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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.

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Managing complex neurological patients challenges new nurses with minimal experience, which can interfere with their ability to relate empathetically to their patients.
The away performance was incredible in its ineptitude throughout the second quarter and the Sport Central crowd even cheered ironically as Williams and Rochford dunked empathetically while losing by 25 points.
Cottrell donated her archives to the Cornell University Library Human Sexuality Collection in what it declared "a gesture in keeping with her lifelong goal of empathetically reflecting and documenting the lives and sexualities of the lesbian and gay community."
Thompson greets her patients with hugs and empathetically listens to them, not only about their symptoms and treatment regimens, but about their lives.
MADE attempts to empathetically fit into these surroundings, whilst using the wealth of local talent to amplify this creative essence.
Sinha to the President on the ' grave threat posed by the large- scale influx of people from Bangladesh to Assam', which said "the dangerous consequences both for the people of Assam and more for the nation as a whole need to be empathetically stressed".
"We're working on some incredibly historic buildings and we always get to know the full history beforehand and work empathetically to ensure no disruption to the aesthetic."
She empathetically cared for others and will always be remembered for her ability to make people laugh.
Listen empathetically and deeply to more than the words themselves.
The decision will be enforced diligently but, most importantly, empathetically."
Brimming with fascinating and eccentric characters, comical situations, and an exceedingly original writing style, Cantieni's deeply poignant work artfully and empathetically explores being different and the problems of integration.
Savvy financial institutions understand that they shine not only when they have passionate advocates saying wonderful things about them but also when they are able to listen to a public criticism and empathetically respond.