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Culture of Empathy Builder:  Maureen O'Hara

http://j.mp/12kKKzd

 

How to Build Empathy Communities
  Maureen O'Hara

Maureen O'Hara is Professor in the Psychology Department at National University, La Jolla, CA and President Emerita of Saybrook Graduate School, San Francisco. Working with American psychologist Carl R. Rogers, she helped develop the Person-Centered Approach to psychotherapy and large group process.  

 

More recently her writings have examined the relationship between the "big picture" changes underway and internal psychological adaptation. Combining her background as psychotherapist, organizational consultant and futurist, Maureen is a frequent keynote speaker nationally and internationally on the evolution of new ways of being in a changing world.  She was a contributor to the book, ' Empathy Reconsidered: New Directions in Psychotherapy' .

 

Danza de aldeanos - Peter Paul Rubens (Wikimedia)

Our observations show that group or relational empathy
 may be even more important than individual empathy
in the formation of conscious communities
.
 

She writes, "In Rogers' original work a key component of the core facilitative conditions for individual growth is empathy. Empathy has since been shown to be the gold standard for effective facilitation in any growth-focused relationship. Empathy is commonly regarded as an individual-to-individual phenomenon in which one person senses the unspoken or inchoate thoughts or feelings of another. Our observations show that group or relational empathy may be even more important than individual empathy in the formation of conscious communities."
Sub Conference: Science

 

 
 
 

 

 Maureen O'Hara & Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Empathy

 

 

Transcripts

(Video Transcriptions: If you would like to take empathic action and create a transcription of this video, check the volunteers page.  The transcriptions will make it easier for other viewers to quickly see the content of this video.)

 

 

 

Relational Empathy: Beyond Modernist Egocentricism to Postmodern Holistic Contextualism (pdf)
"Abstract
Considering empathy as both construct and human activity, the chapter contributes to the
fast-growing discussion of the limits of the indigenous psychology of the Western world in addressing the relational needs of its members. In particular it examines the limits of Modernist individualism as a paradigm for understanding human experience, and on ways Western psychological descriptions and understandings of empathy in particular whether Rogerian, psychoanalytic, existential or more generic have obscured some of the important ways empathy functions in human relationships. Because of its position as a modernist, objectivist discourse, Western psychology has been slow to recognize how its own modes of enquiry and expression have limited our understanding of relational realities.

 

The chapter extends understanding of empathy beyond its present role as the "royal road to understanding" of individuals by approaching it from within somewhat different frames of reference from those traditionally characteristic of psychological discussion. Empathy is then discussed in a more multi-levelled or holistic way as a way of being in, belonging to and knowing the relational contexts in which human beings find ourselves situated. Although the main arguments expand understanding of empathy as a therapeutic process the chapter concludes with a discussion of  the social conditions of late twentieth century psychology.

 

As our world undergoes what some consider to be the birth pangs of its first truly "global civilization", in which national, ethnic, religious, gender, class, boundaries are being shifted and erased on unprecedented scales, all of us, whether in formerly tribal or collectivist societies or in Western individualist ones, will need new postmodernist psychologies with which to navigate this new world."

 

 

Transforming communities: Person-centered encounters and the creation of integral conscious groups (pdf)
"In Rogers' original work a key component of the core facilitative conditions for individual growth is empathy. Empathy has since been shown
to be the gold standard for effective facilitation in any growth-focused relationship (Bohart and Tallman 1999). Empathy is commonly regarded as
an individual-to-individual phenomenon in which one person senses the unspoken or inchoate thoughts or feelings of another. Our observations show that group or relational empathy may be even more important that individual empathy in the formation of conscious communities. (O'Hara 1997) 

 

O'Hara describes relational empathy as that process wherein one attunes to the whole entity--the group. Relational empathy makes it possible to sense the interpersonal dynamics, knowledge, unconscious processes, dreams, images, narratives, concerns, feelings, sensitivities, priorities, fears--in other words the tacit and explicit consciousness--of collectives."

 

 

 

Video:  Psychologist Maureen O'Hara's talk at National University
Part I: Video of a talk Dr. O'Hara gave before the National University Research Council, in which she discusses the psychological stresses caused by rapid cultural change. Co-author of the popular download, "10 Things To Do in a Conceptual Emergency," and research scientist with many publications, Professor O'Hara is a fascinating speaker who addresses some of the most pressing problems and issues of our times.
Part I: