The Role of Empathy in Brief Therapy

The Overlooked but Vital Context

11 Jan 1999

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  • English


Brief therapy is widely perceived to be a very technique oriented and outcome focused endeavour, with limited interest in the fluidity of the relationship between the therapist and client.  This perception exists despite the absolute priority brief therapy has always placed on building a cooperative relationship between therapist and client.  Certainly the brief therapy tradition has almost completely avoided talking about ‘empathy’ and the emotional realm, almost as if it is inappropriate for a brief therapist to discuss them.


This paper suggest firstly that brief therapy is enhanced, rather than diminished, by engaging with both empathy and affect, and, secondly, that the conception and practice of empathy can itself be enhanced by the rich tradition of skills and experience that brief therapy offers. Case material is used throughout this paper to illustrate the authors’ views.


Last updated Monday, 11 January 2021 9:04:38 PM