Friday, October 14, 2022

Differentiating receptive empathy vs expressive empathy in ASD

I commonly see folks diagnosed with ASD.

They or their families often describe their struggles in the social domain and possibly their lack of empathy.  So I usually spend some time listening and acknowledged their experiences.  

Through their stories, they actually may have lots of “receptive empathy”.  In actual fact, some can sense other people’s feelings intensely but because of the intense discomfort, they cope by detaching from it or avoid experiencing it.  This is experiential avoidance.  

So from the outside, there’s less “expressive empathy” but deep inside, there’s lots of “receptive empathy”.  

That’s an important differentiation to make isn’t it?

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