Sympathy versus Empathy | You Don't Know Until You Ask and Homeopathy Consultation

Moving on up to the ninth floor. Where ever they place you in the hotel, something will be revealed there. Pay attention.
Moving on up to the ninth floor. Where ever they place you in the hotel, something will be revealed there. Pay attention.

Sympathy versus Empathy and You Don't Know Until You Ask

The Role of Empathy In Homeopathy

How many times have you heard the woes of a friend, neighbor or relative who went to the general practitioner and felt unheard? With today's medical system physicians must perform ritual testing and get quick responses, in order to have fast turn-around.

The quick turn-around comes in two flavors. 1) The patient places an order for the doctor to give a quick solution, heal me fast, as if placing an order in a fast food joint. The patient expects to receive a 'chemical medicine' or drug that will take away the pain. 2) On the other side, the doctor also wishes to do the same; to provide relief, to scoot you out of the office so he can get to the next patient, plus, not be delayed and make the patients wait for hours to be seen.

Unfortunately, the concept of pushing pills, not taking a full case history, not hearing out the complaints of the patient or taking a full physical exam leaves both the patient and the physician wanting. The two parties miss the sense of something extraordinary and dynamic between the expert healer and the person in need of healing.

This false assumption that the removal of these symptoms as an indication of 'cure' pushes our medical system further into a dark alley.

The patient walks away unheard, that the supposed healthcare provider does not understand the 'real' person behind the physical symptom. I can say that over the past few years my dentist seems truly interested in 'me' as a human being, as he most calmly sits with a soft intoned voice asking what's new in my life?

The pendulum slowly swings to a different rhythm as the chorus sings, "Homeopathy, that placebo medicine, works because of all the time the clinician spends listening to the patient." This may play a part in the curative effects, since the journey of homeopathic care continues as a growth process throughout a person's life.

Homeopathy addresses the immediate 'acute' conditions that resolve more quickly, while the underlying deeper chronic issues unravel and melt away, relieving the patient of limitations to their thinking, emotional imbalances and boundaries that confine physical action on this planet.

The cold, calculating, sterile approach of typical modern medical care gives way to an empathic and sympathetic ear. Understanding clinical evidence provides numerical statistics that help measure progress, but the true evidence provided by the patients attitude counts just as much, or even more. When the person feels a weight lifted off their shoulders, a smile return after depression, more freedom of movement and better relations after receiving a most appropriate homeopathic remedy, how does one measure this on a chart? Like the priceless Mastercard commercials, homeopaths make it all better because they have been 'trained' to listen, reflect, mirror, understand and assist the growth of the living being. My friend puts it this way, "Sometimes a little warmth goes a long way." However, she warns, "Do not get this mixed up with sympathy.

Imagine the person who falls down a well. What approaches do we have to get her out of this well? She tells us the differences between 'sympathy' and 'empathy' in plain English (even though she is Icelandic.) When you empathize with someone, you reach out to that person, while your feet still remain planted firmly on the ground outside that well. Do you remember that metaphor in the bible with the Pharaoh's daughter, Bithia, 'reached' out to save baby Moses from the Nile river? The rabbi's tell us God lengthened her arm with the ability to retrieve the basket. Thus, the person remains in a place of strength and pulls the person out of the well, as Moses was lifted out of the streaming Nile into the safe house where he would be given every available means of support for his growth into a confident young man.

On the other hand, we can express sympathy as that space when you place your whole self down into that well with the one who fell. How do you both get out from that dark hole?

The wounded healer has experienced some ordeal, gained insight, learned from the account, recovered and now can apply that hard won education in the form of "empathy." This type of previously "wounded healer" shares the knowledge of the patient's energy, connects from the heart center and walks side-by-side "through that valley" to the other side into the light.

We can appreciate the other when we place our feet inside the patient's footprints and then we can find the most appropriate remedy to assist their healing process.

MasterCard Priceless Elephant

The dictionary definition of sympathy includes feelings of pity and sorrow for another's misfortune" And, we even use this root for providing 'sympathy cards' or sympathetic words upon the passing of a life or a drop into a state of illness. Expressed as an understanding and common feeling or even opinions between two or more people. Even the response of people may be 'shared,' as in a sigh or sounds of mourning.

Were you with this elephant? You were both flying now just like Peter Pan when you believe together anything is possible.

If you think about it, the word "homeopathy" also contain the root "pathy" from the Latin root meaning "feeling."

What I learned today on my adventure in Virginia at the National Center for Homeopathy annual conference. I can't begin to tell you about all of the sessions presented by the finest homeopathic physicians on the topics of understanding the levels of the case by Dr George Vithoulkas of Greece and Dr Jeremy Sherr providing care for AIDS patients in Tanzania. From their decades of practice and experience they teach us the insights and conclusions of managing deep seated cases. Conditions we might think hopeless has the potential to turn around when conditions align. I learned how allopathy "chemical drugs," as Dr Vithoulkas says, suppresses symptoms rather than enabling the body-mind-spirit to recover to a state of normalcy.

I learned also from other students. Not afraid to ask a friendly question about the weather, the shuttle or where and what time does dinner begin, I tagged along with two other women from Georgia. We quickly stepped in stride, as we took the shuttle to the waterfront on King's street for a fish dinner. Now I know why those 'round-table' dating services can actually work. Taking the time to listen and learn about each other's work, goals and family life brought all three of us together.

As usual, I pulled out my trusty cellphone to snap photos and document the misty, chilly, and rainy evening. The cloud covered sky turned dark, but the night-life with children huddled around tour guides dotted the brick paved streets of the Old Towne area.

Riding the trolley back to the hotel, my friend made a memorable remark. "You don't know unless you ask." Asking her to repeat that to go into an email reminder, her friend chimed in that applies to everything in life and we went round robin about how we take much from this simple phrase.

Thus, communication, understanding, empathy, care and healing happen when we speak up, ask and learn about our true selves. When we enhance and deepen our relationships we heal each other and our world.

Do you stay aware of Your Part In The Relationship?

When you need to be there in the relationship are you. . .

  • Sympathetic, really getting into the other person's shoes, wallowing in the emotions?
  • Empathetic, listening intently imagining the other's 'suffering' in a state of similar suffering
  • Indifferent, I don't care, hear or feel connected to the other's suffereing
See results without voting

Comments 8 comments

jkudo23 profile image

jkudo23 5 years ago from Carlsbad, California

Great Artice Debby! So an important to understand the difference and value of each!


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 5 years ago Author

Hello my friend. Thank you for posting your lovely comment. Debby


mary 5 years ago

I just love the poetic flow and truth written here Bebby. You have a nice style


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 5 years ago Author

Hello Mary. Very kind of you to comment. (HUGS) Debby


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

Very interesting hub; certainly the way you show the difference between empathy and sympathy is very educational. I think you may want to have your hub title include homeopathy, however, as so much of your hub is about that.


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 5 years ago Author

Dear Phil ~ I will definitely consider rewording my title. Perhaps even use the title tuner! You've been very helpful and friendly. I adore your little fishy avatar. Blessings, Debby


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Hi Debby,

I appreciate the title change as it attracted me to this wonderful content. I thank you for this perspective, as I teach Holistic Nursing/ doing comparisons between medical model and holistic principles.

Voted UP & UABI. Have a good week, mar.


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago Author

Hello Mar ~ Good thing I changed the title. Maybe I need to add "homeopathy" to a number of other hubpages. But, you know I'm going to talk about my passion in most articles! I would like to know if you use some basics in your practice? P.S. I just read your story on CPR classes for family members. What a super gift! That's how I feel about giving a home homeopathy emergency remedy kit. Blessings, Debby

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    Day 7 of 30-Day Challenge

    April 7, 2011 Day 7 of the Hubpages Challenge

    The greatest challenge, the test of endurance, has brought me to the end of a 7-day cycle. The one week mark. It's been a long and winding road, varying up the presentations, even though I tried to keep to a 'system' of sorts. Instead, happenstance brought new ideas, like the FaceBook notification, the unexpected train ride outcome of making a friend, introducing an artist's perspective on life and going within a meditation, we end with a note on communication and relationship building.


    Now, even I, am wondering what the next 7 days will bring. Oh, by the way, did everyone receive that email message about finding new trends to use as topics for Hubpages. Everyone knows the extreme challenge as more people hop on for the ride and gather more steam, means we now compete for the top innovative subject that will come down the web tracks. Shake it up and don't fall off!


    You never know where you will end up or who you will meet on this journey we call life.

    About the Author

    Debby Bruck, CHOM believes that homeopathy is the wave of the future that provides hope and healing to those who have tried every other approach. Follow Debby on Twitter.

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