Almost daily I teach skills in empathy to my clients in either our anger management classes or in one/one anger management coaching sessions. Empathy is the ability to see another person's viewpoint from both a content standpoint and an emotional standpoint. Most people can understand the "content", but lack the abilitiy to fully understand how the other person is experiencing them or the situation from an emotional standpoint. This lack of understanding is part of what creates problems and often situations escalate as a result.
So, what can you do to increase skills in empathy? The first thing to understand is the empathy is a skill. You can improve it simply by understanding it and practicing it. Second, empathy is part of a larger umbrella to our overall ability to connect with others. My clients often want to improve communication skills first while not realizing that empathy and communication are interwoven together. One can not be an effective communicator without the ability to empathize with his/her audience. To have empathy, one must be able to identify the emotional experience of the other, to feel the others feeling and relate to that person in a way that lets them know they are connected and understood. Not just from the content, but the emotions they are experiencing. These skills can be learned in either an anger management class, anger management coaching or a well established online anger management course
While it may take time to develop empathy, it can be one of the most rewarding skills to develop. Persons with high levels of empathy tend to have closer and more intimate relationships, are sought after for support and leadership, and experience less stress.
Ari Novick, Ph.D.
AJ Novick Group - Anger Management