Has anyone showcased empathy towards you? Are you empathetic toward someone? Well, empathy can be a trait or a skill. People in the humanistic field are trained and equipped to empathize with people who are afflicted. On the other hand, some individuals are naturally empathetic toward others. Being empathetic is a sign of emotional intelligence.

The definition of Empathy according to the APA empathy is an understanding of a person from his or her frame of reference rather than one’s own, or vicariously experiencing that person’s feelings, perceptions, and thoughts. Empathy does not, in and of itself, entail motivation to be of assistance, although it may turn into sympathy or personal distress, which may result in action. In a counseling setting, a counselor, psychologist, or therapist’s show empathy to their client is the path of comprehension of the client’s problem, motivation, and behavior.

People sometimes have confusion about sympathy and empathy. Here is the difference between understanding sympathy and empathy: There are few similarities between empathy and sympathy, which can lead to confusion. Sympathy and empathy are both about supporting someone in distress or need, and both are associated with a negative event or emotion. However, the difference is that empathy is the ability to understand the person, whereas sympathy is showing the feeling of sorrow or pity for the misfortunes that have happened to others.

Empathy Sympathy
Empathy is the ability to see things from others perspectives.

For example, Susan got fired from her job and is in distress and sharing her feelings and concerns, her friend responds by saying, “I know it is a very difficult time for you and your family. I am so sorry. However, I am here for you in this tough time. Please ask me if you need anything.”

A feeling of concern or compassion that results after knowing the suffering or sorrow of another

For example, if Susan got fired from her job and is in distress and sharing her feelings and concerns, her friend responds by saying, “Don’t worry, hopefully you will find another job soon.”

Some more situation to understand sympathy and empathy.

Situations Empathy Sympathy
A women lost her child in a miscarriage I know how excited you were about having this baby. I can’t imagine the pain you are going through now. That’s bad however you can try getting pregnant again.
A student failed in her exam.  I know how much you prepared for the test. I know you are disappointed it is difficult. Ask me for any help I will be here to help you out. I am sorry you didn’t make it. You can try again to pass the test.
Amanda’s parents are divorced and she is not mentally doing well as she loves and wants her family to be together. I know how much you love your mom and dad it is difficult to see them separate and choose between them as they are significant people in your life. Whatever you decide remember it is not your fault and I am here for you to support you. I am sorry I heard about your parents don’t worry it will all pass.


An empathetic person will put aside their point of view and validate the other person’s point of view. They are excellent listeners, and they respond appropriately by reciprocating their feelings and thoughts. There are different kinds of empathy.

Affective empathy is the ability to understand the emotions of a person in pain and respond appropriately.

Somatic empathy involves a person reacting physically. Sometimes people physically experience what another person is feeling. For example, when the individual sees another person crying, they also start crying.

Cognitive empathy is when an individual is able to understand another person’s thought process and the reason for their distorted thinking.




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