TAP 158 - Diane Meriwether on The Difference Between Compassion And Empathy


In this episode I talk to Diane Meriwether about sitting with those that are suffering.  We spend quite a bit of time getting into the difference between compassion and empathy.

Diane Meriwether is a published author, counselor and workshop facilitator. She has spent 3 decades studying healing techniques including transformational bodywork, holotropic breathing, family constellation work, shamanic journeying and voice dialog therapy. Diane left a Midwestern university in the 1980s where she was studying biology to travel in Polynesia for 10 years. 

In addition to facilitating workshops, Diane currently practices listening with court-mandated clients. She is fascinated by the transformational power of the poetic imagination and by the healing impulse of storytelling and art. 



In this particular episode you will learn:

- What is fresh courage?

- What is the difference between empathy and compassion

Compassion is made up of:

- The willingness to be aware of what's going on and that what's going on includes suffering

- A desire to relieve it

Empathy is made up of:

- Matching your emotions to someone else's

- Imaging how you would respond in someone else's circumstances

Empathy has 5 problems:

1) Occurs on a continuum from contempt to pity

2) Places attention on the listener

3) Creates vicarious trauma

4) Leads to attempts to lead or control

5) Focuses on the story rather than capacity

Skills for compassion

- Spaciousness

- Honouring

- Humility

- Reflection

- Resonance 

- "Do not be gooder than you are" 

- How we can deal with toxic people