This is an excellent question! YES, empathy CAN be learned, however, not without the use of heavy equipment. In stubborn cases, a really solid 2 X 4 is very effective.
Everything can be learned all you have to do is find a good teacher....
The company I used to work for bet a little over half a million dollars on the fact that empathy could be taught several years ago. I was one of the persons that had to work with the outside consultants to develop a 3 week training course for all new hires which focused on putting yourself in other people's shoes in different scenarios. It apparently worked because the company has won JD Powers awards year after year for best Customer Service in their respective industry. I even walked away from that assignment a little more empathetic toward some of my co-workers. So yes I think empathy can be learned.
I believe it can unless you are a sociopath.
Yes definitely. Empathy IS learned. It's learned from the time a child is born & continues throughout childhood. A child sees empathy demonstrated by those around them & sort-of carries it with them throughout their life. Empathy is a learned behavior. If someone doesn't feel empathy as an adult, that's bc they weren't shown empathy as a child. That doesn't mean that someone with a bad upbringing is incapable of empathy. In fact, some of the most empathetic ppl around are those who have gone thru negative experiences in their life which made them that way. I didn't have a bad upbringing, but I was ridiculed & basically tortured throughout my childhood for being overweight & that is why I am SO empathetic now.
I believe the ability to be sympathetic can be learned. Empathy, though, I believe is beyond being learned. Empathy is a gift. There are some that may have some levels and have not developed it. <br />
So if you ask me. No, Empathy cannot be learned, symapthy is learned.<br />
Empathy, is where you FEEL the others shoes, not just imagine them
Yes, it can be learned however the only known cases for helping improve sociopathic individuals ability to process emotion have involved extensive emotional, and drug therapies that the average sociopath does not have access to.
as a sociopath i feel that i have achieved a slight form of empathy, but if only an intellectual game, like, if my life was a restricted as yours, or if i had too many obligations or whatnot, but truly emotional empathy is only possible with a powerful imagination and a strong connection to other people
As long as you aren't a sociopath...yes.
The more important question is can empathy be taught.<br />
The answer to that question is we/society have a responsiblity to make sure that empathy is learned by our future generations.
Like language, the younger you are exposed to it, the more fluent you will be with it.<br />
Empathy is learned from your social connections. It is hard wired into the brain.<br />
Neglect hardwires a different way of being.<br />
it isn't software that can be upgraded. It is part of our earliest wiring.<br />
Just like religious dogma as a child can last a life time, even when logic frees the person from it.<br />
The echoes of hard wiring are impossible to fully change.
I would say that empathy lies in our ability to identify with our selves and others. Empathy is one factor that sets the human race apart, we all have it even if we don't realize it, the fact that we are all unique as individuals means that we will all empathize in our unique way. It may be buried deep within ourselves with different triggers in everyone to stimulates our empathic nature. That trigger for me was the birth of my first son, I was watching life and human suffering through different eyes and there it was. My empathy.
Yes. I know, because I did it. I have no natural empathy with other people because, as you can see from my profile, I suffer from Asperger's Syndrome, which impairs my social functioning, among other things.<br />
You have to learn people's body language, and the things people say that indicate how they're feeling wihtout being specific. It takes a long time, and a lot of work, but it can be done and it is worth doing.
I have to agree with jljfrog. Empathy, in my case, has me actually FEELING the pain, a real pain right in my stomache, as if someone has punched me very hard. If I know someone or something is in pain or hurt or abused, I actually double over in pain, thats how bad it is.<br />
I never really understood what it was until recently, now I know, and sometimes, I wish I didnt have it.
Yes, I believe it can be learned. However, I also believe that to some extent it may be part of nature. I was not shown empathy as a child but I am able to show it as an adult. <br />
And yes I agree with whomever said that a 2x4 could help, in some rare cases, I can see that.
It can be learned. To some people, it comes naturally, to others, they have to put in place new thought processes to appear empathetic. Just like breaking a bad habit, a person without natural empathy can learn new ways of thinking, and after time, it may come naturally.
Some of you are confusing sympathy with empathy. I was once very sympathetic with people. After volunteering for a crisis-intervention hot-line for a few years in high school, I learned what it meant to be truly empathetic. It means removing yourself from the situation and not allowing your emotions to cloud your senses. The truth is that you will never feel exactly what someone else is feeling at the moment they are feeling it, because those emotions are their own. Being empathetic consists of realizing that "yes, I may not see exactly where you are coming from, but I bet you have a good reason for feeling the way that you do." Empathy is a tool for validating the emotions of another individual. Sympathy devalues those emotions by making them sound generic and is a tool employed by saps.
NO!! Empathy comes from the heart. If you are a compassinate person and have love in your heart than you have empathy. Empathy is when you can almost feel what another human being is feeling in times of trouble and joy. Love can work many wonders and having empathy is the greatest gift any one person can have.
no, i do not believe it can... I think it can be faked, and that the motions can be learned, and that some one can fake it very well, but if you are not born with empathy, no, you cannt learn it. It would be like learning how to grow blonde hair when you have black hair. you can cover it up, and fake it, but it will never be true.