International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion (IJWOE) – Inderscience Publishers

International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion
2012 Vol. 5 No. 2
Special Issue on Connections, Emotions, Empathy: How Can We Conceptualise and Use Affect and Emotions in Qualitative Health Research?



Enhancing empathic skills in clinical practice: a linguistic approach
Gabrina Pounds

 Abstract: It is widely acknowledged that clinical empathy in medical consultation practice is instrumental in delivering positive patient outcomes…clinicians’ use of empathy may be enhanced through appropriate sensitisation…


Different strategies have been used to promote the use of empathy but studies indicate that physicians still perceive “a gap in communication skills training particularly in managing emotional and behavioural reactions to patients”. Although some reference is made in current consultation skills manuals to the communicative dimensions of empathy, they do not provide a systematic overview of typical linguistic realisations and none of the existing rating scales focuses specifically and explicitly on verbal formulations.


The aim of this paper is to discuss how a linguistic framework may be used to reinforce the teaching of empathy within current consultation skills training and thereby improve clinical practice.