Compassion and empathy

25 March 2020

We've gone through our archives to bring you our top content on compassion and empathy.

Compassion: the essential orientation
Tim Anstiss, Jonathan Passmore and Paul Gilbert on compassionate motivation, including 8 practical steps for building compassion. 

Kindness – society's golden chain?
Lee Rowland.

Schooling with compassion
Frances Maratos tells Ella Rhodes about compassionate mind training. 

A couple of articles on creating compassionate cultures in the NHS:
‘It doesn’t have to be this way’ – Michael West
Creating compassionate NHS organisations – Maria Kordowicz

‘Psychology without compassion leaves an emptiness’
Laura Lea with a day in the life of a service-user involvement coordinator.

‘Compassion is an antidote to cruelty’
Kal Kseib meets Paul Gilbert, founder of compassion-focused therapy.
… with a response from Jasmin Kaur Gill 

‘People need a period of stability, otherwise they may actively resist beneficial change’
Gail Kinman on her work as an occupational health psychologist, including compassion fatigue.
… plus Ella Rhodes’ report on Gail Kinman’s keynote at the 2016 Society annual conference 

The limits of empathy
Diana Kwon on when walking in another’s shoes is not enough

‘Tears were and still are crucial for our functioning’
Ad Vingerhoets speaks to Gail Kinman about his work, including the link between empathy and crying 

What do psychologists think about machines that think?
Ella Rhodes reports on contributions to the annual question, including the empathy gap

I feel your pain!
Clare Allely with the neurological and anecdotal evidence to suggest we really can feel others’ pain.

The psychology of altruism
Tom Farsides with a review of the evidence and how we might foster a more prosocial society.

Empathy - Freudian origins and 21st century neuroscience
Simon Baron-Cohen on Freud’s place in present and future research. 

We’ve had a couple of letters on the ‘double empathy problem’ – from Rita Jordan and Jacqui Price

Over on our Research Digest see some summaries of studies on compassion and empathy:
How personal experience of adversity influences our feelings of compassion towards others – Emma Young
There is only weak evidence that mirror neurons underlie human empathy – New review and meta-analysis – Christian Jarrett
Encouraging self-compassion may help people with chronic pain lead more active, happier lives – Alex Fradera
More analytical, less intuitive people are better at empathy – Alex Fradera
Intensive meditation training seems to enhance people’s compassion – Alex Fradera
People who have experienced more adversity show more compassion – Christian Jarrett
Writing about your emotional pain could make you feel worse, unless you do it with ‘self-compassion’ – Temma Ehrenfeld
Happy people think they’re good at empathising with the pain of others. They’re wrong – Alex Fradera
Good at heart - 10 findings that reveal the better side of human nature

Search The Psychologist and the Research Digest archives for more on this and other topics.