Essays on empathy in counselling

In one study, psychopaths were scanned while viewing video clips depicting people being intentionally hurt. They were also tested on their responses to seeing short videos of facial expressions of pain. The participants in the high-psychopathy group exhibited significantly less activation in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex , amygdala and periaqueductal gray parts of the brain, but more activity in the striatum and the insula when compared to control participants.

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It was predicted that people who have high levels of psychopathy would have sufficient levels of cognitive empathy but would lack in their ability to use affective empathy. People that scored highly on psychopathy measures were less likely to portray affective empathy.

There was a strong negative correlation showing that psychopathy and affective empathy correspond strongly. The DANVA-2 portrayed those who scored highly on the psychopathy scale do not lack in recognising emotion in facial expressions. Therefore, individuals who have high scores on psychopathy and do not lack in perspective-talking ability but do lack in compassion and the negative incidents that happen to others. Despite studies suggesting deficits in emotion perception and imagining others in pain, professor Simon Baron-Cohen claims psychopathy is associated with intact cognitive empathy, which would imply an intact ability to read and respond to behaviors, social cues and what others are feeling.

Psychopathy is, however, associated with impairment in the other major component of empathy—affective emotional empathy—which includes the ability to feel the suffering and emotions of others what scientists would term as emotional contagion , and those with the condition are therefore not distressed by the suffering of their victims.

Such a dissociation of affective and cognitive empathy has indeed been demonstrated for aggressive offenders. The attempt to get around this by standardizing tests of psychopathy for cultures with different norms of punishment is criticized in this context for being based on the assumption that people can be classified in discrete cultures while cultural influences are in reality mixed and every person encounters a mosaic of influences e.

Why is Empathy Important in Counseling

It is suggested that psychopathy may be an artefact of psychiatry's standardization along imaginary sharp lines between cultures, as opposed to an actual difference in the brain. Research indicates atypical empathic responses are also correlated with a variety of other conditions. Borderline personality disorder is characterized by extensive behavioral and interpersonal difficulties that arise from emotional and cognitive dysfunction.

One diagnostic criterion of narcissistic personality disorder is a lack of empathy and an unwillingness or inability to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others. Characteristics of schizoid personality disorder include emotional coldness, detachment, and impaired affect corresponding with an inability to be empathetic and sensitive towards others. A study conducted by Jean Decety and colleagues at the University of Chicago demonstrated that subjects with aggressive conduct disorder elicit atypical empathic responses to viewing others in pain.

Schizophrenia is characterized by impaired affective empathy, [10] [34] as well as severe cognitive and empathy impairments as measured by the Empathy Quotient EQ. Bipolar individuals have been observed to have impaired cognitive empathy and theory of mind, but increased affective empathy. It has been suggested that dysfunctions in the prefrontal cortex could result in the impaired cognitive empathy, since impaired cognitive empathy has been related with neurocognitive task performance involving cognitive flexibility.

Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman , in his book On Killing , suggests that military training artificially creates depersonalization in soldiers, suppressing empathy and making it easier for them to kill other human beings. Another growing focus of investigation is how empathy manifests in education between teachers and learners.

This theory also states that empathy is learnable. However, research also shows that it is more difficult to empathize when there are differences between people including status, culture, religion, language, skin colour, gender, age and so on. An important target of the method Learning by teaching LbT is to train systematically and, in each lesson, teach empathy. Students have to transmit new content to their classmates, so they have to reflect continuously on the mental processes of the other students in the classroom.

This way it is possible to develop step-by-step the students' feeling for group reactions and networking.

Essays on empathy in counselling

Carl R. Rogers pioneered research in effective psychotherapy and teaching which espoused that empathy coupled with unconditional positive regard or caring for students and authenticity or congruence were the most important traits for a therapist or teacher to have. Other research and publications by Tausch, Aspy, Roebuck. Lyon, and meta-analyses by Cornelius-White, corroborated the importance of these person-centered traits.

In order to achieve intercultural empathy, psychologists have employed empathy training. One study hypothesized that empathy training would increase the measured level of relational empathy among the individuals in the experimental group when compared to the control group. Using these measures, the study found that empathy training was not successful in increasing relational empathy.

Also, communication and satisfaction among groups did not increase as a result of the empathy training. While there didn't seem to be a clear relationship between empathy and relational empathy training, the study did report that "relational empathy training appeared to foster greater expectations for a deep dialogic process resulting in treatment differences in perceived depth of communication".

Discuss the ways in which counsellor qualities such as | Cram

The empathy-altruism relationship also has broad and practical implications. Knowledge of the power of the empathic feeling to evoke altruistic motivation may lead to strategies for learning to suppress or avoid these feelings; such numbing or loss of the capacity to feel empathy for clients has been suggested as a factor in the experience of burnout among case workers in helping professions.

Awareness of this impending futile effort— nurses caring for terminal patients or pedestrians walking by the homeless—may make individuals try to avoid feelings of empathy in order to avoid the resulting altruistic motivation. Promoting an understanding about the mechanisms by which altruistic behavior is driven, whether it is from minimizing sadness or the arousal of mirror neurons allows people to better cognitively control their actions.

However, empathy-induced altruism may not always produce pro-social effects. It could lead one to increase the welfare of those for whom empathy is felt at the expense of other potential pro-social goals, thus inducing a type of bias. Researchers suggest that individuals are willing to act against the greater collective good or to violate their own moral principles of fairness and justice if doing so will benefit a person for whom empathy is felt.

On a more positive note, aroused individuals in an empathetic manner may focus on the long-term welfare rather than just the short-term of those in need. Empathy-based socialization is very different from current practices directed toward inhibition of egoistic impulses through shaping, modeling and internalized guilt. Therapeutic programs built around facilitating altruistic impulses by encouraging perspective taking and empathetic feelings might enable individuals to develop more satisfactory interpersonal relations, especially in the long-term.


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At a societal level, experiments have indicated that empathy-induced altruism can be used to improve attitudes toward stigmatized groups, even used to improve racial attitudes, actions toward people with AIDS, the homeless and even convicts. Such resulting altruism has also been found to increase cooperation in competitive situations.

Counselling Skills (Informative Essay Sample)

The capacity to empathize is a revered trait in society. Proper empathic engagement helps an individual understand and anticipate the behavior of another.

Empathic Listening, Carl Rogers

Apart from the automatic tendency to recognize the emotions of others, one may also deliberately engage in empathic reasoning. Two general methods have been identified here. An individual may simulate fictitious versions of the beliefs, desires, character traits and context of another individual to see what emotional feelings it provokes. Or, an individual may simulate an emotional feeling and then access the environment for a suitable reason for the emotional feeling to be appropriate for that specific environment. Some research suggests that people are more able and willing to empathize with those most similar to themselves.

In particular, empathy increases with similarities in culture and living conditions. Empathy is more likely to occur between individuals whose interaction is more frequent. Each participant received a mild electric shock, then watched another go through the same pain. When the wristbands matched, both brains flared: with pain, and empathic pain. If they supported opposing teams, the observer was found to have little empathy.

He ascertains empathy as an exhaustive process that limits us in morality and if low empathy makes for bad people, bundled up in that unsavoury group would be many who have Asperger's or autism and reveals his own brother is severely autistic. There are concerns that the empathizer's own emotional background may affect or distort what emotions they perceive in others. It is a skill that is gradually developed throughout life, and which improves the more contact we have with the person with whom one empathizes. Empathizers report finding it easier to take the perspective of another person when they have experienced a similar situation, [] as well as experience greater empathic understanding.

The extent to which a person's emotions are publicly observable, or mutually recognized as such has significant social consequences. Empathic recognition may or may not be welcomed or socially desirable. This is particularly the case where we recognize the emotions that someone has towards us during real time interactions. Based on a metaphorical affinity with touch, philosopher Edith Wyschogrod claims that the proximity entailed by empathy increases the potential vulnerability of either party. For instance, Tania Singer says that clinicians or caregivers must be objective to the emotions of others, to not over-invest their own emotions for the other, at the risk of draining away their own resourcefulness.


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Excessive empathy can lead to empathic distress fatigue , especially if it is associated with pathological altruism. The medical risks are fatigue , occupational burnout , guilt , shame , anxiety , and depression. First, he argues that empathy uniquely has all the characteristics we can know about an ethical viewpoint [] — including that it is "partly self-standing", and so provides a source of motivation that is partly within us and partly outside, as moral motivations seem to be.

His second argument is more practical: he argues, "Empathy for others really is the route to value in life", and so the means by which a selfish attitude can become a moral one. By using empathy as the basis for a system of ethics, King is able to reconcile ethics based on consequences with virtue-ethics and act-based accounts of right and wrong. In the book The Ethics of Care and Empathy , philosopher Michael Slote introduces a theory of care-based ethics that is grounded in empathy.

His claim is that moral motivation does, and should, stem from a basis of empathic response. He claims that our natural reaction to situations of moral significance are explained by empathy. He explains that the limits and obligations of empathy and in turn morality are natural. These natural obligations include a greater empathic, and moral obligation to family and friends, along with an account of temporal and physical distance.

In situations of close temporal and physical distance, and with family or friends, our moral obligation seems stronger to us than with strangers at a distance naturally. Slote explains that this is due to empathy and our natural empathic ties. He further adds that actions are wrong if and only if they reflect or exhibit a deficiency of fully developed empathic concern for others on the part of the agent.

In phenomenology , empathy describes the experience of something from the other's viewpoint, without confusion between self and other. This draws on the sense of agency. In the most basic sense, this is the experience of the other's body and, in this sense, it is an experience of "my body over there". In most other respects, however, the experience is modified so that what is experienced is experienced as being the other's experience; in experiencing empathy, what is experienced is not "my" experience, even though I experience it.

Empathy is also considered to be the condition of intersubjectivity and, as such, the source of the constitution of objectivity. Some postmodern historians such as Keith Jenkins in recent years have debated whether or not it is possible to empathize with people from the past.

ftwyfz.com/wp-content/plugins/acunetix/nevada'/mil-anuncios-coches.php Jenkins argues that empathy only enjoys such a privileged position in the present because it corresponds harmoniously with the dominant liberal discourse of modern society and can be connected to John Stuart Mill 's concept of reciprocal freedom. Jenkins argues the past is a foreign country and as we do not have access to the epistemological conditions of by gone ages we are unable to empathize.

It is impossible to forecast the effect of empathy on the future. If we watch from a fictitious past, can tell the present with the future tense, as it happens with the trick of the false prophecy. There is no way of telling the present with the means of the past. Heinz Kohut is the main introducer of the principle of empathy in psychoanalysis.