How can I effectively empathize with people who have had different traumatic experiences than me?
Last Updated: 06/17/2019 at 6:49pm
Caroline Middelsdorf, MSc.
I am a warm hearted, patient, calm and open-minded therapist. I am here to dedicate my expertises to my clients and their individual challenges, thoughts and feelings.
Top Rated Answers
Effectively empathizing with individuals with different traumatic experiences than me means to listen with respect and compassion. Making sure that I suggest a referral to services that can help them when appropriate.
I have learned that while an experience may be different than my own, often times the feelings behind those experiences are the same or similar. If I can relate to a person's feelings, than I find it easier to be supportive.
Understanding pain in general should be enough. It doesn't matter the type of pain, but knowing pain.
To effectively empathize with people who have different experiences as you, you have to be open minded and understanding of the different circumstances and try to understand where the individual is coming from.
Tell them that I know they must be going through a very hard time and that I am here to listen to them.
Empathising is just listening and putting yourself in their perspective. You do not have to understand how they feel directly, it is enough to be there to listen and provide support.
The only thing you can really do is just listen and be there for them. A way to empathize is placing yourself in their shoes and imagining how you would feel if you were in their shoes.
Although you may not be able to relate directly to a traumatic event that someone else has experienced you can effectively empathize by putting yourself in their situation. Instead of trying to identify with the specific situation, identify with their feelings.
Share about each other. Learn about one another!
Hear them out, exchange stories, and try to put yourself in their shoes. Ask questions and express a genuine interest in their experiences.
I find that breaking things down into more basic emotions helps. So maybe you have never been in, say, a car crash. However, you might be able to relate with feeling "scared" or "hurt". You may have never had your sister steal your boyfriend, but you can possibly relate to feelings like"betrayed" or "unwanted". You may have never been exiled in a mountain shack, but you have likely felt "lonely". Hope that helps!
Try to do research, and ask them what the best way you can help them. If they are suffering greatly, refer them to a therapist or doctor
We are all different but at the time we're all alike. We all sense pain, and happiness and worry and fear. So we can empathize with others who have these feelings.
When it comes to empathizing with other people, it's simply having the ability to understand that this person has suffered in life, rather than the specific thing they have gone through. Effective empathizing is possible through having the ability to understand the pain of another person - and although you may have had different traumatic experiences, you have both gone through something that has caused you trauma as a whole. In the end, what is important is that you find something that you have both got in common such as having trauma and then being empathetic because you both know what it's like to be traumatized.
Related Questions: How can I effectively empathize with people who have had different traumatic experiences than me?
Am I allowed to start being upset and getting help for emotional abuse 3 years after it happened?My brother used to hit me a lot, but my parent justifies it by his autism and schizophrenia. Was it still abuse?My parents physically abuse me and every time someone touches me I flinch. Am I broken? Will I ever move past that?Am I allowed to still be in love with my abuser?How can I support someone experiencing domestic violence ?I need the strength to leave my mentally abusive husband can anyone suggest?How do I get someone to report a sexual assault?What does it mean my my dad is sucking my toes and bites one off, but still says he loves me.?I’m 16, and my parents mentally abuse me, constantly insulting me, restricting my time with other friends and family. My grandparents are willing to take me in, but what can I do? Can my parents sue mMy ex boyfriend was violent but I can’t move on why?