Empathy Circles

We are currently in the process of finishing up our first book on the Empathy Circles. Stay tuned for a hands on introduction!

Empathy Circles: Building a Culture of Empathy

In 2012 I joined forces with Edwin Rutsch of the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy and Compassion. Edwin is building an Empathy Movement and together we have developed Empathy Circles as a hands-on instrument in building a culture of empathy. Most raw materials are available through this site.

In the circles we go through different stages of empathy: Self-empathy, mirrored (emotional) empathy, reflective empathy, imaginative (perspective taking) empathy and empathic arising. We are currently developing a handbook as well as a facilitator's guide for the circles. We facilitate several circles every week. You are welcome to join and try it out with us! Just contact us through the movement area or by mail.
I have presented some of the science underlying the Empathy Circles in London at the 'Empathy and Compassion in Society Conference'. This presentation is available through slideshare.

Another presentation of the stages and thoughts behind these circles on Prezi.

What is unique to the Empathy Circles

  • Combining Evidence and Practice: all parts of the circle are based in science and practice. We combine science from many different disciplines such as psychology, neuroscience, biology, philosophy and arts.
  • Intention: the origin of our actions is always an intention. The circles have the intention of raising the global level of empathy by creating a culture of empathy, and creating a space for people to practice empathy to the best of their abilities.
  • The process is build on- and uses different stages of empathy; The empathic means: self-empathy, mirrored empathy, reflective empathy, imaginative empathy and empathic arising.
  • We diminish the need to divide ourselves according to beliefs. Stop labeling, start exploring the breadth and depth of human experience through empathic open-mindedness.

The visual impressions of our Empathy Circles were made live during on of our circles by Nancy Margulies

Empathy Circles: a Blended Empathy Practice. by Niezink, L.W. Creative Commons Licence& Rutsch, E. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.  You don't need our permission to copy, share, publish, archive, use, or alter Empathy Circles: a Blended Empathy Practice. Conventional wisdom urges us to demand payment for every use of the instrument, but then how would people without money get to practice empathy? How widely would the practice be disseminated if it were limited by permission and fees? How would we be able to offer people a hands-on way to walk the talk and build a culture of empathy? Control offers a false sense of security. The only real security we have is trusting you, trusting culture, and trusting freedom. Just like everyone else, we do need to find ways to support ourselves. If you think our work important enough and you would like to support us in making more by offering a donation of any kind, feel free to contact us to let us know. Enjoy and reference our work please!

You may reference this work:

Niezink, L.W. & Rutsch, E. (2014). Empathy Circles: a Blended Empathy Practice. www.lidewijniezink.com/projects & www.cultureofempathy.com/Projects/Empathy-Movement.