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Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 1994 May 10;114(12):1421-3.

[Empathy in theory and practice].

[Article in Norwegian]

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Avdeling for forskning og videregående studier, Norges kommunal- og sosialhøgskole, Oslo.


Empathy is an important part of a doctor's repertoire in his or her professional work with patients. It is also an element of a person's ability to understand other persons. Empathic capacity is developed in early childhood, but is based on biological mechanisms. Emotions communicate important sides of people's psychological state. To understand emotional communication, the helper himself must have a certain degree of empathic capacity. Patients treated by empathic doctors are more satisfied with the treatment and are more likely to follow the doctor's advice than patients treated by less empathic doctors. Higher levels of empathic communication with patients can be learned through participating in specific educational programmes.

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