The Parameters of Empathy: Core Considerations for Psychotherapy and Supervision

Advances in Descriptive Psychology, Vol. X, 2013

16 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2014 Last revised: 2 Mar 2014

Wynn Schwartz

Harvard University; William James College

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

A theory neutral and pre-empirical formulation of empathy as empathic action is presented as a basic feature of shared social practice, a core social competence, always more or less present if a person is to adequately engage with others. The conceptual tools of Paradigm Case Formulation and Parametric Analysis are employed to clarify the "more or less" quality of empathy and to provide a format to map agreement and disagreement on meanings. The paradigm case is described as the communication of the recognition of the significance of another person’s ongoing intentional actions and emotional states in a manner that the other person can tolerate. The parametric analysis involves the parameters of Wants, Knows, Knows-How, Significance, Performance, Achievement, Identity and Personal Characteristics.

Keywords: Empathy, Psychotherapy, Clinical Supervision, Descriptive Psychology, Intentional Action

Suggested Citation

Schwartz, Wynn, The Parameters of Empathy: Core Considerations for Psychotherapy and Supervision (2013). Advances in Descriptive Psychology, Vol. X, 2013 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2393689 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2393689

Wynn Schwartz (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

William James College ( email )

1 Wells Ave
Newton, MA 02459
United States

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