Lesson 1

Defining Empathy Course

Design Notes:

  • Edwin, I want to keep working on defining empathy. That is iterating on the definition to make to clearer. Also, empathy for practical uses, how you can use it in a practical way in your life.

Google Forms:

  • Application

  • Session Feedback

  • Course Evaluation

Course Objectives

Lesson 1


    • Welcome everyone to our 6 week course on defining empathy

    • We are Edwin, Shannon, Violeta. [Each introduces themselves.]

      1. Background?

      2. Why are we interested in defining empathy?

Participants - Why are you interested in defining empathy?

  • Take 1 minute to share Name, Location and why interested in the course and defining empathy?

Review the Course Objectives

Review the Arch of the Course

  • In Session 1: Introduction

    • We give a definition of empathy

    • We will use the Empathy Circle and identity empathy in the circle

  • In Session 2: We expand on the definition.

    • Self-Empathy, Imaginative Empathy, Relational Empathy, etc.

  • In Session 3: Blocks to Empathy

    • To understand empathy better, we will explore what empathy is not.

  • In Session 4: More Blocks to Empathy

    • We continue to explore what empathy is not.

  • In Session 5: Evaluating How People Use the Concept

    • We will evaluate how other people are using the term.

  • In Session 6: Deeper Evaluating How People Use the Concept

    • We will evaluate how other people are using the term.

    • Close

Introduction (perhaps a slideshow)

    1. This course is part of an Empathy Movement that has the goal of raising the level of empathy in our own lives and in society. We call it a culture of empathy. Some core values are mutual empathy, openness, listening and care.

    2. To grow the movement it is important to have clear definitions about what we are talking about

    3. There is a lot of confusion about what is meant by empathy.

    4. So we will take a deep dive

    5. We will be giving a definition and a way of understanding empathy,

    6. This course is unique in that we will use the Empathy Circle practice as the context to define empathy. We will also use the empathy circle to discuss and explore

Empathy Circle - Exercises

      1. Empathic listening - what does it feel like?

      2. Empathy Circle to discuss what we learned

Full Group Debrief


  1. Session Feedback form and Evaluation

  2. Empathy Buddy Call

  3. Reading assignments.

  4. etc.