Maia Szalavitz & Edwin Rutsch: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy

Interview is with Maia Szalavitz
Author: Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential and Endangered


How can we build a culture of empathy?
· Start with children – they learn by being treated with empathy
· Wiring of stress systems. Being with others who are caring and nurturing
· Empathy is fundamental for health. Empathy is not a luxury


Two kinds of empathy:
· Cognitive empathy – can be used positively for connecting or negatively such as for manipulation. Perspective taking.
· Emotional empathy – sharing another’s feelings, generally, is always positive


Maia shares personal stories with addiction and what caused it.
· A high level of self-hatred and over-sensitivity. Opiates gave me artificially what I could not get naturally. In recovery, learned how to get it naturally.
· Un-empathic recovery methods don’t make sense because lack of empathy is often what started the addiction in the first place.