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October 1964

Empathy: Its Nature and Uses.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;11(4):457-458. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720280103017

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Dr. Robert Katz is to be commended for his courage in undertaking to deal with so elusive a concept as empathy, attempting to translate it into practical application. Though it be a valient attempt, the quality of empathy escapes explicitness. At times the idea is lucidly explained, and these passages have value, but then the author muddles it up with additional statements that confuse the presentation.

Adhering to Theodor Reik's four phases in the empathic process, Dr. Katz adequately presents what takes place. We identify empathically, he writes, when "our entire consciousness is projected into another person so the feelings that inhere in others act upon us." Not content with this statement, he elaborates that identification, which is the first phase, is an indulgence in fantasy which makes the empathizer lose his self-awareness. This, he maintains, is essential if one is to become engaged in an experience of another.

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