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Psychotherapy Relationships That WorkEvidence-Based Responsiveness$
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John C. Norcross

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199737208

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199737208.001.0001

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Empathy

Empathy

Chapter:
(p.132) Chapter 6 Empathy
Source:
Psychotherapy Relationships That Work
Author(s):

Robert Elliott

Arthur C. Bohart

Jeanne C. Watson

Leslie S. Greenberg

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199737208.003.0006

After defining empathy, discussing its measurement, and offering an example of empathy in practice, this chapter presents the results of an updated meta-analysis of the relation between empathy and psychotherapy outcome. Results indicated that empathy is a moderately strong predictor of therapy outcome (mean weighted r = .30) but revealed considerable nonrandom variability. The empathy–outcome relation held equally for different theoretical orientations. Client and observer perceptions of therapist empathy predicted outcomes better than therapist perceptions of empathic accuracy measures, and the relation was strongest for less experienced therapists. We conclude with practice recommendations, including endorsing the different forms that empathy may take in therapy.

Keywords:   empathy, psychotherapy, therapy relationship, Carl Rogers, meta-analysis

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