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The empathy cycle: Refinement of a nuclear concept

Barrett-Lennard, G.T. (1981) The empathy cycle: Refinement of a nuclear concept. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 28 (2). pp. 91-100.

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Delineates a sequence of distinct stages involved in empathic interaction and describes conditions that initiate this sequence, which has 3 main interior phases: (Phase 1) empathic resonation by Person A in response to B (who is personally expressive in some way), (Phase 2) A's attempt to convey responsive understanding to B, and (Phase 3) B's actual reception/awareness of A's communication. When the process continues, Phase 1 is again the core feature, and 2 and 3 follow in cyclical mode. There is room for considerable slippage between the inner resonation, communication, and reception levels, and measures based on data from different phases would at best be moderately associated. Principal existing (state) scales are located in reference to the model, and illustrative results take on new meaning not involving contradiction.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Copyright: © 1981 APA
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