Using a formula to communicate empathy



Using empathy focuses on the client’s core message, key experiences, key behaviors, and key emotions. One of the main challenges for helping professionals is to understand how to put empathic understanding into words. The ability to successfully communicate empathy can be one of the most powerful tools a helping professional has in the helping setting. It creates a helping environment where the client feels understood. According to Egan and Reese (2019), basic empathic understanding can be expressed in the following formula:

You feel . . . [here name the correct emotion expressed by the client] because . . . [here indicate the correct experiences, thoughts, and behaviors that give rise to the feelings]. (p. 138)

In this assignment, you will be asked to use the formula identified in the readings this week to create an empathic response for presented case studies. When creating an empathic response, you will want to apply the following steps:

  1. Begin by identifying the key experiences, behaviors, and feelings and emotions presented in the case study.
  2. Formulate an empathic response.

Assignment Instructions

Read the cases in the Using a Formula to Communicate Empathy Worksheet (linked in the Resources). For each of the three cases, identify the key experiences, behaviors, and feelings. Then, use the formula to construct an empathic response. Record all of your work in the worksheet.

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