Author: Kathleen Stephany

Cultivating Empathy: Inspiring Health Professionals to Communicate More Effectively

eBook: US $49 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $134
Printed Copy: US $110
Library License: US $196
ISBN: 978-1-68108-031-4 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-60805-988-1 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2015
DOI: 10.2174/97816080598811150101


Research demonstrates that even if empathy – the capacity to perceive or share emotions with other beings – is not part of a person’s communication skill set, it can be taught. Empathy can, therefore be viewed as an acquired communication skill. Cultivating and practicing the skill of empathy among health care providers enhances the quality of care experienced by their patients which, in turn, can even improve work satisfaction for health care providers.

Many communication textbooks or manuals for care giving professions primarily focus on specific communication skills and techniques. Cultivating Empathy takes a different approach; the book sets empathy as the foundation of all therapeutic interactions and teaches the reader to learn the art of empathy by using constructive approaches and research findings from social sciences and neuroscience.

Cultivating Empathy is perfect for any student or practicing health care professional who has felt that there was an absence of rapport when interacting with clients or patients and their families. Real case narratives, dynamic interactive exercises and simulation techniques are also provided in this text to assist helpers to learn how to be more empathetic. Readers will gain awareness about human and emotional aspects of patient care, which will hopefully make a positive contribution to their professional practice.


“When I have been listened to, when I have been heard, I am able to re-perceive my world in a new way and go on.”

Carl Rogers, 20th Century Psychologist and Forefather of Humanism

I chose to write a book on empathy because I believe that empathy is the foundation for all therapeutic interaction and when it is lacking, our patients and/or clients feel emotionally neglected. For example, when people are faced with a serious life or health challenge, they want knowledgeable and competent practitioners caring for them, but they also long to be understood. Yet, all too often, empathy is not included in the curriculum of many caregivers’ training. Therefore, the intention of this book is to inspire and teach both students and practicing health professionals, how to be more empathetic. I chose the title, Cultivating Empathy, because I am a gardener. Just as a beautiful garden can be cultivated, empathy can also be nurtured.

(Note: All of the stories and case study narratives in this book come from real life experiences. However, names and details have been altered significantly enough to preserve confidentiality).

Kathleen Stephany
Full Time Nurse Educator in the Faculty of Health Sciences
Douglas College, BC


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