Empathy for Terrorists, Bullies and Delinquents? | Psychology Today

How understanding helps make us all much safer. By Michael Ungar, Ph.D….


If we are to intervene to stop radicalization and the violence that follows, we might consider doing the following:


1) Get the full story. Understand the individual and where the individual grew up.

2) Consider the individual’s actions in comparison to others who grew up facing the same challenges. Is the violence reasonable, or normal, under the circumstances?

3) Ask ourselves what alternatives were realistic available to the violent individual who grew up looking for connections, power, social status, and meaning. How else could they achieve these good things that unfortunately can be achieved through extreme violence.

4) Advocate for solutions that provide the next generation of potential terrorists, bullies and psychopaths with sources of support and self-expression that are just as powerful, and socially acceptable.