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Empathy and systemic psychotherapy. Theoretical and clinical implications
Author/s: Luigi Onnis 
Year:  2015 Issue: Language: Italian 
Pages:  24 Pg. 60-83 FullText PDF:  141 KB
DOI:  10.3280/PSOB2015-002004
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The Author, after proposing a definition and a brief historical reconstruction of the concept of empathy, takes into account the scientific contribution that draw a great interest about empathy nowadays: those coming from developmental psychology, particularly through the importance of intersubjectivity, and those coming from neurosciences, through the mirror neurons function. It emerges that empathy is a relational construct that involves a shared with an emotional and affective basis (before cognitive) mediated by implicit language, specifically bodily. These relational characteristics of empathy fit perfectly with the systemic-relational psychotherapy which puts the importance of the inter-relationship between its principles and that values its analog languages in their therapeutic work to promote the emotional circulation between therapist and family. A clinical case is described in which the empathic activation among the family members and the therapist is promoted by the use of the analogical method of Family Time Sculptures. In the final part of the paper the risks of an overvaluation of empathy are also discussed, particularly when it is considered as a factor that, by itself, can produce change.
Keywords: Empathy; Intersubjectivity; Mirror Neurons; Systemic Therapy; Implicit Languages; Family Time Sculptures

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Luigi Onnis, Empathy and systemic psychotherapy. Theoretical and clinical implications in "PSICOBIETTIVO" 2/2015, pp. 60-83, DOI:10.3280/PSOB2015-002004


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