VIDEO CONFERENCE: Sensitivity is not Empathy
An International Support Group facilitated by Dr. Marshack. This Video Conference is only for members of Meetup. Click here for membership details and to register for this call.
TOPIC: VIDEO CONFERENCE: Sensitivity is not Empathy
WHEN: Wednesday, June 23rd, 3 pm PT
NTs and “Aspies” both seem to get confused about the distinction between sensitivity and empathy. While your “Aspie” may cry at the sight of an injured pet, or your “Aspie” child may feel comforted by your embrace, this is not empathy. The integrated symphony of neurology, traits, and skills is required to produce empathy. Below is a definition from my new book, WHEN EMPATHY FAILS.
“Empathy is a dynamic, evolving process—not a human trait. From empathy comes the ability to hold dear the feelings and thoughts of others.
“Those with highly-evolved empathy skills do not confuse the psychological boundaries between themselves and others. They can care, feel compassion, and sympathize without taking on the responsibility for another person’s intentions or feelings. This distinction is critical. Empathy is respectfully allowing the other person to take responsibility for their life. (In AA and other 12-step programs, the ability to do this is called detachment.)
“A symphony may best represent the dynamics of humans empathizing. A great composer creates a musical score that allows for the best use and sound of each instrument while staying faithful to the melody and the meaning of the piece. Sometimes we hear a solo. Other times we embrace the resonance of the horn section or the rumble of the tympani. Often the room is filled with what sounds like a thousand string instruments. We may feel thrilled, calmed, or seduced by the music.
“A symphony is not complete without the audience, which provides energy to the musicians. Have you noticed how much more alive a performance is when the audience emotionally joins with the orchestra? Empathy is like this, too. It is far more than the sum of its parts. It is the sense that everyone in the room is breathing the music. So, too, empathy creates a powerful oneness that lets us know we are not alone.”
Hope you will join me in this discussion.
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