The Measurement of Empathy and Its Efficacy in Psychotherapy

2014-07-24 14:18:46 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of the research is to: 1) to test whether psychotherapy including immediate feedback of empathy data is more efficacious than therapy without such an exchange of data, 2) to measure the degree of accuracy of therapist's empathy and its relationship to the patient's estimate of the therapist's empathy.


Objective: To develop and evaluate a feedback method for measuring and increasing therapists' empathic accuracy and reducing empathic errors in psychotherapy. Method: Sixteen (16) patient-therapist pairs were randomly assigned to intervention and control groups. All patients rated their own functioning using the GAF (Global Assessment of Functioning) and predicted the accuracy with which their therapists would estimate their ratings. Therapists rated the patient's GAF, predicted the patients' ratings of their own GAFs, and rated their confidence in their own predictions. In the intervention condition, therapist and patients discussed the previous session's ratings for a few minutes of the therapy session. Results: Intervention therapists showed greater empathic accuracy relative to controls on our empathy measure (t(14) = 2.69, p < .01) and increased empathy over time on the Barrett-Lenard Empathy subscale (t(32) = 3.21, p < .01). We also found significant effects on errors related to perceived accuracy of therapist empathy. Patients in the control group were found to perceive their therapists to be either more or less accurate than was actually the case (over/under-idealization), but such biases were not as strong in the intervention group. Similarly, therapists in the control group were likely to over-estimate their own accuracy (over-confidence) to a greater extent than intervention therapists. Affective responses to the instrument were positive overall and did not differ by condition. Conclusion: Empathy feedback and feedback concerning degrees of patient idealization and therapist confidence may be effective in improving functioning as well as in increasing empathic accuracy in psychotherapy.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Placebo Control, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Single Blind (Subject), Primary Purpose: Treatment


Psychotherapeutic Processes


Empathy Feedback


University of Illinois at Chicago
United States




University of Illinois

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-07-24T14:18:46-0400

Clinical Trials [400 Associated Clinical Trials listed on BioPortfolio]

Feedback and Psychotherapeutic Competencies

The purpose of the current study is to examine the influence of feedback on psychotherapeutic competency. The present randomized controlled study compares a feedback condition with a non-f...

Impact of a Relation Training on Empathy of Medical Student

Empathy is an important skill to learn for medical student. However, learning empathy remain difficult. The investigators aim was to assess the efficacy of a specific training, Balint like...

Meditation and Student Empathy

Physician empathy and reducing stress are major factors in attaining positive clinical outcomes for patients. Fostering empathy in medical students is particularly important as they are th...

Effects of rTMS on Impulsivity and Empathy

Impulsivity describes the tendency to make risky and unplanned decisions, to pick immediate reward over a bigger reward after a period of time or to not be able to resist the urge to do so...

Evaluation of a Psychotherapeutic Intervention Model in Nursing

This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a psychotherapeutic intervention model in nursing for the nursing diagnosis "Anxiety". A pilot randomised controlled trial will be carried ...

PubMed Articles [5972 Associated PubMed Articles listed on BioPortfolio]

Empathy is not in our genes.

In academic and public life empathy is seen as a fundamental force of morality - a psychological phenomenon, rooted in biology, with profound effects in law, policy, and international relations. But t...

The influence of trait empathy on reactive aggression: An ERP study.

This study mainly investigated the electrophysiological mechanism underlying the effect of trait empathy on reactive aggression using event-related potentials (ERPs). Firstly, we computed the correlat...

Empathy is not empathy is not empathy in the management of chronic pain.

Physicians' self-assessed empathy levels do not correlate with patients' assessments.

Empathy is a fundamental humanistic component of patient care which facilitates efficient and patient-centered clinical encounters. Despite being the principal recipient of physician empathy little wo...

Empathy and altruistic behavior in antisocial violent offenders with psychopathic traits.

Deficiencies in empathic functioning are considered a core characteristic of violent behavior. Enhancing empathy in aggressive populations may thus represent a promising intervention target. Hence, th...

Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A mechanism of communication with a physiological system for homeostasis, adaptation, etc. Physiological feedback is mediated through extensive feedback mechanisms that use physiological cues as feedback loop signals to control other systems.

Experiential, attitudinal, emotional, or behavioral phenomena occurring during the course of treatment. They apply to the patient or therapist (i.e., nurse, doctor, etc.) individually or to their interaction. (American Psychological Association: Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms, 1994)

An individual's objective and insightful awareness of the feelings and behavior of another person. It should be distinguished from sympathy, which is usually nonobjective and noncritical. It includes caring, which is the demonstration of an awareness of and a concern for the good of others. (From Bioethics Thesaurus, 1992)

Psychotherapeutic technique which emphasizes socioenvironmental and interpersonal influences in the resocialization and rehabilitation of the patient. The setting is usually a hospital unit or ward in which professional and nonprofessional staff interact with the patients.

Method of psychotherapeutic treatment based on assumption of patients' personal responsibility for their own behavior. The therapist actively guides patients to accurate self-perception for fulfillment of needs of self-worth and respect for others. (From APA, Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms, 8th ed.)

More From BioPortfolio on "The Measurement of Empathy and Its Efficacy in Psychotherapy"

Quick Search


Searches Linking to this Trial