Developing Empathy: A Biopsychosocial Approach to Understanding Compassion for Therapists and Parents, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Developing Empathy

A Biopsychosocial Approach to Understanding Compassion for Therapists and Parents, 1st Edition

By Katharina Manassis


214 pages

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pub: 2017-04-19
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Empathy is valued across cultures, and has a profound impact on psychotherapy, our children, and our world. Why then are many human relationships not empathetic? This volume describes in detail the neurobiological, psychological, and social elements involved with empathy. Ideas are brought to life with case examples and reflective questions which help the reader learn ways to overcome empathetic barriers. The book shows how fear, anger, and anxiety all take away the power to feel for others, while also looking at the topic through a global lens. Developing Empathy is an easy-read book, backed by science, useful to the clinician, and to all readers interested in the topic.


“In this comprehensive and highly readable book, Katharina Manassis offers a compelling examination of empathy and compassion that skillfully integrates science and practice. The clarity, breadth of coverage, case material, and candid self-disclosure makes this a highly readable and compelling resource that will appeal to a broad audience including parents, clinical professionals, and advanced trainees.”—Arlene Young, PhD, C.Psych., associate professor of psychology, director of clinical training, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario

“Dr. Manassis has provided an eloquent must read book on Empathy for all Psychiatrists and Mental Health Professionals. It is a brilliant, lucid, and practical look at Empathy using a bio-psychosocial lens replete with many clinical case descriptions as well as a courageous self disclosure into the author’s personal life. There are 12 valuable chapters, each complemented with a collection of key references and exercises for the serious student to enjoy.”—T.C.R. Wilkes, B.Sc., M.B., ChB., M. Phil., D.C.H., F.R.C.P. (Edin), F.R.C. Psych., F.R.C.P.(C), F.A.P.A., I.A.A.P., associate professor, University of Calgary; division head, Child and Adolescent Mental Health & Addictions; outpatient section chief, child and adolescent psychiatry consulting psychiatrist, Young Adult Outpatient Services, Alberta Health Services & University of Calgary

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures Preface Acknowledgments About the Author I: Understanding Empathy 1. Perspectives on Empathy: Why is an Obvious Virtue so Elusive? 2. Nature and Nurture: The Developmental Basis of Empathy 3. Social Influences: Encouraging Empathy versus Competition II: Nurturing Empathy 4. Physical Aspects: Why Empathy Requires a Healthy Body as well as a Healthy Mind 5. Mental Aspects: Emotional Distress and Not Looking Out for Number One 6. Taming the Fight or Flight Response 7. Relationships and Empathy: Treating the Other Person as a “Thou” 8. Beliefs and Ideals that Motivate Attention to Others’ Well-Being III: Developing Empathy: Why Bother? 9. Implications for Therapists 10. Implications for Parents 11. Implications for Leaders & Organizations 12. Implications for Everyone

About the Author

Katharina Manassis, MD, founded and led a program in anxiety disorders at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. She has published over 90 papers in professional journals regarding childhood anxiety disorders and has written six related books for parents and professionals, including Keys to Parenting Your Anxious Child and Case Formulation with Children and Adolescents. She has her own private practice and is a professor emerita in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health