What is it to “walk in someone else’s shoes?” Would that be the only way to empathize? Can empathy be learned?
Recently forty attendees listened intently with their hearts during a workshop presented by Andrew Witter, co-founder of EmpanyIQ, a provider of empathy training for healthcare and senior organizations.
Becoming more empathetic can be learned. As we shared stories, we also explored our responses. We discovered that our natural inclinations are often to try to fix a situation. Some of us are quick to advise. Others are good at consoling and others try to explain a person’s feelings to them. Many of us believed we were being empathetic. We were wrong.
The workshop helped us all analyze our personal empathy IQ. Our listening skills were heightened, and our hearts were opened.
We learned that to empathize we need to understand another’s feelings and perspectives and to use that understanding to guide our actions and our responses to them. What many of us were comfortable in practicing was kindness or pity. At the end of the workshop we all were able to identify the difference. We felt we had increased our empathy IQ.
For more information about future workshops sponsored by The Greens at Greenwich, call 203.531.5500.
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