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ERIC Number: EJ926088
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Apr
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0037-8046
Importance of Empathy for Social Work Practice: Integrating New Science
Gerdes, Karen E.; Segal, Elizabeth
Social Work, v56 n2 p141-148 Apr 2011
Empathy is more important than ever to a national population worried about difficult political and socioeconomic situations. During the last 10 years, an enormous amount of research has been carried out to elucidate the nature, mechanism, and function of empathy. New research from social-cognitive neuroscience and related fields indicates that, like language or eye-hand coordination, empathy is an innate human capability that can be greatly enhanced by purposeful and informed guidance. Empathy is particularly important to social work practice. Clients experiencing empathy through treatment have improved outcomes. Empathic social work practitioners are more effective and can balance their roles better. Social work practitioners can and should learn about emerging research on empathy and use that information to better serve their client populations. This article, emphasizing research of the past decade, focuses on empathy and its benefits as an asset to social work practitioners.
National Association of Social Workers (NASW). 750 First Street NE Suite 700, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-227-3590; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A