Interpersonal Understanding and ComfortingPresentation Transcript
Interpersonal Understanding and Comforting
Empathy is the process of identifying with the feelings of others.
Approaches to Empathy
Empathy – identifying with or vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another Empathic response – an emotional response parallel to another person’s actual or anticipated display of emotion
Perspective Taking Imaging oneself in the place of another
Sympathetic Responsiveness Feeling concern, compassion, or sorrow for another because of the other’s situation or plight
How do we Empathize?
Actively attend to what the person is saying.
Observe and understand both verbal and nonverbal messages, using paraphrases and perception checking to help you.
Draw on your experience to understand the situation.
Put your understanding of a message into words to clarify meaning.
Content – conveys understanding of the denotative meaning
Feeling – conveys your understanding of the speaker’s connotative meaning
Can be particularly difficult across cultures.
Cross-cultural communication requires us to be even more attentive to verbal and non-verbal clues than we normally would.
Supporting – a statement whose goal is to show approval, bolster, encourage, soothe, console, or cheer up
Recognize others’ good feelings and affirm their right to have them.
Give comfort when a person has negative feelings.
Effective Support Messages
Clearly state the aim to help the other
Express acceptance, love, and affection for the other
Demonstrate care, concern, and interest in the other’s situation
Effective Support Messages (2)
Indicate that the speaker is available to listen and support the other
State that the speaker is an ally
Acknowledge the other’s feelings and situation and express sincere sympathy
Assure the other that feelings are legitimate
Encourage the other to elaborate
Ineffective Support Messages
Condemn and criticize the other’s feelings and behavior
Imply that the other’s feelings are not warranted
Tell the other how to feel
Focus attention on the speaker
Intrude by representing a level of concern greater than is appropriate within the relationship
Supportive Message Skills
We can all benefit from training in the six supportive message skills (identified by Brian Burleson):
Clarifying supportive intentions
Buffering face threats (negative and positive)
Using Other-centered messages
Clarifying Supportive Intentions
Directly state your intentions by emphasizing your desire to help
Remind your partner of your commitment to the relationship
Indicate that helping is your only motive
Phrase your clarification in a way that reflects helpfulness.
Buffering Face Threats
Positive Facework messages protect the partner’s need to be respected, liked, and valued.
Describe and convey positive feelings about what the other has said and done
Express your admiration for their courage
Acknowledge the difficulty of the situation
Express your belief that the other has the qualities and skills needed to endure
Buffering Face Threats (2)
Negative facework messages support the partner’s need for independence and autonomy.
Ask for permission before giving advice
Verbally defer to the opinions and preferences of the other person
Use tentative language to hedge and qualify opinions and advice
Using Other-Centered Messages
Ask questions that prompt the person to elaborate on what happened
Emphasize your willingness to listen to an extended story
Use vocalized encouragement and non-verbal behavior to communicate continued interest
Affirm, legitimize, and encourage exploration of feelings expressed by partner
Demonstrate the you understand but avoid changing the focus to you.
Interpreting (Framing) Information and Experiences Reframes information to help the other understand from a different perspective
Advice giving messages present relevant suggestions that a person could use to satisfactorily resolve a situation.
In general, advice messages should not be expressed until our supportive intentions are fully understood.