Author Archives

Dedicated and committed that empathy becomes less of a rumor and more of an expanded reality in the community...

  • Empathy: Capitalist Tool (Part 2): “CEO” now means “Chief Empathy Officer”

    Google Founders, Larry and Brin, from the back back cover of Forrester Magazine, 2005: Don't be evil, man! The front cover shows them wearing saint halos.

    Empathy is one of those things that are hard to delegate. This role shows up like another job responsibility with which the CEO of the organization is tasked—along with everything else that she already has to do. As if she did not already have enough alligators snapping at various parts of her anatomy, one has to be nice about it, too? But of course empathy is not niceness, though it is not about being un-nice. It is about knowing what others are experiencing, because one has a vicarious experience and then processing that further to expand boundaries and exercise leadership. 

  • Empathy: Capitalist Tool (Part 1): The Empathy Deficit in Business is Getting Attention

    Mr Money Bags (Penny Bags): Image Credit: Trademark Parker Brothers Corporation

    Testing a person’s decisions and preferences using probabilities, bets, and lotteries is an engaging exercise, and nothing is wrong in doing so. However, unless one also adds empathy to the mixture of economics and logic one misses something essential—the person!

  • Empathy and Literature: Grand Rounds Talk (rebroadcast): Oct 13, 2016

    Gerda and The Lieutenant playing passionate duos on the violins

    The four phases of empathy – receptivity, understanding, interpretation, and responsiveness- are exemplified in literature in rebroadcast of this Grand Rounds talk from Rush Medical in Oct 2016…

  • Empathy versus bullying: Part 3: Recommendations for Students, Parents, Educators

    T-Rex nick=named "Sue" sneaking up on unsuspecting tourist to perpetrate bullying at the Field Museum

    First, these recommendations are about getting back your power—or at least some of your power—in the face of bullying. Sometimes that looks like making a tactical retreat, much as one might dislike doing so, in order to reestablish boundaries and integrity. The idea is to de-escalate the potential confrontation. What de-escalation looks like is different according to the situation. 

  • Empathy versus bullying: online bullying and what to do about it

    Teenage Girl Being Bullied By Text Message

    The paradox is the anti-social nature of social networking. The computer screen isolates the person even as the person is trying to connect. The contrary is also the case. The screen connects the person when the person wants to be alone, rudely announcing an incoming message by beeping, demanding one’s attention. Sometimes the screen brings out the anti-social tendencies instead of the pro-social ones, enabling one to be inauthentic, hiding behind a false self.

  • Empathy versus bullying: The biggest bully in my life

    Classic, standard bully: Bill Sikes from Dickens' Oliver Twist

    Since the bullying is a boundary violation, the way to reestablish empathy and order (where “order” means common courtesy) is to reestablish the boundary between persons.

  • Empathy as presence – online and in shared physical space

    Cover art: Screen Relations by Gillian Isaacs Russell

    The ontological definition of empathy as “being in the presence of another human being without anything else added” – anything else such as judgment, evaluation, memory, desire, hostility, and the many factors that make us unavailable to be in relationship. Though Gillian Isaacs Russell uses the word “empathy” in a specific psychological sense, I would argue that her work on “presence” is consistent with and contributes to an enlarged sense of empathic relatedness that builds community.   

  • Reclaiming Empathy in Online Therapy: An Imaginary Conversation with Sherry Turkle

    Arnon (Rolnick PhD) and Lou discussing online therapy, online empathy, and Sherry Turkle's memoire The Empathy Diaries

    Professor Turkle, Sherry, launches a Jeremiad – remember the Prophet Jeremiah? – against buzzing, beeping, interrupting devices, which give us acquired attention deficit, and carries her concerns in the direction of online therapy. If empathy is being copresent with another person, where is the empathy online? Find out in the engaging conversation between Lou and Arnon about Sherry’s penetrating and incisive work!

  • Resistance to Empathy (Part 1): Organizational Resistance to Empathy and How to Overcome It

    Resistance to empathy: like Sisyphus pushing that boulder up hill?!

    that make organizations successful are not always the qualities that enhance their empathy. Hear me say it, and not for the last time: the things that make us good at business, including the corporate transformation of American medicine and education, do not always expand our empathy. What to do about it? The battle is joined. The recommendation? Let your customers, constituents, or stake-holders train you in empathy: Realize that if you do not respond empathically, the customers are just going to go quietly to the competitor that does. Empathy is good for business. If the customer has a complaint that he is having trouble expressing, then use one’s listening skills to get to the bottom of things.

  • The Natural Empath Encounters the Good Samaritan

    The Parable of the Good Samaritan: Two experience empathic distress and pass by - the Samaritan recognizes his neighbor in the survivor

    Cross the street away from the neighbor to “down regulate” your empathy, and experience less empathic distress; and cross the street towards your neighbor to expand your empathy in the direction of creating an inclusive community of persons, who recognize the value of cooperation.