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The Psychology of Empathy

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Theory and Therapy

Apart from the Maslow's basic needs theory which would identify empathy as a love and safety need, any psychotherapeutic framework could successfully utilize the concept of empathy and develop a therapeutic model based on affective interaction between therapist and client. In fact any client centred therapy requires empathetic connection between the client and the therapist and development of an Affective Therapeutic System based on the Intuition-Connection-Consideration-Prediction-Motivation (ICCPM) model of empathy could be an effective method of therapy in which different stages of empathy are identified and evoked between the client and the therapist to reach the final goal of mutual understanding.

For example if a client suffers from depression, the Affective Therapeutic Framework can use the ICCPM model to first emphasize on developing intuitive interaction between the client and the therapist. This is possible after a background or history of the client's illness or psychological condition is obtained by the therapist. The intuitive stage in which the client and therapist develops a subconscious bond is followed by a sense of connectedness when the client begins to open up to the client and communication becomes easy. The third stage of consideration follows as both client and therapist decide to cooperate on a specific goal and begins to understand each other's language. The fourth stage of therapeutic interaction would be based on both the client and therapist being able to predict reactions and responses and empathetically connect to each other's opinions. The last stage of therapy deals with decision making and evaluation to see whether the motivational levels of the client have been improved and whether the therapist has been an influential factor in changing the behaviour or thought process of the client.

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Saberi Roy is a writer/poet/analyst/political commentator/psychologist and writes on science, arts, psychology, religions, politics and philosophy. She has Masters degrees in Philosophy (MA), in Psychology (MSc) and in Consciousness Studies with QM (more...)
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