Saturday, May 29, 2010

Empathic Presence - A Gift from Caregivers

I slept and dreamed that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service.

I acted and behold, service wa joy.

Rabindranath Tagore

Empahic listeners are relaxed but engaged at the same time. They ask questions and explore without prying.

Empathic presence includes providing a non-judgemental environment, which offers psychological permission to talk openly and honestly. The listener maintains appropriate eye contact and offers reassuring, appropriate touches if culturally acceptable.

Empathic presence also requires listening beneath and beynd the spoken words for deeper meanings, acknowledging the other's suffering, and validating her/his feelings.

Empathic listeners may be required to admit hen they don't have answers. Empathic presence may also necessitate being happy and rejoicing in another's accomplishments at a level of genuine sincerity that conveys to the other person her/his importance.

Empathic presence decreases feelings of abandonment and isolation. It may also allow indiciduals to come to terms with their own internal struggles while affirming their dignity, self-worth, and personhood.

Give the gift of love--empathic presence!
Sandra - Caregiver Guru for the Caregiver Generation

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