Empathy and Compassion: History & Research [p. 1] | The Center for Collaborative Communication: Communication Training

If you know about compassionate communication, you’re likely familiar with the ways that being mindful of each other, asking questions, and actively searching for ways to implement authentic connections can improve your life. Perhaps you celebrate the differences that using empathy and compassion has made in your experiences… so, what’s the difference between the two?


Empathy is a mental identification with the thoughts, feelings, or state of another person; it is the capacity to truly understand another person’s point of view. Compassion is a mental and somatic awareness of the suffering of another — coupled with the wish to relieve it. Empathy is understanding and compassion is a call to action – and both are the subject of increasing study and research. The terms are often seen together, though empathy receives much more research time.