Empathy has long been recognized as a key element of the healing professions. Yet it is not always clear how to define the concept, how to measure it, whether there are effective methods to enhance empathy , or whether empathy really helps make treatment more effective. Drawing on evolutionary research, neurological findings, developmental and psychodynamic perspectives, and systems theory, Empathy in Patient Care explains why this human quality is essential to positive health outcomes—and how it can be measured and how professionals can benefit from its enhancement.
Dr. Hojat proceeds from theoretical constructs of empathy as a core ingredient of human relationships to analyze the nuanced roles it plays in the therapeutic dyad. Twelve insightful chapters define empathy as it develops during the crucial early months of life, relate it to specific biopsychosocial aspects of health, and place empathy firmly in the context of patient care:
-Findings linking higher levels of clinician empathy to a more accurate diagnosis, more positive treatment outcomes, and better patient compliance
-The World Health Organization’s definition of health linked to empathy in patient care
-Descriptions of effective science-based empathy-building programs
-Salient discussion of empathy-related gender and career choice issues as reflected in clinicians’ practice styles
-Training issues, from obstacles to empathy in medical school to whether empathy should be considered in admissions decisions
-An in-depth grounding in the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy, complete with specific versions of this measure for practitioners, students, and patients.
Written with great professional and personal vision, Empathy in Patient Care opens its readers—physicians and nurses, psychologists, therapists and social workers, students and the faculty who work with them—to emerging, creative uses for this most basic human attribute.
"This book is unique in combining an encyclopedic overview of empathy with a fine-grained, precise way of measuring it. Clinicians, researchers, students, and educators will find in this book both a resource for work already done and a blueprint for what still needs to be done."
Herbert Adler, M.D., Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Jefferson Medical College.
Empathy in Human Relationships.- Definitions and Conceptualization.- Human Connection in Health and Illness.- An Evolutionary Perspective, Psycho-Socio-Physiology, Neuroanatomy, and Heritability.- Psychodynamics and Development.- Measurement of Empathy in the General Population.- Empathy in Patient Care.- A Definition and Key Features of Empathy in Patient Care.- The Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy.- The Interpersonal Dynamics in Clinician–Patient Relationships.- Empathy as Related to Sex, Personal Qualities, Clinical Competence, and Career Choice.- Patient Outcomes.- Enhancement of Empathy.- Parting Thoughts: A Paradigm of Empathy and Future Directions.