A New Approach to Empathy: Fantasies

Years ago, I worked with a young woman who struggled with the concept of empathy. A trademark symptom of narcissists and sociopaths, she was actually neither, but was in fact compromised in her ability to “walk in another’s shoes” (a phrase you are familiar with if you’ve read this post or ‘Crazy’) fortnite for pc. Part of this was certainly due to her upbringing, which consisted of a predominantly “pull up your bootstraps” philosophy. And research continues to accumulate that suggests empathy has a physiological component as well, which means it’s entirely possible my client could have been physically compromised in this area sims 3.

On one particular session she revealed a rather striking discovery.

“In the past week,” she explained, “my friend lost his job, my sister had a miscarriage after only a few weeks of getting pregnant and a co-worker’s cat died.”

Normally I would anticipate a follow-up statement consisting of remarkably rational thinking that would completely bypass the emotional pain that often follows events she just described tumblr blog herunterladen.

“My first thought was, ‘okay, bummer, but you’ll find another job, you can probably get pregnant again and although your cat was probably nice and cuddly, it’s not a living person and another cat will serve you just as well.’ But I’d recently been thinking about fantasies.”

Fantasies never fail to perk up an analyst’s ears, although it’s worth mentioning that, because of the sexual connotation associated with the term, people assume that all fantasies are positive app downloaden op sony bravia. This is not required. Fantasies in the truest sense are simply events in the mind that have not come to fruition at the point of their conception.

“When I think about my life, which is almost 30 years old at this point, I don’t reflect much on the past photos from icloud backup. I look forward. I consider what my plan is for 30, 32, 35 and onward, and I can give you a detailed summary of what I expect life to look like at those times herunterladen. Good or bad, these are my fantasies. But when I consider a fantasy and then ponder what I’ll feel if they do not come true, I feel an anxiety…here,” and she pointed to her abdomen tiptoi discover the city.

“This got me thinking about my friend, sister and co-worker. I started to consider the notion that, beyond the practicalities of needing money, or the bond a mother has with a child even if he’s not alive, or the companionship of a pet, there’s a fantasy there free pc games full version. There is a distinct, palpable notion of what life will look like going forward with certain factors in play, even if they aren’t completely rational how to download itunes. And even though you can replace most elements in your life, that definitive mental picture must be altered when the life script changes. It simply has to, it can no longer exist in the way you want where to books. And when I envision people struggling not because of people or jobs or animals, but rather because of the life they cannot ever possibly lead in the exact fashion they’ve constructed, I feel something. There’s a hurt at that moment.”

This was a method of self-inducing empathy that I had never considered, essentially using the future as a gauge of another’s pain rather than his present, as well as considering a life script of sorts rather than the tangible loss in front of him.

Our work together ended prematurely, as the woman left the city to pursue a new career, but I do wonder from time to time if her experience was a passing, “eureka!” moment or a more permanent realization. I’ve tried her method myself and, for the most part, it has increased my empathy with both friends and clients.

Here’s an exercise for you: the next time you struggle with empathy, try my former client’s approach. See if helps with your understanding of another’s pain, his experience, see if it’s easier to “walk in his shoes.” And then let me know how it goes.

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3 Responses to “A New Approach to Empathy: Fantasies”

  1. Juda says:

    I retired after 40 years in social work. The first years I thought if given enough program money and time, I could save the world. The last few working years, I felt I had seen so much I was becoming numb to others problems. Feeling much as your client in the thought about, “just go out and get another job”…. My husband feels that this experience of working for years trying to solve others problems has had a major impact on me. I am sure it has, just don’t know how to go about how to remedy it in my retirement years.

  2. Anonymous says:

    what an insightful piece,really make me think.good job

  3. loss ballard says:

    I need to talk to someone I need some advice. I am having some problems I am married.My girl is having problems in a abusive relationship my boy is living at home with me he ant acting right I have a jealous husband. I just need some one I can tell my problems to