There’s a very common, pop-psychology, new-age misconception that conflates being empathic with being caring and compassionate. But some of the most highly empathic people I’ve ever known have been con artists, grifters, unrepentant thieves, cynically manipulative fearmongering politicians, and heartless predators of every kind.
The human need to not be left alone when we are suffering is very great. During such times our very basic human needs for being valued, seen, heard and cared about arise as we are at our most vulnerable and are dependent on the goodwill of others.
We need to learn to listen and respond in a caring way to the disturbed and disturbing voices within the population—to really engage with them, while also not believing any lies or distortions or letting destructive forces take over.
Professionals across the Western world, from a range of disciplines, earn their livings by offering services to reduce the misery and suffering of the people who seek their help. Do these paid helpers represent a fundamental force for healing, facilitating the recovery journeys of people with mental health problems, or are they a substantial part of the problem by maintaining our modestly effective and often damaging system?
I've previously written about the possible role of compassion focused therapy in helping people relate better to problematic voices, in my posts Could compassionate self talk replace hostile voices?, Feed Your Demons!, and A Paradox: Is Our System for Responding to Threats Itself a Threat? I'm happy to see more interest being taken in this kind of approach, and a video has just become available which, in 5 minutes, very coherently explains how a compassion focused approach can completely transform a person's relationship with their voices and so transform the person's life!