The Empathic Sequence

How do we maximize our empathic skills? What is the best way to promote empathy in each interaction? The Empathic Sequence is a guiding sequence to help us organize information coming in from our reality to maximize empathy when communicating with another person. From the model of the five senses, we primarily use our sense of touch, sound, and sight to organize reality. In technical terms; kinesthetic, auditory, and visual are the three primary representational systems through which we perceive the world. Representational systems are the way we represent reality in feelings, words, or pictures. While we use the sense of smell and taste for many things, we typically don’t use them to frame reality. 

The Empathic Sequence is the best possible sequence to maximize your empathy with your communication partner. Here’s the sequence: Feel the person, Hear the person, and See the person.

  1. Feel the Person First. Feel empathically into the other person’s body and notice what they are experiencing. Start by putting yourself in the shoes of the other, and get a sense of them as you feel for their being. Simply open your heart to the other, and sense where they are with an open-hearted feeling for them. With practice, this becomes very easy and natural  to do. In the beginning, you may feel awkward. Know that the simple act of attempting to feel the other, even inaccurately, will likely be perceived by the other as a profound attempt to understand them. When we feel a person, we know them from the inside. 
  2. Hear the Person. Drink in their whole being with your ears. Listen to them. Hear where the flow of their heart and mind are taking them, and you. Notice  their words to help understand them. Their words will show you how they frame their experience and where their awareness and attention goes toward describing the experience. Their words generally give you a lot of information. Follow their thoughts completely. Even if you disagree with their thoughts, let them go to their conclusion so you understand them as accurately as possible. When you hear a person, you know what’s on their heart and mind. 
  3. See the Person. What is your vision of who the person is?  Seeing the person is done with your heart to their heart. When we turn to seeing the other too quickly, it’s easy to project onto them and only see ourselves reflected in them. Instead of projecting on them, we are seeing them clearly as they are. In this case, we mean seeing with the heart. We are seeing them through the eyes of love and willingly open to who they are as a human being way beyond any idea we have about them. When you see a person, you get a sense of who they are holistically. 

Using the Empathic Sequence and developing empathy is the most vital skill for humanity to survive as a species. Empathy is the opposite of judgment. When somebody judges someone else, they’re really casting a judgment on themselves on some level. Anytime we see another with cruelty, we are simply acting out our own cruelty to ourselves onto the other. When we turn our empathic and loving heart toward the other, then we have true heart and true love.

Our founding company, Bridging Worlds Behavioral Services, which gave birth to Heart-Centered Revolutions, was developed according to these principles of parenting. We support any parents who need our services.

If you’d like to connect with me, I’m on Facebook at Heart-Centered Revolutions and Adam Bulbulia. To read additional articles or one of my books, go to Heart-Centered Revolutions, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to forging a world that works for everyone. Facebook | Youtube | Instagram

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.