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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 ?
Fourth, people can act in prosocial ways because of their personal commitment to certain ethical norms or due to the anticipated negative consequences of not doing so, rather than because they are empathic.
Empathic distress can also take the form of physical symptoms and a desire to flee.
A genuine, empathic connection with the customer is a skill that great claims people use to gain cooperation.
The only significant gender effect was for empathic concern with women reporting greater dispositional tendencies toward empathic concern than men (r[77] = -.
Counseling programs can also nurture the development of good empathic responding by teaching about empathy in multiple ways.
Sloan, in his 1999 Writing Lab Newsletter Tutor's Column entitled "Closet Consulting," exemplifies the empathic intellectual--a tutor who consciously seeks out a means by which he can relate to a tutee, to find common ground between them.
However, given the myriad problems involved in assessing physiological arousal directly in children (Eisenberg, Fabes, Bustamente, & Mathy, 1987) and the need to assess participants' arousal within the child care setting in which the study was conducted, another measure of empathic arousal was sought.
Trusty (1996) maintained that school counselors' empathic understanding and positive relationships with students are necessary for effective advocacy.
But Cornish's astonishingly empathic performance always stays directly connected to Heidi's troubled soul, and her yearning actually seems to protect her from the consequences of some very dire situations.
A deeply helpful and empathic guide, devoting half its pages to words of wisdom and half to reflections of those who have grieved, as well as some blank pages that the reader may reflect and reminisce upon.
The empathic bond and affect generated by psychodynamic therapy "create a context for cognitive behavioral work to take place," he said, and may reduce the risk of dropout.