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Culture of Empathy Builder:  David Howe


 David Howe and Edwin Rutsch: Empathy: What It Is and Why It Matters!

David Howe is currently an Emeritus Professor in the School of Social Work and Psychology at the  University of East Anglia.  After an early career as a child care officer and social worker, in 1976 David Howe began his present career as a university researcher and teacher. His research and writing interests span social work theory, adoption, emotional intelligence, attachment theory, and child abuse and neglect.

To date, David has written 17 books, many of them regarded as best-sellers. He is author of Empathy: What it is and why it matters.  "Empathy is key to good relationships. In its absence, behavior becomes puzzling, even dangerous. David Howe's fascinating new book examines what empathy is, why we have it and how it develops. He explores the important part empathy plays in child development and therapeutic work as well as its significance for how society organizes itself."
Sub Conference: Science






Empathy: What It Is and Why It Matters!  David Howe and Edwin Rutsch


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Empathy: What it is and why it matters


"Empathy is profoundly important for understanding people's feelings and behaviour. It is not only an essential skill in conducting successful personal and working relationships, it also helps us understand what makes people moral and societies decent. With this compelling book, David Howe invites the reader on an illuminating journey of discovery into how empathy was first conceptualised and how its influence has steadily risen and spread.


He captures the growing significance of empathy to many fields, from evolutionary psychology and brain science to moral philosophy and mental health. In doing so, he eloquently explains its importance to child development, intimate relationships, therapy, the creative arts, neurology and ethics. Written with light touch, this is an authoritative and insightful guide to empathy, its importance, why we have it and how it develops. It offers an invaluable introduction for readers everywhere, including those studying or working in psychology, counselling, psychotherapy, social work, health, nursing and education."


Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements

    • How did the book come about?

  • 1. Introducing Empathy

    • Empathy, high and low

    • Mind reading

    • Outline and Aim

  • 2. Origins and Definitions

    • Art and aesthetics

    • Defining Empathy

    • Personal Distress and emotional contagion

    • Empathy and Sympathy

    • Affective and cognitive empathy

    • The socially skilled mind reader

    • Empathy inn context and in person

    • An idea whose time has come

    • Conclusion

  • 3. The Evolution of the Empathic Mind

    • Connect and select

    • The cognitive challenges of social living

    • Putting the Family First

    • Empathy and Care

    • Conclusion

  • 4. How Children Develop Empathy

    • Natural Differences in empathy

    • The social origins of empathy

    • The sociable baby

    • The language of feeling

    • Mind-mindedness

    • Conclusion

  • 5. The Empathic Brain

    • Making Sense of the World

    • A self-organizing development structures

    • Social Neuroscience

    • Blending and Belonging

    • Empathy circuits

    • Oxytocin and the bonds of love

    • Brain, stress and empathy

    • Conclusion

  • 6. Individual Differences in Empathy Levels

    • The person, the situation and social behaviour

    • Minding about sex

    • Empathizers and sympathizers

    • Foetal brain development

    • Skills and gender

    • Personality and temperament

    • Conclusion

  • 7. When Empathy is Absent or Low

    • Conditions of low empathy

    • Socially induced states of low empathy

    • Empathy, illness and psychiatric disorders

    • Autism

    • Intense world theory of autism

    • Dementia

    • Empathy failures and compassion fatigue

    • Conclusion

  • 8. Psychopathy and Borderline Personality Disorder

    • Negative Empathy

    • Psychopathy

    • The childcare background of psychopaths

    • Working with BPD

    • Conclusion

  • 9. Social Perspectives and Client Experiences

    • The problem of interpretation and meaning

    • Active empathy

    • The rise of the empathic counselor

    • The core conditions

    • Client, patient and consumer studies

    • Feeling understood

    • Everyone has won and all must have prizes

    • Conclusion

  • 10. Empathic Communication and Helping Relationships

    • Being Empathic

    • Empathy's values and virtues

    • The models and makeup of therapeutic empathy

    • Experiential mode of empathic understanding

    • Communication mode of empathic understanding

    • Observational mode of empathic understanding

    • Goal-corrected empathic attunement metallization  and feeling safe

    • Staying in touch

    • Conclusion

  • 11. Why Empathy Works

    • Forming and reforming psychological selves

    • Feeling understood

    • Relationships and regulation

    • Dismantling defenses with empathy

    • The formation and reformation of the social self

    • Talking cures

    • Controlling the meaning of one's own experiences

    • Relationship and the plastic brain

    • Conclusion

  • 12 Empathy, Morals and Prosocial Behaviour

    • Living well together

    • Sympathy, empathy and morals

    • Moral principles

    • Altruism, behaving pro-socially and regard for others

    • Altruism or egoisms?

    • Empathy, similarity and differences

    • Imagining the other

    • Imitation and intimacy

    • Development of pro-social behaviors

    • Conclusion

  • 13 Promoting Empathy in Children

    • Encouraging children to be empathic

    • At home with empathy

    • Empathy in pre-school years

    • Social and emotional learning in the schools

    • Conclusion

  • 14. Promoting Empathy in Adults

    • Empathy Training

    • Empathy and the everyday

    • Creating art

    • Reading Fiction

    • Writing Fiction

    • Affective role taking

    • Conclusion

  • 15 Living Well Together: Empathy and Social Cohesion

    • Social relationships

    • Empathy and benefits

    • Effortful control an cognitive empathy

    • Holding Society together

    • Equality and inequality, selflessness and selfishness

    • Empathy and fairness, justice and forgiveness

    • Conclusion

  • 16. Being Human

    • Shared Fate

    • The other as subject, the other as object

    • Social being and human being

    • The cycle of empathy




Lou Agusta: A Rumor of Empathy Interview with David Howe