Listen to and watch the talker:
a. Hear the talker's words and tone of voice, but, also, observe
his/her facial expression and other non-verbal messages. Read
"between the lines" for subtle suggestions of feelings (Fast &
b. Remember any hints about possible causes of the talker's
feelings, e.g. a talker might comment that his father was
reluctant to play father-son softball with him when he was 12
or 13 because he was such a poor player. This information may
be helpful when discussing the talker's lack of confidence.
Listen to your own gut reactions:
a. Place yourself mentally in the talker's situation; then imagine
what you would do and notice how you are feeling. This is one
of the most powerful techniques for generating "intuition" about
the talker's emotions.
b. If you have had experiences similar to the talker's, then you
can recall and mentally re-create the feelings you had. It is
reasonable to assume that the talker may be feeling the same
way you did in the same situation.
Make use of your memory:
a. You have a general notion about how persons similar to the
talker would respond in certain circumstances. This
accumulated wisdom grows as you study psychology, especially
case studies, and have more life experience, if you store the
b. You may have known others who have had the same
problem as the talker. If so, remember how they acted and felt.
This may suggest what the talker is experiencing.
Make use of all three sources of insight.
STEP FOUR: Practice giving empathy responses in real-life
Life is filled with opportunities to be empathic. Try it with all your
friends, with new acquaintances, with your lover, with co-workers and
supervisors, and it will absolutely flabbergast your parents. Also, don't