Welcome back to the Therapy Spot, everyone! On this week’s episode, I’d like to walk you through an exercise I did with two of my clients. The wife in this married couple had a lot of strong feelings surrounding an upcoming life change. Her husband struggled to show up with empathy, and instead tried to “problem solve” his wife’s bad feelings away.
Empathy connects us with others (and ourselves!) in a way that sympathy does not. Empathy, to quote Carl Rogers, is “an accurate understanding of (another’s) world as seen from (their) inside. To Sense (another person’s) world as if it were your own.” To feel empathy for someone else is to sit with them in their emotion, and to understand.
Problem solving is not empathy — it’s a response. Responding doesn’t always build connection. When you relate to someone, however, you build a connection. So join me today, and hear how this couple came to a place of natural empathy in their relationship.