Compassion is an ever-growing area of interest within psychology and psychotherapy. Although definitions of compassion vary, there is broad agreement that compassion is comprised of a combination of affective, cognitive, and motivational components. While everyone has, to some degree, a level of compassion, for some it can be beneficial to develop these skills further through training and practice.
Affective compassion refers to the emotional compassion – the ability to share the feelings of another person. This type of compassion helps build those emotional connections with others.
To build affective empathy, listening is key. When a person shares a personal struggle, tune out all distractions and hear them out. Resist the urge to judge the person or situation, to interrupt and share your personal experience, or try to problem-solve. Instead, focus on understanding how the person feels, and why they feel that way.
Cognitive empathy is all about making educated guesses. Often, we can misinterpret body language and facial expressions; smiling may signal happiness and joy, but it may also signal sadness depending on the scenario.
Keeping this in mind, consider what you know about a person before interacting with them and be willing to learn more. Keep in mind that your interpretation of another person’s mood, behavior, or thinking will be influenced by your prior experience and unconscious bias. Your instincts may be wrong. Don’t be quick to assume or rush to judgment.
Motivational empathy actually moves us to take action and help however we can.
Usually, you would directly ask the person what you can do to help. If they are unwilling to share, you would relate back to what helped you overcome a similar feeling or situation. It’s good to share your personal experience, but avoid sounding like a “know-it-all” or that you know exactly what they’re going through. Every situation is different, and so are the feelings a person experiences. Even if you had a similar scenario, you can’t know exactly how someone is feeling.
Having Trouble Exercising Compassion?
If you notice yourself having trouble empathizing with others, it may be a good decision to get involved in compassion training.
SOMA Therapy is a therapy center in Wichita, KS. We provide professional therapy and counseling for your mental health needs. We work with adults, children, couples, and families. No matter what you or your loved one is struggling with, we got your back in Wichita, KS.
Ever Heard of Compassion Training?
Compassion training is a form of therapy used to help an individual learn and practice exercising compassion. This is something our therapists and counselors offer at SOMA Therapy. Our providers all work together to ensure you receive the necessary treatment for your mental health concerns.
I’m struggling with my mental health. What are some treatment options?
Although treatments vary, one of the best forms of treatment for mental health diagnoses is psychiatric medication management. This treatment plan assumes a combination of therapy and counseling with a prescribed medication plan.
How does this work? A licensed psychiatrist or a psychiatric mental health nurse will prescribe psychiatric medication to treat your symptoms or diagnosis. Clients often have biological or biochemical symptoms of anxiety, stress, or trauma in addition to their psychological symptoms. While treating the biochemical parts of mental health concerns can be very helpful, medication prescription alone will not resolve or fix your mental health. To avoid continued or worsened mental health symptoms, it is important to attend therapy or counseling during your medication treatment plan.