The Empathy Skills Facilitator Guide is a collection of step-by-step instructions for teaching 20 social skills activities (290 minutes) to groups of youth and adults.

Have you ever said, "My heart was touched," "My heart goes out to you" or "I feel for you"? If you have made comments like this then you have empathized with another person. Sometimes we speak of empathy as walking in someone else's shoes. Empathy is imagining how others feel and having a deep sense of appreciation for what they are experiencing. Empathy, like any other virtue, can be learned and developed regardless of personality type or gender. Before you can empathize you must first learn to sympathize with others. Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone without trying to understand how that person really feels. Young children have very little conscious empathy for others because they are self-absorbed-they have not yet learned to think about the welfare of others and they have limited life experience. The writer, Samuel Johnson, wrote in his book The Rambler, "Those who do not feel pain seldom think that it is felt." If you have never been hungry for a long period of time you cannot fully appreciate a homeless person's hunger. However, going without food and water for a day, or occasionally working at a food kitchen for the homeless, can give you a greater appreciation for those who do not eat regularly. Actually experiencing physical and/or emotional pain in life helps you gain a better understanding of how others feel in similar situations. Because you have "been there," you are able to see yourself in them. However, empathy can be felt without having gone through a similar experience. Imagining someone's pain can be just as empathetic.

  1. Destructive or Empathetic
  2. Male vs. Female
  3. Express Your Feelings
  4. Caring Behavior
  5. Footprints of Empathy
  6. More Than Concern
  7. Listen Before Replying
  8. Mirroring
  9. Silent Expressions
  10. Hand Gestures
  11. Notice the Body Language
  12. Silent Language
  13. Silent Communication
  14. How Well Do I Listen?
  15. Verbal Barriers
  16. Helpful Questions
  17. Peeling Away Subjectivity
  18. Being Objective
  19. I’m Sorry
  20. Indirect Apologies


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