Here is a long and rich history in psychoanalytic thought recognizing the valuable role “empathy” plays in the therapeutic process, a history that is not without its detractors however. With the discovery of mirror neuron and related systems in the human brain, there is renewed interest in “empathy” in a broad array of academic disciplines as well as the “Relational” schools within psychoanalytic thought. The ensuing discussion deconstructs “empathy” in an effort to deepen an understanding of its value in “being human together” in the clinical setting as well as providing a rationale for its training.
- Explain the innate and cognitive aspects of “empathy”
- Look at “empathy” as an emergent property of brain/mind
- Describe how and why “empathy” can be taught to clinicians
About The Author
Christopher Scott, LCSW, GCP, began as a staff therapist at the Village Counseling Center (NYC) over 25 years ago, under the tutelage and supervision of Martin Livingston PhD. Today, he is a senior partner at VCC where he has a private practice in individual, group, and couples therapy. He is on the faculty of the Training Institute for Mental Health (NYC), Couples Therapy Training Program, where he teaches his course on intersubjectivity and empathic attunement. Chris is also a guest lecturer on “Empathy as a Component of Leadership” at Principal’s Academy, Teachers College of Columbia University, NYC, and in the corporate milieu. He is currently developing an empathy skills training program designed to reach a broad spectrum of society. Chris can be reached at Christo804@aol.com.