Empathy = feeling into
The empathic response, for example, is a technique that consists of three steps:
- identifying the emotion,
- identifying the source of the emotion, and
- responding in a way that shows you have made the connection between the first two steps.
The belief that the clinician is supposed to experience what the patient is feeling is incorrect and may actually be unhelpful in acknowledging and addressing the patient’s reactions.
As the saying goes, “You do not need to have pain in your own right iliac fossa in order to diagnose a patient’s appendicitis.”