Skip to main content

The friendly relationship between therapeutic empathy and person-centred care.

Hardman, D. and Howick, J., 2019. The friendly relationship between therapeutic empathy and person-centred care. European Journal for Person Centered Healthcare, 7 (2), 351-357.

Full text available as:

Therapeutic empathy and person-centred care_Accepted Manuscript.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.


DOI: 10.5750/ejpch.v7i2.1689


‘Person-centred care’ and ‘empathy’ are receiving an increasing amount of attention in the healthcare literature. These two concepts are related; however, their relationship has hitherto not been rigorously explored. In this paper we review the differences and commonalities between common definitions of the two concepts. We found that therapeutic empathy requires both interpersonal understanding (achieved via one of several potential means) as well as caring action. We also found that person-centred care could be defined as follows: Person-centred care is therapeutic empathy (interpersonal understanding and caring action) together with continuity, coordination, teamwork, access and empowerment. Conceived this way, therapeutic empathy is included within person-centred care, but not vice-versa. There are three important consequences of our analysis. First, empathy training can provide one of the means by which (part of) person-centred care can be achieved. Second, researchers and practitioners can use our analysis of empathy and person-centred care to collaborate in approaches to both research and training. Third, philosophers, who sometimes take empathy to be a foundational concept in interpersonal understanding, can use our findings to inform their work. Finally, we hope to have provided more clarity not just on the relationship between empathy and person-centred care, but also on the nature of those two individual concepts.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Empathy; integrative care; interpersonal understanding; patient-clinician communication; person-centered healthcare; therapeutic empathy
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:33107
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:03 Dec 2019 12:34
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:18


Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...
Repository Staff Only -