What is empathic engagement and why is it important?
Empathy is the ability to perceive the meaning and feelings of another person and to be able to communicate these to that person. Empathy is a core aspect of building relationships and positive client interaction. When care workers engage empathically with clients, clients feel empowered, service uptake is improved and clients are more likely to adhere to recommended interventions and treatment regimens. There are also benefits for the care workers who report less burnout and enhanced work satisfaction.
Studies have shown that empathic engagement does not necessarily take up more time, is not emotionally exhausting like being sympathetic, and does not overburden the care worker, as the client maintains responsibility for their own problems. In addition, this type of communication can actually save time, effort and expense as the relevant client issues are more quickly identified resulting in early and more effective management.
Building up to empathic skills: learning about maternal mental health
Stigma, related to a lack of understanding and negative stereotyping of those with mental illness, is a significant factor in communities and among care workers. We attempt to reduce this stigma through the provision of background information about maternal mental illness and related medical and social problems. We encourage participants to work in small groups, engage with, discuss and apply our training material in a way which is relevant to their unique situations and work environment.
We noted a gap between the perceived ability and actual ability of workshop participants to engage empathically. Most participants struggle to “listen” and accept the client’s perspective without judgment. Instead, they very quickly assume they understand the problem and revert to “telling” and “fixing” based on their own perspective and experience.
Read more on how to develop a meaningful training, how to support trainers and how to evaluate the training process in our Learning Brief
New podcast series focuses on mental health aspects of becoming pregnant, being pregnant and early parenthood.
In this podcasts Dr Kat is telling real stories from moms and family members who made it from struggling to wellness. She also interviews experts and advocates who work for moms and families to get the help they need.
One of these experts and mom who made it from struggling to wellness is the amazing Dr Wendy Davis. She shares her story about being a specialist and not realising she was suffering from postpartum depression.
“It’s like being in the middle of an earthquake and being a geo physicist, who studies earthquakes, and not knowing it’s an earthquake. That would be terrifying.”
Download past episodes or subscribe to future episodes of Mom & Mind Podcast for free on iTunes: Mom & Mind Podcast With Dr. Kat
If you haven’t booked your space at our interactive training workshop
for NGO staff
on maternal mental health and empathic engagement skills
than do so today. Spaces are limited!
• Date: Wednesday, 12 November
• Venue: Room 7, Building B, 46 Sawkins Road, Rondebosch
• Time: 8.30AM to 1:00 pm
The workshop will cover:
– common mental disorder in pregnant women and new mothers
– risk factors and outcomes of mental illness
– barriers to empathic engagement and
– empathic engagement skills
Contact Songelwa Mobo (firstname.lastname@example.org)
You can also download or forward the invitation as PDF here