Chapter

Empathy

Robert Elliott, Arthur C. Bohart, Jeanne C. Watson and Leslie S. Greenberg

in Psychotherapy Relationships That Work

Second edition

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199737208
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894635 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199737208.003.0006
Empathy

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After defining empathy, discussing its measurement, and offering an example of empathy in practice, this chapter presents the results of an updated meta-analysis of the relation between empathy and psychotherapy outcome. Results indicated that empathy is a moderately strong predictor of therapy outcome (mean weighted r = .30) but revealed considerable nonrandom variability. The empathy–outcome relation held equally for different theoretical orientations. Client and observer perceptions of therapist empathy predicted outcomes better than therapist perceptions of empathic accuracy measures, and the relation was strongest for less experienced therapists. We conclude with practice recommendations, including endorsing the different forms that empathy may take in therapy.

Keywords: empathy; psychotherapy; therapy relationship; Carl Rogers; meta-analysis

Chapter.  11641 words. 

Subjects: Clinical Psychology

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