Reflect and Validate Feelings

In order to exhibit empathy, it is helpful to patients to let them know:

  • That their feelings are heard

  • That their reactions to a situation are normal

  • That those feelings are common to other people in similar situations

You can communicate that you care about their feelings but since everyone has different ways to define each emotion, it is best not to “label” feelings (particular feelings like anger or anxiety), because your impression and definition of those emotions may be different  than theirs, and it can damage rapport.

It is best to be empathetic in a more general way.


  • “I can see that was really concerning to you!”

  • “It seems like that was hard to deal with!”

  • “Wow, anyone would find that difficult to manage.”

Los Angeles, CA
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