April 11, 1999

Empathic self-transformation and love in individual and family therapy (1999)

Breggin, PR (1999). Empathic Self-Transformation and Love in Individual and Family Therapy The Humanistic Psychologist, 27(3), 267-282.

ABSTRACT: Empathic self-transformation and a healing presence are key to successful therapy. Empathy, the willingness and ability to understand and care about the suffering of another person, requires a loving attitude. Love, in this context, is defined as joyful awareness, accompanied by a desire to nurture and to treasure. Empathic self-transformation is a process of overcoming our personal barriers to feeling empathy and love for our client. Healing presence is a way of being with others that inspires confidence, security, hope and the opportunity to be understood and appreciated. The goal of therapy is to help clients maximize their ability to be empathic and loving toward themselves and others. In contrast, biological psychiatry views people as objects and suppresses their feelings, thus interfering with empathy and the creation of a healing presence.