Expressions of empathy are the “secret sauce” that ensure caregiving encounters are healing and not harmful. They are essential for building connection and trust, and especially so for interactions with people who have suffered trauma. Empathy is universally accessible, free, an effective treatment by itself in many situations—and it has no side effects!
View video: The Empathy Effect
While we all may feel empathy, we may not always express it. This is where skills come in. Anyone can master skills for reframing challenging encounters and expressing empathy. The research literature is clear: empathic skills can be taught and learned and measured. Further, the benefits for empathic communication are far-reaching, contributing to more satisfying interactions for patients and providers, improved adherence, lower malpractice risk and better clinician engagement.
The nonprofit Institute for Healthcare Communication, based in New Haven, Connecticut, has been creating experiential skills development programs since 1987. Our newest course, The Empathy Effect: Countering Bias to Improve Health Outcomes, is now available as a full-day Workshop-PLUS program, with an AM workshop (introducing key concepts and practicing counter-cues to judgment) and a PM of skills practice (using trained simulated patients for contextually-relevant cases and balanced feedback). Visit us online for further information and a program application: EMPATHY EFFECT WORKSHOP-PLUS.