Empathy

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Empathy

Postby mirjana » Sat Jan 16, 2010 3:34 pm

In Wikipedia, there is a list of famous thoughts about empathy:
Daniel Batson: A motivation oriented towards the other.
D. M. Berger: The capacity to know emotionally what another is experiencing from within the frame of reference of that other person, the capacity to sample the feelings of another or to put oneself in another’s shoes.
Jean Decety: A sense of similarity in feelings experienced by the self and the other, without confusion between the two individuals.
Nancy Eisenberg: An affective response that stems from the apprehension or comprehension of another’s emotional state or condition, and that is similar to what the other person is feeling or would be expected to feel.
R. R. Greenson: To empathize means to share, to experience the feelings of another person.
Alvin Goldman: The ability to put oneself into the mental shoes of another person to understand her emotions and feelings.
Martin Hoffman: An affective response more appropriate to another's situation than one's own.
William Ickes: A complex form of psychological inference in which observation, memory, knowledge, and reasoning are combined to yield insights into the thoughts and feelings of others.
Heinz Kohut: Empathy is the capacity to think and feel oneself into the inner life of another person.
Carl Rogers: 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, but without ever losing the "as if" condition. Thus, it means to sense the hurt or the pleasure of another as he senses it and to perceive the causes thereof as he perceives them, but without ever losing the recognition that it is as if I were hurt or pleased and so forth.
Roy Schafer: Empathy involves the inner experience of sharing in and comprehending the momentary psychological state of another person.
Wynn Schwartz: "We recognize others as empathic when we feel that they have accurately acted on or somehow acknowledged in stated or unstated fashion our values or motivations, our knowledge, and our skills or competence, but especially as they appear to recognize the significance of our actions in a manner that we can tolerate their being recognized."
Edith Stein: Empathy is the experience of foreign consciousness in general.
Simon Baron-Cohen (2003): Empathy is about spontaneously and naturally tuning into the other person's thoughts and feelings, whatever these might be [...]There are two major elements to empathy. The first is the cognitive component: Understanding the others feelings and the ability to take their perspective [...] the second element to empathy is the affective component. This is an observers appropriate emotional response to another person's emotional state.
Khen Lampert (2005): "[Empathy] is what happens to us when we leave our own bodies...and find ourselves either momentarily or for a longer period of time in the mind of the other. We observe reality through her eyes, feel her emotions, share in her pain.."


I have always wondered about this word and its true understanding. Why? Because my understanding of empathy is that it means the ability to understand other people´s feeling even if they are not always expressed correspondingly. In that sense empath appears like a another´s soul advocate who is able to explain something that the person self was not, but become aware of the explanation of another because of it accuracy. That would mean a certain ability to communicate on some other level with the person, where words are not always necessary.
But, if so, then we come to the next concept, which is personal interpretation, that gives other people right to judge one empath as a person with assumptions.
Where is the difference? Your thoughts?

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Re: Empathy

Postby Kris » Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:53 pm

Mirjana,

I think your explanation is of empathy is amazing. Do you think it would be considered a psychic gift?
I think people easily mistake sympathy for empathy. Empathy, I believe, can bring healing and hope.
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Re: Empathy

Postby mirjana » Sat Jan 16, 2010 9:18 pm

Hi you two, =0)

Yes, I agree. Whenever I was understood on that empathic level if I was not able to express myself, I felt deep gratitude for such understanding and interest. Each such time it occurs like a healing touch for the heart. It is like giving water to someone who is thirsty or hand to someone who is blind. When we are lost in the way to express emotions or to say something which influences situation or relationship, and someone is there who just knows what is there in our mind and heart, and simply tells it out of understanding, it is pure love for another human being and it feels like an angel bringing a healing touch.


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Re: Empathy

Postby Sabina » Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:11 am

mirjana wrote:Many quotes from Wikipedia in pretty shades of pink and purple.

I have always wondered about this word and its true understanding. Why? Because my understanding of empathy is that it means the ability to understand other people´s feeling even if they are not always expressed correspondingly. In that sense empath appears like a another´s soul advocate who is able to explain something that the person self was not, but become aware of the explanation of another because of it accuracy. That would mean a certain ability to communicate on some other level with the person, where words are not always necessary.
But, if so, then we come to the next concept, which is personal interpretation, that gives other people right to judge one empath as a person with assumptions.
Where is the difference? Your thoughts?

Mirjana


That would depend on the history and credibility of the person who believes to be empathic. What is someone believes they are empathic, and they think of themselves well because they additionally always see the best in people, so it's not like they want to harm anyone or impose their negative views, or so they think, but if it turns out that their guesses aren't accurate, then they are just an optimist with a fantasy, right?

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Re: Empathy

Postby mirjana » Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:03 am

Sabina wrote:...

That would depend on the history and credibility of the person who believes to be empathic. What is someone believes they are empathic, and they think of themselves well because they additionally always see the best in people, so it's not like they want to harm anyone or impose their negative views, or so they think, but if it turns out that their guesses aren't accurate, then they are just an optimist with a fantasy, right?

Sabina



I think that it is not possible that the person things about self be empathic or not. Particularly this trace is something that it can only be noticed or confirmed by others, whatever personal credibility one has. However we think about self and project our positive thoughts , which of course are not necessarily accurate, the only criteria if the person is empathic or not is how other people react. If it happens that somebody gets confirmation of accurate understanding of that what other person/s say, and that in the situation when generally such understanding is missing, but still confirmed from the persons involved, then, I would say, such a person is empathic.

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Re: Empathy

Postby Sabina » Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:31 am

Mirjana,

You wrote: "But, if so, then we come to the next concept, which is personal interpretation, that gives other people right to judge one empath as a person with assumptions.
Where is the difference? Your thoughts?
"

In connection with my answer to this question and your latest reply, if a person is truly empathic, then who would judge them as a person with assumptions?

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Re: Empathy

Postby mirjana » Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:15 am

Sabina wrote:Mirjana,

You wrote: "But, if so, then we come to the next concept, which is personal interpretation, that gives other people right to judge one empath as a person with assumptions.
Where is the difference? Your thoughts?
"

In connection with my answer to this question and your latest reply, if a person is truly empathic, then who would judge them as a person with assumptions?

Sabina


In the group of people, if somebody is in the situation to show emphatic understanding which is recognized from the person involved, it is possible that other person or persons who also take part in the talk do not see this as empathic, in spite the recognition, and judge the act of empathic interpretation as an assumption. I used to be present in such situations...

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Re: Empathy

Postby Sabina » Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:28 am

Say no more!
Well, in such a case that person would be judging based on a very subjective assumption, obviously... If person A talks and has problems expressing themselves, person B understands person A on an instinctive level, and explains what person A meant, and person A agrees and is grateful, but person C claims that person B is only assuming, then... What exactly is there to talk about? Person C and why they do what they do?

I spontaneously thought of this, slightly unrelated, so take it as comic relief.

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Re: Empathy

Postby mirjana » Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:34 am

Good relief indeed. =0@ 80S

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Re: Empathy

Postby Randall » Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:44 pm

I read through this thread on my first visit to the site, before I became a member. I've argued with myself over the relevance of sharing my personal experience surrounding Empathy... and that little voice inside said,"Share it. Someone may read it some day and be helped by it." So here it is.

I find it an interesting dynamic of living that most people hold the most painful memories of their life so close to them.
At the age of 6, after our family had moved to Texas, my short life turned upside down and I was forced to deal with things a six year old just shouldn’t have to deal with, and it shaped my life in more ways than I can count.

I think the first time I had an empathic vision of someone’s life was at a T-ball practice. T-ball is baseball for the little guys where the baseball is placed on a stand and you swing at the unmoving ball. Our team was called the Longhorns “smile” go figure, a team called the Longhorns in Texas. My position was short stop for the team and l loved it. It was during warm up, before we went through our practice drills that one of my new friends and teammate, showed up to practice late. He came running over to where I was and asked if he could warm up with me. His name was Joey.

It was in that brief conversation that I found myself in a vision. I had no idea what I was seeing and I didn’t understand what was happening, but I was Joey. In the vision, Joey was sitting at the kitchen table in his home and his dad walked in the front door yelling. Joey stood up and started to back up, facing his father, when he was hit with a rolled up newspaper across his face. I felt the sting and the pain and my eyes watered as if it was actually me that was hit.

I was stunned, and shocked and felt like I might vomit. I looked at Joey, with tears in my eyes from the pain of the experience, and noticed he had a black eye.

I don’t remember what I said to him or even much of the practice we had that day. I do remember telling my mother about it when she picked me up after practice and the funny look she had on her face.

That was the first time I can remember having these visions and looking back it was one of the less traumatic. I do remember my last vision in detail though, the last vision I had as a child, I was eight years old and I saw my mother as a young girl get abused and raped by her older half brother, and I felt it just like I felt Joey when he was hit by his father.

There is a lot more.......... tons more. And a lot of those memories I've blocked and don't remember any more thankfully. But its important to note it as it is one of the most significant experiences in my childhood that shaped my life. I became a loner, reclusive from everyone. I would beg not to have to go to school and was terrified of going to the store with my parents. To this day I don’t know how I shut it down so completely, so totally. Maybe it was the shock that did it? It wasn’t until I was 18yrs old that I started having empathic visions again, but they were never again as intense as those years, from six to eight. Each time I've allowed for this type of "gift" to come back, I've gone into a bought of depression and had to close myself off in ways in order to come out of them.


Every loose thread gets woven back into the tapestry at some point and every weave has purpose and reason.

What I learned out of my experience at that young age, was compassion. That was the golden nugget. I learned that people act the way they do, based on a past and its the decisions we make in the hard times that make us who we are.

Joey had every right to hate his father for what was done, but instead he loved him even more fiercely. My mother could have let her experience lead her to despising men, but she looked even harder to find the good in them. Those people that somehow let me have a look into the most painful times of their lives, where sharing their love with me in ways I didn't understand. Choices choices choices
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