Empathy is a core component of this work, and guess what? It takes practice. Here are some of the key components of empathy and – most importantly – communicating empathy.
- Affective empathy – The ability to “walk in the other person’s shoes” and feel what they are feeling.
- Cognitive empathy – The ability to understand the other’s perspective and thinking.
- Somatic empathy – The ability to mirror the body state of the other.
- Active listening communicates empathy:
- Name and Reflect: “I can see you feel sad.”
- Validate: “It makes sense you’d feel that way.”
- Paraphrase and summarize: “You’re saying that what you felt made you feel out of control and you’re struggling with how to manage that.”
- Mirror: Use your body to mirror where they are – get down on their level, lean in when they lean in, lean out when they lean out.