Investigating the Dualistic Nature of Empathy and Empathizing
2012-09-06 , 2012
Empathy is often regarded as a warm feeling or experience towards others: just one. While this is correct, the literature points to two types of empathy that have different origins. In an attempt to reveal the two kinds of empathy, an expounding of the etymological and historical roots of empathy was resorted to. To explain how interrelated and often interchangeable the concept of empathy is in relation to other words of inter-subjective feeling such as pity, compassion and sympathy, the meanings of all four words were discussed. For an exploration of the implications of the new understanding of empathy on practice, the Roots of Empathy Program was selected. The theoretical basis for the program was then compared to two models presented in this paper. The two models represent processes resulting from cognitive and affective empathy. Content information from material pertaining to the program was plotted on two matrices : one for each model. Upon analysing the data, it was determined that the Roots of Empathy Program makes the assumption that knowledge of a "target's" situation automatically leads to concern. It was also determined that the program resorted to "perspective taking", and did not include "perceived similarity" in its implementation. Benefiting from the proposed models in this thesis could be helpful in introducing "perceived similarity" into empathy related practice.
Roots of Empathy Program , empathy