Empathy is a powerful communication skill that is often misunderstood and underused. Effective empathetic comunication enhances the therapeutic effectiveness of the provider-client relationship.
Appropriate use of empathy as a communication tool facilitates the health related interview, increases the efficiency of gathering information, and honors the patient or client. It is one of the vital facillitative conditions of coaching mentioned by Dr. Arloski…
Practical Empathetic Communication
Making practical use of an otherwise esoteric concept such as empathy requires division of the concept into its simplest elements.
As outlined by Frederic Platt key steps to effective empathy include:
- recognizing presence of strong feeling in the clinical setting (ie, fear, anger, grief, disappointment);
- pausing to imagine how the patient might be feeling;
- stating our perception of the patient’s feeling (ie, “I can imagine that must be …” or “It sounds like you’re upset about …”);
- legitimizing that feeling;
- respecting the patient’s effort to cope with the predicament; and
- offering support and partnership (ie, “I’m committed to work with you