Some Empathy is Automatic, But Control Your Response

Some Empathy is Automatic, But Control Your Response

September 9, 2015 - 6:31 am
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Some empathy is automatic, but response can be controlled Researchers have identified two distinct kinds of empathy in human experience — emotional empathy and cognitive empathy. Both guide our behaviors toward others and are key components of emotional intelligence. Chris Allen Thomas of the Teleos Leadership Institute explains the difference:
  • Emotional empathy, also called affective or primitive empathy, is a subjective state resulting from emotional contagion. It’s our automatic drive to respond appropriately to someone else’s emotions.
  • Cognitive empathy is a mostly conscious drive to recognize and understand another person’s emotional state. It could be described as walking in another’s shoes. Self-management and relationship management is linked to cognitive empathy. Though emotional empathy is automatic, self-awareness and deliberate management of responses to our emotions can bring it under conscious control. Control of emotional empathy is a key skill in decision-making.
Cognitive empathy, because it is deliberate, is a skill that everyone can learn and develop with practice. Role play games are an effective tool for building cognitive empathy. Lewis’s Bottom Line: Cognitive and emotional empathy are key parts of emotional intelligence. The better we train ourselves to be aware of other’s emotions and manage our responses, the more effective our communications and relationships will be.  Read more on this topic here: http://blog.teleosleaders.com/2013/07/19/emotional-empathy-and-cognitive-empathy/
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