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the feeling of being able to experience vicariously what another person is experiencing. The ability to empathize is crucial in many interpersonal relationships and social settings. If family members do not experience empathy with each other, discord is more likely than if a climate of EMPATHIC UNDERSTANDING exists. Close friends, by definition, have an empathic relationship.

Empathy is one of ROGERS’ (1951) three conditions for a successful client-counsellor relationship, the other two being genuine warmth, and unconditional positive regard. Empathy is central to PERSON-CENTRED COUNSELLING, since this perspective holds the view that the client's problems can only be understood by the counsellor through experiencing the client's phenemonological field. For this empathy is required.

Empathy is also sometimes seen as central to techniques of MEANINGFUL UNDERSTANDING AND EXPLANATION widely used in sociology See also EMPATHIC UNDERSTANDING, VERSTEHEN.



(German, Einfuhlung), term used in psychology, art, and aesthetics to designate the transference to an object of the feelings and moods which it has evoked. The feelings of sadness or joy which a person experiences on beholding a certain landscape, for example, are projected into that landscape and are perceived as its properties; thus it appears as a sad or a happy landscape.

The concept of empathy was first set forth by F. T. Vischer in 1887, and it became a fundamental principle in the aesthetics of the German philosopher T. Lipps, who defined empathy as “objectified feeling.” It became widespread in the theory of art at the beginning of the 20th century—Vernon Lee and W. Worringer, among others, used the term—and it was frequently interpreted in a subjective and idealist spirit.


Vygotskii, L. S. Psikhologiia iskusstva, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1968.
Worringer, W. “Abstraktsiia i vchuvstvovaniie.” In Sovremennaia kniga po estetike: Antologiia. Moscow, 1957. (Translated from English.)
Lipps, T. Zur Einfühlung. Leipzig, 1913.
References in periodicals archive ?
Ecuador has been ranked the world's most empathetic country, followed by Saudi Arabia, Peru, Denmark and the UAE.
Consultants have better qualification and a good experience of dealing patients that might have helped them in learning empathetic behavior and attained highest score.
Throughout the book Michelle Borba gives guidance on nine essential habits that empathetic children exhibit and how adults can work to develop them in others.
After the Holocaust, survivors felt a compelling need to bear witness to their suffering, to be heard by empathetic listeners, and to interpret meanings in the traumatic past.
The unusual structure of the novel and the empathetic nature of the two main characters will draw listeners in.
De Waal presents several examples of sympathetic and empathetic behavior among nonhuman primates, including protection of others against aggression and consoling behaviors.
Parents receiving difficult news report higher levels of satisfaction when the professional giving the news is compassionate, is empathetic, listens well, and does not appear tense or anxious (Nissenbaum et al.
Her subject matter and deeply empathetic lyrics are enough to inspire rabid, almost religious devotion in anyone who's willing to indulge her more ostentatious inclinations.
Freda is a thoroughly compassionate person, empathetic, and extremely hard working.
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If his performance among sick children in New Zealand this week is anything to go by, he should be recruited straight into the royal family as a roving ambassador - not disappear for years beneath protocol and brass buttons He is a natural with the public - attractive, empathetic and the best thing the House of Windsor possesses.