How To Practice Empathy Most Effectively

Empathy is one of the most vital skills we can develop and use in our times and for all times. In its essence, empathy is the ability to place ourselves inside of someone else’s experience. There are many ways to practice empathy, but the most effective way I’ve found is to feel into the other by imagining that I am actually in the other person’s body. This process gives me the feeling of empathy as well as the sense of being in their shoes, thinking the way they do about a particular situation. 

Perceptual Positions

The Perceptual Positions Practice comes out of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), and is a clear and valuable guide to cultivate the empathy skills outlined above. As a Process Coach for 18 years, my cohort and I used this tool as a foundation for developing empathy and rapport amongst ourselves and with clients.


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For example: 

If the client is nonverbal we might work on expanding their communication skills to include gestures or pictures.

If the client is overstimulated in the grocery store, goals might include short trips to the store with ways to self-regulate.