Empathic Communication ... what is it?


Let’s learn the meaning and how this particular type of communication works

Meaning of the word “Empathic Communication”

The term “Empathic Communication” refers to a particular type of Communication, based on Empathy, a word that derives from the Greek “En” (inside) and “Pathos” (deep feeling) and which means “being in a deep feeling or feeling inside” as if they were taking on the role of our interlocutor. Empathic Communication therefore relates to the particular ability to see things through the other, trying to understand what are his thoughts and emotions.

The creator of Empathic Communication

Empathic Communication (also called “Collaborative Communication” or “Non Violent” or even with the synonym of “Giraffe Language”) was invented in 1960 by the American psychologist Marshall Rosenberg. In fact, he liked to affirm that “every conflict is the tragic expression of an unsatisfied need” and therefore he had tried in the course of his life to build a “model”, which was capable of avoiding the misunderstandings that derived from an approximate communication, managing to create, thanks to the use of appropriate verbal constructions, “Win-Win” contexts, that is, situations that would create a climate of mutual satisfaction, without displeasing anyone.

Marshall Rosenberg had renamed Empathic Communication with the name of “Giraffe Language” to refer to the terrestrial mammal with the largest heart (empathy) and the longest neck (distance vision) and which is opposed to the “Jackal” Language, tense instead to criticize, argue or create conflict with others.

The Outline of the Model of Empathic Communication

The Scheme in which Empathic Communication is articulated is based on 4 Elements:

  1. Observations: the things I observe, see, hear, imagine (objectively and without judgment)
  2. Feelings: how I feel about these things (or what are my feelings and my state of mind)
  3. Needs: what I need to present to the other as my need (communicating it with extreme clarity)
  4. Requests: the concrete actions that I would like the other to take to meet my requests.

As an example, a sentence constructed according to the scheme of Empathic Communication could be the following: “When I see you coming late to our meetings, I feel annoyed because I need you to be on time so that I can do my job well, and therefore I would like you to arrive on time next time”.