For practitioners in the helping profession, Empathy is pivotal.
I like this definition:
“The ability to understand people from their frame of reference rather than your own.”
– Cormier & Nurius, 2003, p. 65
It’s about putting yourself in another’s shoes. 👞
Seeing the situation through their lenses, 👓
and trying to feel what they felt.
In contrast, Sympathy is “feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.”
Therefore I’ve always thought of sympathy as your emotions based on your perception of the clients’ situations. Not theirs.
Empathy is a critical foundation of motivational interviewing skills which all health professionals need to cultivate.
And something I’m working on as I prepare to see clients next year.