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The Social Neuroscience of Empathy$
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Jean Decety and William Ickes

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262012973

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262012973.001.0001

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Empathy in Psychotherapy: Dialogue and Embodied Understanding

Empathy in Psychotherapy: Dialogue and Embodied Understanding

(p.113) 9 Empathy in Psychotherapy: Dialogue and Embodied Understanding
The Social Neuroscience of Empathy

Mathias Dekeyser

Robert Elliott

Mia Leijssen

The MIT Press

This chapter examines empathy in psychotherapy in the context of everyday empathic interaction. Research in neurology and social psychology has provided evidence that interpersonal influence is a powerful and complex concept on a physical, nonverbal level. Such influences include emotional contagion and automatic vigilance. The chapter also looks at how clients both understand and misunderstand their therapists with regards to the latter’s intentions, emotions, and other internal states. It first discusses the empathy cycle and embodied empathy and the role of dialogue in empathy in psychotherapy. It then considers empathic attunement and the phenomenology of therapist empathy before concluding with an analysis of the functions of empathic attunement in therapy.

Keywords:   empathy, psychotherapy, clients, therapists, empathy cycle, embodied empathy, dialogue, empathic attunement, phenomenology

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