Empathy

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

After defining empathy, discussing its measurement, and offering an example of empathy in practice, we present 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 = .31 ( p < .001; 95% confidence interval: .28 –.34), for 59 independent samples and 3599 clients. Although the empathy-outcome relation held equally for different theoretical orientations, there was considerable nonrandom variability. 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
Pages (from-to)43-49
Number of pages7
JournalPsychotherapy
Volume48
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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Psychotherapy
Meta-Analysis
Confidence Intervals
Therapeutics

Keywords

  • empathy
  • psychotherapy
  • therapy relationship
  • Carl Rogers
  • meta-analysis

Cite this

Elliott, R., Bohart, A. C., Watson, J. C., & Greenberg, L. S. (2011). Empathy. Psychotherapy, 48(1), 43-49. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022187
Elliott, Robert ; Bohart, Arthur C. ; Watson, Jeanne C. ; Greenberg, Leslie S. / Empathy. In: Psychotherapy. 2011 ; Vol. 48, No. 1. pp. 43-49.
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Elliott, R, Bohart, AC, Watson, JC & Greenberg, LS 2011, 'Empathy', Psychotherapy, vol. 48, no. 1, pp. 43-49. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022187

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

In: Psychotherapy, Vol. 48, No. 1, 2011, p. 43-49.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Elliott R, Bohart AC, Watson JC, Greenberg LS. Empathy. Psychotherapy. 2011;48(1):43-49. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022187