Robert Elliott, Arthur C. Bohart, Jeanne C. Watson, Leslie S. Greenberg

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After defining empathy, discussing its measurement, and offering an example of empathy in practice, this chapter presents the results of an updated meta-analysis of the relation between empathy and psychotherapy outcome. Results indicated that empathy is a moderately strong predictor of therapy outcome (mean weighted r = .30) but revealed considerable nonrandom variability. The empathy–outcome relation held equally for different theoretical orientations. Client and observer perceptions of therapist empathy predicted outcomes better than therapist perceptions of empathic accuracy measures, and the relation was strongest for less experienced therapists. We conclude with practice recommendations, including endorsing the different forms that empathy may take in therapy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPsychotherapy relationships that work
Subtitle of host publicationevidence-based responsiveness
EditorsJohn C. Norcross
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)0199737207
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • empathy
  • psychotherapy
  • outcome
  • meta analysis
  • Empathy

    Elliott, R., Bohart, A. C., Watson, J. C. & Greenberg, L. S., 2011, In: Psychotherapy. 48, 1, p. 43-49 7 p.

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    257 Citations (Scopus)
    5084 Downloads (Pure)

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