Too emotional?

The myth

Some fear that person-centered practice involves too much emotion. They believe introducing the elements of emotion and empathy into the consultation session can be ineffective, unmanageable, and mentally draining.

The reality

Managed effectively, emotion and empathy can be empowering for both clients and professionals. The person-centered approach allows you to develop trust and loyalty with clients and help lead them to better overall outcomes.

“As we visit our practitioners across the country, we generally see that those dispensers that are intuitively empathetic and have a person-centered care approach are generally the ones with thriving businesses.” 

Did you know?

There is increasing evidence that incorporating empathy into care has led to better clinical outcomes. (Kim, Kaplowitz, and Johnston 2004; Kerse 2004; Girgis and Sanson-Fisher 1998; Girgis and Sanson-Fisher 1995; Hojat et al. 2002; Easter and Beach 2004)

Empathy is critical

Empathy involves acknowledging a person's emotions and feelings as they reveal what is important to them. Understanding their hopes, fears, psychological state, and circumstances is as important as understanding the technical aspects of their hearing loss. Each person shows and receives empathy differently. As a clinician, one does not necessarily need to show outward emotion to be empathetic. By listening and recognizing your client's feelings, you can start to develop a trusting relationship with them. This in turn can lead to better outcomes and a stronger long-term relationship.
“I find person-centered care to be very empowering. I do not find it emotionally draining. Being able to break through the barriers that could potentially obstruct successful outcomes is appropriate for everybody involved.” 

Did you know?

Person-centered care may increase client satisfaction and empowerment, while reducing symptom severity, the use of health care resources, and health care costs. (Little et al. 2001)

Empowering, not draining

Counseling people with hearing loss and showing empathy can be emotionally and physically draining for many hearing care professionals. Showing empathy does not, however, need to lead to professional burnout. Sharing client experiences with colleagues or supervisors on a regular basis can help you cope with the stress related with working closely with clients and families. Incorporating reflection exercises into your daily routine, as offered by the Ida tools, can also help alleviate the potential negative effects of emotionally draining experiences.
“I have a really good administration staff and another audiologist that works with me. Between the three of us, we are good at having a catch up at the end of the day. I think it is important that you discuss certain things with other colleagues to say, ‘Would you do it like this?’ to reassure that you have done it correctly.”
“I believe that sharing with each other, so you know that you are not alone, is enough to prevent a burnout.”

Did you know?

A lack of empathy in care has shown to decrease client satisfaction and increase the risk of malpractice suits. (Frankel 1995; Beckman et al. 1994)