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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 Empathic Response in Clinical Practice: Antecedents and Consequences

The Empathic Response in Clinical Practice: Antecedents and Consequences

(p.262) (p.263) 15 The Empathic Response in Clinical Practice: Antecedents and Consequences

Charles R. Figley

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses the correlation between empathic response and therapeutic outcome, along with the therapeutic alliance factors between the patient and the practitioner. The drawbacks for practitioners imparting regular empathic responses include depression and despair, and it is therefore important for them to keep their emotions in check. The chapter discusses residual compassion fatigue, which is a state where the practitioner takes the position of the patient, hence becoming vulnerable to emotional stress. Methods including limiting exposure to the patients’ traumas through distractions and exercising self-regulation by controlling one’s emotions are discussed for practitioners to keep themselves distant from their work pressure.

Keywords:   empathic response, therapeutic alliance, despair, emotional stress, residual compassion fatigue, limiting exposure

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