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Culture of Empathy Builder:  Arthur J. Clark

Empathy Definitions Models: "Integral" & "Way of Being"

Arthur Clark



Arthur J. Clark is an emeritus Professor and Coordinator of Counseling and Human Development Program at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.


He is the author of five books and over 50 articles and book chapters in the mental health field.  He is the author of two books on empathy in counseling and Psychotherapy. They are, Empathy and Mental Health: An Integral Model for Developing Therapeutic Skills in Counseling and Psychotherapy and Empathy in Counseling and Psychotherapy: Perspectives and Practices

We discussed Arthur's Integral Model of Empathy in the context of therapy, which consists of three aspects; Interpersonal, Subjective and Objective Empathy. We also talk about Edwin's, Empathy as a Way of Being Model.

  • Subjective Empathy - enables a counselor to momentarily experience what it is like to be a client,

  • Interpersonal Empathy - relates to understanding a client's phenomenological experiencing, and

  • Objective Empathy - uses reputable knowledge sources outside of a client's frame of reference.




Empathy Definitions Models: Integral and Way of Being

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Empathy and Mental Health: An Integral Model for Developing Therapeutic Skills in Counseling and Psychotherapy 1st Edition,


Empathy and Mental Health shows mental health professionals how to employ a deeper understanding of subjective, objective, and interpersonal modalities of empathy in their practice.

Chapters are full of case studies and examples that demonstrate empathy’s role in challenging and complex encounters, and as each concept and process is introduced, Dr. Clark discusses strategies for responding empathically. The book has a sound theoretical grounding that is informed by extensive material on empathy and empathic understanding from the counseling and psychotherapy literature and related fields of inquiry.

Drawing from psychodynamic, existential-humanistic, cognitive behavioral, and other contemporary orientations, this text makes empathy immediately useful and understandable to students and practitioners.




Empathy in Counseling and Psychotherapy: Perspectives and Practices


The purpose of this text is to organize the voluminous material on empathy in a coherent and practical manner, filling a gap that exists in the current therapeutic literature. Empathy in Counseling and Psychotherapy: Perspectives and Practices comprehensively examines the function of empathy as it introduces students and practitioners to the potential effectiveness of utilizing empathic understanding in the treatment process.
Employing empathy with full recognition of its strengths and limitations promotes sound strategies for enhancing client development. As an integral component of the therapeutic relationship, empathic understanding is indispensable for engaging clients from diverse backgrounds. This cogent work focuses on understanding empathy from a wide range of theoretical perspectives and developing interventions for effectively employing the construct across the course of treatment. The book also presents a new approach for integrating empathy through a Multiple Perspective Model in the therapeutic endeavor. 

Organized into three sections, the text addresses empathy in the following capacities:

  • *historical and contemporary perspectives and practices in counseling and psychotherapy;

  • *theoretical orientations in counseling and psychotherapy; and

  • *a Multiple Perspective Model in counseling and psychotherapy.


Table of Contents

Ch. 1

The meaning of empathy in counseling and psychotherapy


Ch. 2

Value of empathy in counseling and psychotherapy


Ch. 3

Theories of counseling and psychotherapy and empathy


Ch. 4

Person-centered therapy and empathy


Ch. 5

Psychoanalytic therapy and empathy


Ch. 6

Self psychology and empathy


Ch. 7

Multiple ways of knowing and empathy


Ch. 8

Therapeutic techniques and empathy in counseling and psychotherapy


Ch. 9

Therapeutic techniques and empathy in group counseling and psychotherapy


Ch. 10

Empathy in counseling and psychotherapy : a case study






Early Recollections and Empathic Use of Self: A key to understanding the first memories of life.
August 18, 2022 - Psychology Today

  • An empathic use of self facilitates an understanding of a person's early recollections.

  • An empathic use of self contributes to developing a relationship with an individual.

  • Early recollections are possible to understand through an experiential and reasoning process.

Empathy and Early Recollections: A Match That Works
Understanding the first memories of life through three empathic steps.

June 26, 2020 - Psychology Today

"Grasping the meaning of an early recollection of a person involves momentarily experiencing what it is like to be the individual. When listening to a remembrance, it is possible to engage three empathic postures in order to make sense of the memory. First, allow the recollection to resonate internally. Second, attune to verbal and nonverbal communications. Third, draw from personal experiences of listening to previous memories from others, and from learning about early recollections."


Empathy Is Key to Understanding the First Memories of Life
Grasping the meaning of early recollections from multiple empathy perspectives.

 April 6, 2020 - Psychology Today

Interpersonal and objective empathic perspectives also contribute to understanding first memories. In my next post, I will detail how both modalities blend with subjective empathy in clarifying the meaning of an individual's early recollections. Empathy enables a person to momentarily experience what life is like for another person by facilitating a mutual connection to an event from a long time ago.



Mirror Neurons, Empathy, and the First Memories of Life
How neuroscience informs the meaning of early childhood recollections.

March 19, 2017 - Psychology Today

"In the early 1970's, I attended a counseling and psychology conference in which a presenter interpreted the meaning of a person's early memory. I was impressed by the accuracy of the observations and wanted to know more about the procedure. The presenter only said that experience makes a difference, but that was not particularly helpful. In recent years, I developed the Dawn of Memories model in an attempt to clarify an early recollection interpretation approach (Clark, 2013)."



Empathy: An Integral Model in the Counseling Process
Arthur J. Clark* Article first published online: 23 DEC 2011

"Expanding on a framework introduced by Carl Rogers, an integral model of empathy in counseling uses empathic understanding through 3 ways of knowing:

  • Subjective empathy enables a counselor to momentarily experience what it is like to be a client,

  • interpersonal empathy relates to understanding a client's phenomenological experiencing, and

  • objective empathy uses reputable knowledge sources outside of a client's frame of reference.

Across the counseling process, empathy is integral to treatment strategies and interventions."


Empathy and Sympathy: Therapeutic Distinctions in Counseling
By Clark, Arthur J.
Journal of Mental Health Counseling , Vol. 32, No. 2 , April 2010
"At various times in the treatment process, mental health counselors may inadvertently equate the concepts of empathy and sympathy This confusion is" understandable because there is ambiguity between the two terms that could contribute to miscommunication in counseling. This article clarifies the therapeutic distinctions between empathy and sympathy through the dimensions of aim, appraisal, apprehension, and agreement.

As expressions of caring and compassion, empathy and sympathy are sometimes confused by mental health counselors and may mistakenly be equated (Chismar, 1988). Although both involve attempts by a counselor to sensitively respond to what a client is experiencing, there are qualitative differences between the two processes that have therapeutic implications (Clark, 2007). Blurring the distinctions and failing to differentiate empathy from sympathy may contribute to misdirections in the treatment process."


A new model of empathy in counseling
September 2009 | Counseling Today | pg 45
"In the late 1970s, I attended a public lecture presented by Carl Rogers. A novice school counselor at the time, I recall his speaking about the topic of empathy as part of his presentation. I felt Rogers’ commentary was the last word on empathy because he was eloquent and incisive in his remarks. Yet, as Rogers concluded his discussion, I was somewhat perplexed when he expressed a desire to devote more time to reflect on empathy and empathic understanding. I wondered how much more he could learn about the construct because he seemed so well versed on empathy and its function in counseling..

Empathy: Implications of Three Ways of Knowing in Counseling,
by Clark, Arthur J. - September 2004,
Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education & Development; Fall 2004, Vol. 43 Issue 2, p141
"From a humanistic orientation, Carl Rogers (1964) described 3 ways of knowing with reference to empathic understanding: subjective, interpersonal, and objective. In the context of a threefold perspective of knowledge, the author expands on Rogers's conception of empathy. As a consequence of a conceptual change in the direction of empathy, implications for counseling are affected."


"Empathy: An Integral Model in the Counseling Process – Journal of Counseling and Development: JCD was published July 1, 2010 and was written by Arthur J. Clark. In this article Clark is expanding on an article Carl Roberts wrote in 1957 that is meant to aided therapist in identifying empathy as a crucial part of creating a healthy personality alteration for the client in a counseling session(s).


Carl describes the three points of views of how an individual (counselor) empathizes for another (client). Roberts coined these perspectives as, “the three ways of knowing” (Carl, 2010). According to Roberts in order to conceptually empathize for another, an individual will need to look at the situation from a subjective perspective, interpersonal perspective, and objective perspective. Carl took these groups and describes various sub-groups that explain the different direction each main group can move in; but still stand under that same umbrella."