Why not give sympathy and consolation to the Speaker if they are in Pain
Hi Edwin, a few other thoughts. In the other gathering I'm in with Sofia it's about really heavy stuff, stuff that sometimes people can't just endure by themselves. I find it very helpful, if the listener (in this case it is most often the facilitator) can share her experience, like
"Oh yeah, i know this, too. For me it was like ..., and I know It's horrible.
This consoles people more than when they are just being listened, too, and I also agree with the people who said that this repeating took up so much time and what's the use of repeating in exact detail?
I sense that this empathy process might be really more useful on a topic that everybody knows and where there are conflicting opinions about.
For me empathy so far has meant to be with people in pain, so this would have a more emotional component to it (which doesn't mean confusing pity with compassion.)
I hope these are the right English words. If you still know German you know the difference between Mitleid and Mitgefühl. Just my 10 cents.
The arrangement of not consoling or talking about your own experience, when you are an active listener, is because that is the speakers time to feel fully heard and focused on. When sympathizing ( like you suggested ) you are switching the topic on yourself, so that can block empathy. But when its your time to speak and be heard, you can sympathize, ask questions or say whats on your mind, and feel fully heard in that
The repeating also becomes easier and shorter with time, as you learn different ways to easier remember and only make a quick review of what the person is saying. Remember that we are not taught by anyone to listen carefully and to stay present with another persons experience. Be patient and know that it takes time to learn something new. Sofia
yes,, that is how I see it as well. When the person is in pain, the empathic listener is a companion with the person in pain.. that has a healing quality. They do not feel so alone with the pain.
This is what Carl Rogers said about it. "To my mind, empathy is in itself a healing agent. It is one of the most potent aspects of therapy, because it releases, it confirms, it brings even the most frightened client into the human race. If a person is understood, he or she belongs." Edwin
Somewhere I have see a quote by Marshall Rosenberg about this.
With empathy, I'm fully with them, and not full of them - that's sympathy. - Marshall Rosenberg