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The art of basic empathy in an online social work context
Malmö University, Faculty of Health and Society (HS), Department of Social Work (SA).
2021 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

What is empathy? Can you train and develop your empathy? What are the points of doing so? Can you train empathy in a telephone or online context? The short answer to these questions is yes. I work as a teacher at Malmö University and have since 2015 taught, trained both students and professional social workers as well as psychiatric nurses in empathic listening. This is done by applying a critical (nonmainstream),influential phenomenological analysis of the concept of empathy. This idea of ​​empathy has recently been described as "basic empathy" (Fernandez & Zahavi. 2020). Empathy is often described as a face-to-face phenomena, this raises the question if empathy is possible online, can we speak of “online-empathy” even though its not face to face in a regular sense? 

Well Face-to-face interactions are one of several opportunities for empathy, but not the only one. This has been shown, among other things, with the Covid-19 online transition for empathy training, which has worked much better than expected. One reason for this is that empathic meetings are also possible online, they do not have to take place face to face in a traditional sense, even though it will be different, it is entirely possible. We are able to bracket and accommodate a certain layer within the framework of our inherent ability to change attitudes towards the subject, if a person freezes in the image, we understand that the person did not suddenly become silent and still as an expression of meaning, but then shifts we in our subject attitude. This ability thus makes it possible to train basic empathy and, by extension, also practical online social work.

The practical application of the knowledge FPE (Englander 2014) is not pure and strict as in training, but more like a professionally balanced hybrid between different ways of listening and empathetically responding in the moment with the client. An important aspect that the training adds is an increased awareness of how you as a social worker can attend to the client in different ways, you do not take empathic listening for granted but you can now more consciously choose how to respond and work with the client. The training aims to enable and facilitate the social worker to be genuinely present to the client's experience, important to note is that genuineness and the curious attitude require both concentration and authenticity from the social worker. FPE can serve as an important tool for concentrating on developing in its professional approach, in its practice of the art of social work, both face to face and in an online context.

 

·       Englander, M. (2014) "Empathy training from a phenomenological perspective" Journal of Phenomenological Psychology;1, 5-26

·       Fernandez, A. V. and D. Zahavi. 2020. “Basic Empathy: Developing the Concept of Empathy

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2021.
Keywords [en]
empathy, empathy training, online empathy, online empathy training
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Health and society
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-57791OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-57791DiVA, id: diva2:1730421
Conference
NERA, 3-5 November 2021, University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Odense, Denmark
Available from: 2023-01-24 Created: 2023-01-24 Last updated: 2023-01-26Bibliographically approved

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Boregren, Mikael

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