Empathy – Learn more about empathy at GoodTherapy.org

Empathy is being able to notice and relate to another’s emotions or experiences. 


Empathy is the ability to recognize and relate to other people’s emotions and thoughts. Empathetic thinking is often characterized as the willingness and ability to place oneself in another’s shoes, to feel another person’s feelings, or to recognize that another person feels feelings in the same way you do. Empathy from the therapist for the client is an important characteristic of therapeutic relationships.

Understanding Empathy

Empathy is distinct from sympathy, which is the ability to care about and acknowledge another person’s feelings. It is also distinct from compassion, which combines elements of both empathy and sympathy. Empathy enables compassion as well as acts of charity, but is not a necessary prerequisite; people may behave kindly for a number of reasons, many of which are not empathy-related.