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PEP-Web Tip of the Day

The Information icon (an i in a circle) will give you valuable information about PEP Web data and features. You can find it besides a PEP Web feature and the author’s name in every journal article. Simply move the mouse pointer over the icon and click on it for the information to appear.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Mordecai, E.M. (1991). A Classification of Empathic Failures for Psychotherapists and Supervisors. Psychoanal. Psychol., 8(3):251-262.

(1991). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 8(3):251-262

A Classification of Empathic Failures for Psychotherapists and Supervisors

Edna M. Mordecai, Ph.D.

Empathic failure is a normal characteristic of all human relationships. In psychotherapy and the supervision of psychotherapy, empathic failures can have a negative effect; however, with appropriate management, these failures can represent an important opportunity for a therapeutic experience. Due to a variety of factors embedded in the transference/countertransference ambience of therapy, empathic failures are often obscured and neglected by therapists and supervisors. This article proposes a classification for six types of empathic failures according to their sources. It suggests the range of failures within each type, and specifies the obscuring factors, the common errors in response, and the possible interventions for each type of empathic failure.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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