Compassion means seeing the difficulty someone else is having and having an authentic desire to make it better.
It’s empathy combined with action. The first step is seeing through someone else’s eyes- what are they seeing? What are they dealing with? Then it’s wanting to help with that.
Compassion = empathy + action
The dictionary definition of compassion is: “to recognize the suffering of others and then take action to help.”
Recognize, take action, help- these are all action words.
These are verbs showing us that compassion is something we DO, not just a state we’d like to be.
It’s not some unclear, pie-in-the-sky ideal of a person.
Compassion is something that we DO.
What does this same definition mean for professionals who support parents and caregivers?
In the same way that a parent can work on taking the perspective of their child, a professional can work on seeing things through the eyes of the parents they support.
Compassionate care is more than a buzzword or an idea. We can operationally define aspects of care, learn from other allied professions and healthcare resources, and begin to utilize training and supervision techniques from our behavior analytic research.
Empathy, compassion, and sympathy are not the same.
- Compassion: when people recognize the struggles within each other and treat each other gently and with lovingkindness as a result.
- Empathy: “the ability to understand what someone is experiencing and to reflect back that understanding.”
- Sympathy: a tool for distancing oneself from the pain of others and is directly opposed to compassion and empathy.
*Definitions based on Rising Strong by Brene Brown
If you are a professional called in to support a family, which one of these are you exhibiting?
If you are a caregiver, which one do you want to see in the professionals you look to for help?
As a behavior analyst, it makes sense that you want to jump in and fix things with the science of behavior. But what if you slowed that down just a bit and took the time to really see things through the eyes of the caregiver you are supporting?
Providers: Take action to add more compassion to your care. Don’t miss the upcoming continuing education event from Parenting with ABA, Empowering Staff: Teaching Compassionate Care in Parent Training. Get 1 supervision CEU!
Save your seat now by clicking here!