[Skip to Navigation]
January 1976

Empathy: We Know What We Mean, But What Do We Measure?

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976;33(1):35-38. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1976.01770010021003

• In recent years, quantitative researches on the empathic process in psychotherapy have resulted in definite recommendations for the technique of psychotherapy and the training of psychotherapists. What is not always observed, however, is that the methods employed for studying empathy have been based on brief segments of patient-therapist interaction in which judgments of empathy do not depend on hearing the patient's communications, and are in several ways discordant with what is meant by empathy according to clinical theory. Evidence suggests that it is the rater's impression of the "goodness of psychotherapy" rather than empathy that is being captured by these methods.

Add or change institution