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Cognitive Vs Emotional Empathy

There are two different components to empathy that enable us to relate to and respect the experiences and views of others.

Cognitive Empathy: 

This form of empathy involves understanding and comprehending the thoughts, feelings, and viewpoints of others on an intellectual level. It allows individuals to mentally put themselves in someone else’s situation, considering their emotions and beliefs. 

Emotional Empathy: 

Also known as affective empathy or empathic concern. This involves sharing the emotions of others. When you experience emotional empathy you are actually feeling and experiencing the emotions that another person is feeling.

Read this article to understand the difference in more detail.


Next time you are having a conversation with someone who is struggling and needs to be met with empathy, notice..

  • Do you feel what they are feeling?
  • Are you able to  mentally put yourself in their situation?
  • Which type of empathy feels more natural to you? Take note of this, it will be important when we cover reacting to crossed boundaries in Topic 3

Learn more about how boundaries are particularly essential for those of us prone to emotional empathy by watching the below video.