Empathy and Human Services: a quick discussion
“When we can be aware of our own emotions and those of others, we are really demonstrating our emotional intelligence. I think that most of us in the human service field have empathy…without it I don’t feel the job would be very appropriate for us”
You mentioned that most individuals in the human service field have empathy, and I would have to agree completely. It really takes someone rich in compassion, humility, empathy, and emotional intelligence to work in health care, especially mental health. It is fairly obvious when someone takes on a job in human services and is in it for the wrong reasons, and generally they do not stay there very long (whether that be by choice or by being fired).
I saw this the most when people were asked to help at the last-minute right before a break, lunch time, or at the end of the day, which most would agree that it can be frustrating, putting it mildly. The individuals who are there for the wrong reasons might have attitude about it, or verbally express their displeasure, without taking the patient’s feelings or co-workers feelings into consideration. Those who are there for the right reasons recognize that, although they don’t want to miss a break or get off work late, their patients are still there and likely feeling the same way. As empathic helpers we find joy in serving others, even when it might be uncomfortable or irritating, because we are doing it for them, not us.
When we focus our attention back on the patient we are reminded why we are there in the first place, to love, honor, and encourage those divinely sent to receive our care (even if that’s letting an elderly woman squeeze your cheek because it makes her laugh, or giving a reassuring smile to the woman in line at the grocery store whose kids is having a meltdown).
Many Blessings with Love & Light