Practical Guidelines for Empathy

Think empathy is overrated?  Think again!  Empathy is crucial to our and others’ well-being in countless ways.  In this article, Dr. Elliot D. Cohen, one of the principal founders of philosophical counseling in the United States & Executive Director of the National Philosophical Counseling Association, helps to clarify the nature of empathy & its role in successful interpersonal relationships.  He provides nine practical guidelines for building and nurturing empathy, including:

  • Focus your attention on the welfare, interests and needs of others
  • Key into shared human values
  • Temporarily suspend your own judgments and critiques
  • Connect (with the target)
  • Use reflection
  • Listen (to the target)
  • Use self-disclosure (as appropriate)
  • Properly distance yourself to & from the target’s subjective world
  • Practice!

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