are likely to be the most tactful advisors, the most diplomatic officials, the most effective negotiators, the most electable politicians, the most productive salespersons, the most successful teachers, and the most insightful therapists." William John Ickes

 

 

Benefits in Specific Contexts

This area is for the benefits of empathy in different personal and social contexts. T

  • The Direction of Empathy

    • Self-Empathy (Intra-personal empathy) - Empathy with yourself

    • Empathy Receiver - When you are empathized with by others. The "receiver " of empathy, like in a therapeutic situation where the counselor is listening to you.

    • Empathy Giver - When you empathize with others. When one person is listening to someone else.

    • Transformational Empathy - When you are in a empathic environment. A mutually empathic environment where all people are listening each other.

  • Scope - zooming out from personal to global

    • Individual

    • Home

    • Friends

    • Neighborhood

    • Religion

    • Country

    • International Relations

    • World Society

  • Self-Empathy

  • Romanic Relationships

    • you will have more positive close relationships, including family, friendships and romantic relationships

    • less likely to get a divorce.

  • Home and Family

    • It makes for a more happy, nurturing and fulfilling home life

    • Parents can read the needs of the infant and attend to them.

  • Child Development

    • Fosters Healthy Children
      Empathy allows parents to sense and feel the needs of their newborns, and children so that they can attend to their needs. If a parent a parent can '”read” and thereby address their infant's needs,  Attachment theory
       

  • School- Education

    •  Empathy in Education by Bridget Cooper. Chapter 5 - The Benefits of Empathy in Teaching and Learning Relationships. "According to teachers, an empathic approach has immediate effects, but over time, as empathy becomes more profound, these effects multiply. They fall into three main categories. 

      • Immediate

        • Talk and communication

        • Personal Exchange

        • Self-esteem building

        • Friendship

        • Emotional links and Understanding

      • Deeper - Profound Empathy

      • Consolidated

    • Reduces Bullying

  • Business and Work

  • Business Leadership

  • Human Centered Design

  • Organizations

  • HealthCare

    • it treat the whole person

      • patents feel supported and cared about

    • speeds up recovery from disease

      • shorter colds with empathic doctor.

    • doctors have less burnout (article)

    •  Empathy establishes   a healthy physician–patient relationship. how?

    • Physician empathy fulfills the patient’s basic human need to be understood and potentially impacts therapeutic effectiveness

    • "Our results show that physicians with high empathy scores had better clinical outcomes than other physicians with lower scores."  Mohammadreza Hojat

  • Justice System

  • Political System

  • Animal Care

  • Society

    • Fosters Social Cohesion and Connection
      it is the social glue that hold society together.

      "Empathy is vital for subtle communication, sensitive social interaction, fine-tuned social awareness, and rapid, accurate responses to others' non-verbal indicators of their changing mental states. Practical benefits of empathy are

      • how a parent can '”read” their infant's needs,

      • how a dispute can be diffused before it leads to conflict,

      • how different perspectives can be appreciated,

      • and how we can live not just in our own heads but in others' heads too."  Simon Baron-Cohen