Should empathy be a subject taught in schools? Roman Krznaric is an internationally acclaimed philosopher who believes that empathy is the key to understanding and enhancing human interaction. His work considers the historical evolution of a concept which, if forgotten, could be the cause of our self-destruction.
You may also like
Audience members’ palms sweat while they watch a tightrope walker teeter over a precipice, even as the onlookers stand on solid ground. Friends wonder how to help each other through struggles, and customers wonder whether a used car salesma…
Design Thinking, Empathy, And Equity
Explicitly Teach EmpathyThrough my work with National Equity Project, I learned that empathy is a skill or “set of muscles” that must be built. You must dedicate time explicitly to enhancing this skillset. And so we must do that for o…
‟Empathy Fatigue” – 1 – Matthieu Ricard
The word empathy means an affective resonance with someone else. If you are moved by the suffering of someone, even though you make a clear distinction between yourself and that person, you suffer because she suffers. You may also feel joy when she feels joy. Researchers found that a part of their brain network associated with pain is activated in subjects who watch someone being hurt.
When repeated over time, empathic resonance with others’ pain can lead to empathic distress and emotional exhaustion, or burnout. According to a study carried out in North America, 60 % of all nurses, doctors, and caregivers who are in constant contact with patients experiencing suffering have or will suffer burnout at some point in their professional life.
Compassion and selfless love are associated with positive emotions. Based on this, in the course of my collaboration with Tania Singer, a neuroscientist Director at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, we realized that burnout was actually a due to ‟empathy fatigue” and not to ‟compassion fatigue”. In fact, compassion far from leading to distress and discouragement strengthens our fortitude, our inner balance and our courageous determination to help those who suffer. In essence, from our point of view, love and compassion do not wear out. Rather they help to overcome empathic distress.
We found that areas of the brain involved with awareness and emotion, particularly those areas connected with empathetic feelings, in the highly sensitive people showed substantially greater blood flow to relevant brain areas than was seen in individua…