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EmpathyFrom Bench to Bedside$
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Jean Decety

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262016612

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262016612.001.0001

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Clinical Empathy in Medical Care

Clinical Empathy in Medical Care

(p.228) (p.229) 13 Clinical Empathy in Medical Care

Jodi Halpern

The MIT Press

This chapter focuses on clinical empathy substituting emotional empathy in medical care. It discusses the reasons for avoiding emotional sympathy, including interference with the doctor’s objective mindset, effective care of the patient in trying circumstances, and burnout risk. The chapter explores the importance of developing trust through empathy, along with the challenges that physicians face while trying to be empathic toward patients, including emotional distress and compassion fatigue. It presents the arguments against the reasons for the avoidance of emotions in clinical sympathy, along with the methods through which physicians can engage with their patients on an emotional level in a very subtle manner, and explores the importance of curiosity for physicians to understand empathic accuracy.

Keywords:   clinical empathy, emotional empathy, emotional distress, compassion fatigue, empathic accuracy

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