Crash Course in Empathy

In my last post, I talked about the realities of Telehealth learning and the need for everyone as a whole to show empathy to others. Due to this, I wanted to talk a little bit about empathy and why we should all practice being empathetic. 

In the 5th October issue released by the Australian Psychological Association, Dr. Adam Gerace describes empathy in two ways.

 “The first involves the process of placing oneself into another person’s shoes, referred to as perspective-taking or role-taking…The second construct involves the experiencing of emotional reactions to the other person’s situation, often referred to as emotional empathy or empathic concern.”

Perspective-taking or role-taking is more commonly seen as ‘walking in someone else’s shoes.’ This is when we actively try to understand someone else and their situation not just by listening but ‘becoming them’. This means that you are taking into account all other variables in that person’s life. This could mean their ethnicity, age, social role, and any other variable that defines this person and understanding what this situation truly means to them.

Emotional Empathy or Empathetic Concern on the other hand focuses more on the emotional response of the one empathizing. This is often seen in people considered to be empathetic in which we see someone cry when something sad happens to someone else, or someone become angry when an injustice is done to another.

Dr. Gerace goes on to talk about the importance of being empathetic and using empathy in psychotherapy (Counseling and Therapy).

This need for empathy in psychotherapy can be seen as a lesson as to why we also need to practice empathy with everyone we come in contact with. Being able to understand others’ feelings will, in turn, shed light on the way people react to different situations in life, and ultimately allow us to better understand those around us. Which is really what everyone wants: To be understood.


Work Cited:

MAPS, Adam Gerace. “Adam Gerace MAPS.” APS, Australian Psychological Association, 2018, 

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