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The Art of Helping by Robert R. Carkhuff

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Responding to Feeling

Just as we showed our empathy for the helpees by responding to the content of their expressions, we may show our understanding of their experiences by responding to the feelings that they express. Indeed, responding to content prepares us to respond to the feelings of the helpees’ expressions. Responding to feelings is the most critical single skill in helping because it reflects the helpees’ affective experience of themselves in relation to their worlds.

Helpees may express verbally and directly those feelings that dominate them, or the helpees may express their feelings indirectly, through their tone of voice or by describing the situation in which they find themselves.

Whether the helpees’ expressions are direct or indirect, ...

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