Empathy as a Model for Recovery
Empathy is a quality that all human beings should have. Having empathy is the gift of identifying and understanding another person’s feelings, motives, and situations without having those same experiences yourself. In order to be empathetic, you need to do what Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird said which is “ You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view [“] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” That is what empathy is about- using your imagination to see the mindset of the other person and for the other person to do the same for you. Being empathetic will establish a good relationship with your loved ones during recovery.
One benefit of empathy is that it will reduce any interpersonal conflicts. Your loved one will feel understood if you give them a reason to feel that way. If you understand a person’s wants or needs, you can also help them. Since your failure to be understanding can lead to suffering and having a negative opinion of people, empathy can cause you to understand them better which will give you a more positive opinion of people. Empathy will make you see everyone as equals so there will be no racism, bigotry, or sexism. You will no longer be self-absorbed anymore.
In order to be empathetic, it is important to listen to what the other person is saying to you without any judgment. It is important to see things from their point of view. While words are important, look at the person’s facial expressions, hand gestures, and their tone of voice. When most are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can tend to be selfish. When on the road to recovery, being selfless and listening to your loved one pour their heart out to you is a step towards improvement. This will show that you have a better understanding of people.
Another way to develop empathy is by not thinking of the next thing to say or be in a rush to tell a story while the other person is talking. Conversations should be two sided where one talks and the other listens and vise versa. Good conversations should not be where you argue politics, beliefs, and opinions. Being able to talk and listen to people again using empathy will strengthen bonds and provide you with support during your recovery.
Castle Craig Hospital is a landmark of addiction and mental health treatment in Scotland, serving the UK, the EU, and patients from all over the world. Our commitment to long term abstinence has created a successful program of clinical and complementary therapies for mind, body, and spirit. Serving over 10,000 patients for more than 25 years, the Castle Craig model is proven in changing lives. Call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line for information: 0808 231 7723. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | October 23, 2017