Bringing empathy to the table adds a new dimension to your healing touchby Jean Shea Wednesday, May 30, 2012
In “The Power of Empathy in Massage,” on the Institute for Integrative Healthcare Studies website, writer Linda Fehrs makes a case that the empathy you bring to your practice – your ability to share what your client feels- is what makes you a healer more than a competent practitioner who can treat a symptom. Your empathy for your clients also makes the experience shared, so that you build a strong relationship.
She says, “It is perhaps this sense of empathy that separates the healers from those who merely treat symptoms when it comes to restorative and therapeutic professions. A doctor may be educated, dedicated and sympathetic with his or her patients but, unless he or she can empathize with them, the doctor may be lacking a key component in his or her practice.”
Fehrs points to a number of qualities that you need to be empathetic. Among these are:
- Listening: A healer needs to listen with your ears and hands with focus and with discipline. Truly listening and offering constructive feedback during you time with you clients, may help them see their own problems - the pain, ache or injury - in a different light.
- Sensitivity: Be sensitive to the feelings of others; don’t ignore or trivialize them. Sensitivity is part of effective listening.
- Honesty: You can be tactful, but be honest. Give honest explanations, especially with regard to your work.
- Imagination: Imagine yourself in someone else’s shows. Listen to others experiences and feelings with an open mind and without judgment or competition.
- Appreciation: Appreciate your clients and show it. When you say thank you, mean it; you can make the day better for someone.
Empathy is powerful and can contribute to healing, but you also need to find balance. Being too empathetic can potentially distort your perception of a situation. Avoid getting too connected to any one client at the expense of giving your full attention to the needs of others. When you bring empathy to the table, you can increase the potential for healing. Just be sure that it doesn’t get in the way of your professional objectivity and excellence.For the latest and greatest, become a fan on Facebook and Twitter.
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