One of the saddest things about being a therapist is watching a young child cry. It never gets easier, and it’s impossible not to feel empathic when his big brown eyes swell with tears, the hand covers his face, and his weak shoulders heave up and down.
Luckily, children are resilient and open. A primary therapeutic goals is to help your client overcome overwhelming obstacles so he doesn’t fall victim to early experiences and a toxic environment.
This summer I’ve been busily preparing a group counseling program for elementary school-age youth that stresses Emotional Intelligence, EQ for short (our ability to manage feelings appropriately, to allow our feelings guide us towards positive behaviors, and to get along with others, etc.).
High on that curriculum is the concept of empathy–one of the most important core principles of EQ. Without empathy, the young child cannot envision what it’s like to “walk in the shoes” of another person.
Empathy is the starting point to helping children locate islands of competence and success in their lives, to develop responsibility, compassion and a social conscience.~Robert Brooks/Sam Goldstein
In my humble therapist opinion, empathy is where it’s at.
But don’t take my word for it…
Baby Buddha on Empathy:
“Our capacity for empathy is the source of that most precious of all qualities, which in Tibetan is called ‘nying-je.’”
“Human brains are wired for empathy. When humans watch other humans express emotion, the brains of both show the same neurological activity. This is called ‘neuron mirroring.’”
“The child looks into the “mirror” of his own mind and sees the mental states of others, and this may be the difference that allows him to leave bad experiences and his environment behind.”
Thanks for stopping by :).
Have an empathy-filled week,