2010
DOI: 10.1177/030857591003400405 View full text |Buy / Rent full text
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Abstract: Empathy is considered in the literature to be crucial to any successful therapeutic engagement. But how to teach, learn and ‘do’ empathy seems much less clear. Susan Gair discusses how, through the use of selected narratives in a classroom-based inquiry, second-year social work students at a regional Australian university were guided to define the concept of empathy and to reflect on their ability to empathise. Findings illuminated some students' compassionate empathy, while many others demonstrated conditiona… Show more

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“…" (p. 13) This example shows how even though the books provide loving motives, they also imply consistent limitations for the birth mother from her own perspective: her limited role as a parent, in spite of being a loving and brave person, as well as inability to provide care and happiness that the child deserves. This further supports stereotypes of inadequacy of even the most loving birth parent, stressing that "good" parenting requires resources beyond love (Edwards & Williams, 2000;Gair, 2010;Miall & March, 2005).…”
Section: Loving Decisionsmentioning
“…Birth mothers report feeling pressured to place because of limited choices, later suffering feelings of loss and grief (Andrews, 2010;Edwards & Williams, 2000;Gair, 2010;Henney et al, 2011). This may be related to public opinions of birth mothers as victims of irresponsible men, either facing single parenthood and financial challenges or choosing relinquishment (Miall & March, 2005).…”
Section: Attitudes and Opinions Of Adoption And Birth Familiesmentioning
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“…These factual vignettes were chosen for their range of explicitness of emotion, the gender and cultural mix of the characters for an Australian practice context, and their links to past and present biases, stigma and stereotypes within contemporary society. In a previous, aforementioned study in 2009, some social work students had identified a lack of empathy for an Aboriginal elder's narrative and an adoption-related (birth mother) vignette, and also identified perceived difficulties giving empathy to perpetrators of abuse (Gair, 2010). Therefore, I was interested to further explore these topics although not necessarily to duplicate that previous study.…”
Section: Methodsmentioning
“…Another using a reflective and phenomenological method explored how social work and welfare students defined and conceptualised empathy. Here, thematic analysis of the student’s explanations described “compassionate empathy, comparable empathy, conditional empathy, and dispassionate empathy” (Gair, 2010: 44). In a later study Gair (2011) recommended that more research was required to better understand empathy and its place in social work.…”
Section: The Historical Emergence Of Empathy In Social Workmentioning