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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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Rogerian Empathy in an Organismic Theory: A Way of Being

Rogerian Empathy in an Organismic Theory: A Way of Being

(p.101) 8 Rogerian Empathy in an Organismic Theory: A Way of Being
The Social Neuroscience of Empathy

Jerold D. Bozarth

The MIT Press

Empathy in psychotherapy exerts a peripheral influence on classical psychoanalysis, particularly empathy in Freudian theory, and has also proved relevant to the emerging field of social-cognitive neuroscience. Carl Rogers has argued that empathy and unconditional positive regard are the main ingredients of therapy. Rogers developed client-centered therapy initially as a theory of therapy in the late 1940s and early 1950s before it evolved into a true organismic theory predicated on one motivational premise: the actualizing tendency. This chapter examines Rogers’s notion of empathy as he describes it in his organismic theory. In particular, it discusses Rogerian empathy in relation to organismic experiencing of the client and therapist. It concludes by looking at different clinical scenarios of client-therapist interactions that constitute empathic intentions.

Keywords:   psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, social-cognitive neuroscience, Carl Rogers, empathy, client-centered therapy, organismic theory, actualizing tendency, client, therapist

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