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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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The Costs of Empathy among Health Professionals

The Costs of Empathy among Health Professionals

(p.245) 14 The Costs of Empathy among Health Professionals

Ezequiel Gleichgerrcht

Jean Decety

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses the components of empathy, including affective arousal and empathic concern, in relation to clinical practice, as well as the negative effects of excessive empathic arousal, including a lack of prosocial behavior and an increase of personal distress in physicians. It explores professional distress, burnout, and compassion fatigue resulting from poor emotion regulation, along with the methods to regulate empathy, including emotion suppression, framing, and exposure control. The chapter discusses the importance of developing empathy-training programs for physicians while keeping in mind the features of the empathic process, and concludes with the importance of physicians maintaining a balance regarding their empathic responses for successful patient interactions.

Keywords:   affective arousal, empathic concern, prosocial behavior, compassion fatigue, emotion regulation, emotion suppression

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