Why is Empathy a Key Component in Addiction Treatment?

Experts in addiction treatment say yes.

The craving for a substance or activity in the throes of addiction is completely absorbing. An addict becomes selfish and self-concerned, as he or she pursues the object of his or her addiction. Lacking empathy, he or she quickly ramps up conflict, inflicts emotional damage, and creates suffering for the people around him or her, seemingly without remorse….

Empathy is a vital tool and skill that can assist treatment in a variety of key ways:

  • Empathy eases the inner and external friction that leads to relational breaks. Through treatment that employs empathetic listening as a way to encourage and guide, addicts may feel more understood, and seek to understand more about other’s perspectives, before defaulting to anger or retreat.
  • Empathy is reparative. It is decidedly positive and healing, during a period that is intensely painful for addicts and their loved ones. By attempting to listen and consider others, there is a deeper sense that change is being sought, and can be achieved.
  • Empathy reduces intolerance. …
  • Empathy inspires generosity. ..
  • Empathy alleviates self-absorption…