Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Fort Collins Counseling, Therapy, Coaching: Empathy vs. Sympathy

Today's Blog Post

About your Counselor-Therapist-Coach

I am not a 24/7, 365 days per year 100% 'airy-fairy' sympathetic counselor/therapist/coach. 

Definition 'airy-fairy' sympathy -- a counselor/therapist/coach identity/persona that constantly engages in verbal and non-verbal feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else's misfortune. 

Sympathy vs. Empathy in Counseling, Therapy, Coaching

It's simple -- Empathy includes all of the endearing features of sympathy, but it also includes personal responsibility and accountability (i.e., sympathy does not include responsibility and accountability). 

In the counseling/therapy world, it is commonly called empathic confrontation.  If done correctly, it is a very powerful technique, which typically leads to tremendous personal growth and development.

Without empathic confrontation, most forms of counseling/therapy are 'air-fairy' sympathy based (IMHO, for many client populations, it could be a waste of time).  

Colleague Testimonial

I had the pleasure of co-facilitating a substance recovery group for young adults with Mark.  He connected with these you men and women using humor, compassion, and direct confrontation when warranted.  Mark was a mirror to them, reflecting both strengths and hard realities that others may have been hesitant to point out.  Mark's commitment in this group was to help the clients become the best versions of themselves that they could be.

D'ri Jones.  LCSW, CAC III

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