Positive empathy: a therapeutic skill inspired by positive psychology
Language: 
English
Short Title: 
Positive empathy
Abstract: 

OBJECTIVE: Positive empathy (PE), a type of empathy response that focuses on a client's hidden message of desire for a better life, was hypothesized to increase the expression of positive emotions, approach goals, and strengths, and to communicate equivalent understanding when compared to traditional empathy (TE). METHOD: We examined 4 hypotheses in 2 studies. In study 1, college participants read therapy session vignettes incorporating PE or TE and then listed the client's strengths and goals and rated the therapist and how well they imagined themselves as the client in the vignettes. In study 2, therapist-client dyads attended 6 weekly sessions that incorporated both PE and TE, after which clients rated therapists' level of empathic understanding and session observers rated clients' emotional responses, revelations of strengths, and goals in response to empathy. RESULTS: In both studies, the results of PE and TE were similar, while PE elicited a greater number of approach goals. In study 2, clients expressed more strengths and positive emotions after PE responses than TE. CONCLUSION: Our results support PE for enhancing client growth (i.e., when a client pursues approach goals, enlists strengths, and experiences positive emotions), which is consistent with the process of positive psychology-informed psychotherapy.

Author(s): 
Conoley, Collie W.
Pontrelli, Marla E.
Oromendia, Mercedes Fern·ndez
Del Carmen Bello, Beatriz
Nagata, Chelsea M.
Item Type: 
Journal Article
Publication Title: 
Journal of Clinical Psychology
Journal Abbreviation: 
J Clin Psychol
Publication Date: 
2015-06
Publication Year: 
2015
Pages: 
575-583
Volume: 
71
Issue: 
6
ISSN: 
1097-4679
DOI: 
10.1002/jclp.22175
Library Catalog: 
PubMed
Extra: 
PMID: 25873531

Turabian/Chicago Citation

Collie W. Conoley, Marla E. Pontrelli, Mercedes Fern·ndez Oromendia, Beatriz Del Carmen Bello and Chelsea M. Nagata. 2015-06. "Positive empathy: a therapeutic skill inspired by positive psychology." Journal of Clinical Psychology 71: 6: 575-583. 10.1002/jclp.22175.

Wikipedia Citation

<ref> {{Cite journal | doi = 10.1002/jclp.22175 | issn = 1097-4679 | volume = 71 | pages = 575-583 | last = Conoley | first = Collie W. | coauthors = Pontrelli, Marla E., Oromendia, Mercedes Fern·ndez, Del Carmen Bello, Beatriz, Nagata, Chelsea M. | title = Positive empathy: a therapeutic skill inspired by positive psychology | journal = Journal of Clinical Psychology | date = 2015-06 | pmid = | pmc = }} </ref>