Learning to portray empathy
Helen Moriarty, Faculty of Medicine, University of Otago
The video clips shown in this resource portray health professional students who are learning the skills of Motivational Interviewing and Brief Intervention. The video clips selected for this resource demonstrate good-practice examples of counselling techniques that can help to portray empathy within the interaction. They can be downloaded and used as a teaching resource. These clips are used with the full consent of the students. One student gave permission only for anonymous use and accordingly both voice pitch alteration and face pixilation have been used to protect the identity of that student.
Motivational Interviewing and Brief Intervention are very condensed counselling skills. These skills are therefore useful in many settings to quickly assess a client’s interest in making changes and his/her level of motivation to do so and also to give him/her some tools to start to make changes. Motivational Interviewing and Brief Intervention should take less than 5 minutes. Therefore rapport must be established quickly if these interactions are to be successful, and the development of empathy can be observed as part of that developing rapport.
The video clips show examples of the key areas of the counselling interaction where portraying empathy is especially important: Non-verbal Communication, Open Questions, Clarification Probing, Assessment, Coping Strategy, Reflection, Reinforcement, Re-statement, Next Appointment and Specific Advice (in this case Drinking Guidelines)
The video clips are accompanied by a transcript of the verbal interaction and a brief explanation. These demonstrate that empathy is established not just by facial expression and body language but also by what is said and how it is said, and by the delivery within the interaction of all of these aspects. The transcripts show what is said and how (with pauses, repetition, hesitancy etc). In these transcripts the trainee health professional is identified as TI and the client as PT.
This work is published under the Creative Commons 3.0 New Zealand Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence (BY-NC-SA). Under this licence you are free to copy, distribute, display and perform the work as well as to remix, tweak, and build upon this work noncommercially, as long as you credit the author/s and license your new creations under the identical terms.