This is a way of turning all our attention to the other person to try to understand their experience from their perspective; it is often described as standing in someone else’s shoes. We need to suspend (as best we can) our own experience and sit alongside the individual without losing a sense of ourselves. Empathy is often experienced as soothing as it evokes a sense of being really understood and supports the person to reflect on their situation.
Empathy often gets confused with sympathy, which is quite different.
|Feeling with the person||Feeling for the person|
|Placing oneself in their position||Acknowledging the other person is struggling but maintaining a distance from it|
|More specific and personal||More general feeling, for example sad, pity|