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Empathic Responses to Clients’ Feelings in Human Services

Professionals must listen to their clients appropriately so that they can understand their thoughts and feelings with no mistakes. This is a crucial aspect of effective communication, and its value is undeniable. However, being a good listener is not easy. One is to be able to summarize the obtained information and paraphrase. In addition to that, it is important to provide an empathic response, which shows that the professional understands both the content and the feelings (Summers, 2016). Maintaining such communication, one can establish rapport and strengthen helping relationships. Empathy makes clients more willing to trust a person because it ensures that one cares about them and their situation.

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A great advantage of empathic responses is that they can help clients to solve their problems with minimal external assistance. The thing is that they need to speak up and tell someone what has happened and how they feel about it. In many cases, such an approach allows them to get a clearer image of the situation. Being placed in a safe environment and having an opportunity to share with the professional all concerns, clients understand themselves better. In addition to that, of course, they can obtain several possible solutions to their issues from the practitioner.

Reflecting feeling, a professional focus on the emotional constituency of the message. With its help, one conveys their understanding so that clients perceive it and manage their emotions. One can also differentiate multiple meanings of similar messages, which prevents misunderstanding and following complications. In this way, it is much easier to realize the depth of the problem (Evans, Hearn, Uhlemann, & Ivey, 2016).

When using direct emphatic responses, a professional obtains an opportunity to focus on a client and avoid self-expressions that attract attraction to one. In addition to that, they allow clarifying some information without making clients feel the pressure of the necessity to answer a question that they do not like. Even non-verbal emphatic responses can be used to encourage clients to tell more about their issues and make them feel better due to the practitioner’s involvement.

Clients can provide initially confusing messages because they feel uncertain regarding their experiences. Emphatic responses help them to get better understanding without judging. They also allow a professional to express oneself while listening to clients so that they do not become distracted or lose the desire to communicate. Sometimes clients ask themselves whether they are followed and understood. Emphatic responses are also appropriate in such a situation, as they do not make consumers feel offended or neglected.

Emphatic responses ensure multi-cultural sensitiveness and dimension in client-centered therapy. For example, knowing that African Americans may face discrimination in the USA, a professional can presuppose that an issue occurred because of it or/and try to avoid such themes not to ruin relations with clients. Being aware of the cultural and religious background of clients, one can offer those healing practices that are preferred by them. The psychosocial adjustment also matters. Getting to know some information about community resources and services, a professional can assist those clients who feel underprivileged. Knowing the social-familial context, one will understand consumers’ behavior and respond to it correctly.

Thus, empathic responses tend to be very useful in supporting clients. Professionals should resort to them when helping people to ensure that they follow and understand clients’ messages. In addition to that, maintaining multi-cultural sensitiveness, they can ensure that their responses are appropriate for particular populations.

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Evans, D. R., Hearn, M. T., Uhlemann, M. R., & Ivey, A. E. (2016). Essential interviewing: a programmed approach to effective communication. (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Summers, N. (2016). Fundamentals of case management practice: Skills for the human services (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

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