Empathy vs. Sympathy in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Sympathy usually means entering into and sharing feelings that another person has verbally and intentionally expressed; empathy involves intuiting something unspoken, of which the other person may sometimes be entirely unaware…

 

In my view, the distinction between empathy vs sympathy involves the difference between entering into and sharing those feelings that another person may have verbally and intentionally expressed vs intuiting something unspoken, of which the other person may sometimes be entirely unaware. I often find that clients want me to sympathize with what they’re telling me, when in fact, they need me to empathize with and help them become aware of something unconscious they’re afraid to know.