Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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Empathic Design
Empathy Circles

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Obama on Empathy


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Culture of Empathy Builder:  Desiree Banzhaf


Desiree Banzhaf on Empathy being Yummy and Refreshing


  • was public school teacher

  • read books and studying NVC

  • have passion for it and teach it at NVC Santa Cruz

  • Empathy is yummy and refreshing

  • is something we all are craving but don't know it

  • sometimes working with kids it's just what they needed

  • they're not used to it

  • just being heard and their experience is being validated

  • being present with empathy for someone else is like meditation

  • Empathy is great on either end

    • getting or receiving

    • receiving -is a deep relaxing out breath

    • giving - they relax

  • when I first learned it

  • was more of a mental activity

  • then started following - being with

  • Another aspect -being in presence - doesn't require words

  • there's no efforting


Desiree Banzhaf on How We can Build a Culture of Empathy?


  • How We can Build a Culture of Empathy?

    • We are naturally empathic

    • unlearn the blocks

    • growing up in a natural culture of empathy

  • Some skill development can be useful

  • Building awareness of what is not empathy can help

    • advice, story it reminds them of, questions

    • catching ourselves and bringing the awareness back

  • a practice of what the mind is doing

    • brain attaches, tries to help, organize

    • all those practices help

    • noticing and eliminating them

  • with kids grow up in a world - they have less unlearning

  • Skills, a culture of empathy

  • We're moving toward that

  • Systems in place that builds empathy - is growing

  • Some Processes

    • restorative circles when things fall apart

    • we are in the baby stages of systems that support empathy

  • The narrative of your life and how did empathy develop?

    • had an intention of empathy but didn't know what it was

    • the underdog, minority,

    • pull to protect

    • the first memory and the ice cream in the closet

    • didn't give it to sister and felt horrible, shameful - stuck with me

    • I feel for my sister

    • remember issues of race and racism,

    • the relationship with empathy?

    • something in my heart that wanted to be present with people