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Are There Two Kinds Of Empathy?

Pat Love Talks About Brain Science, Empathy, and Gender


Here’s a game changer!

Pat Love explains the “other” empathic system: TPJ, the temporoparietal junction. Recognized by brain science researchers, it links emotional response with action. Guess which gender relies primarily on TPJ?

I think you’ll find this information interesting and clinically useful right away. It may even change the way you look at “empathetic response” forever.

Share your own thoughts and experiences with us, please!

Pat Love is a distinguished professor, relationship consultant, marriage and family therapist, and the author of Hot Monogamy and The Truth About Love. She is also the lead-off presenter in the relaunch of Men and Intimacy: Overcoming “Commitment Phobia,” a 6-session series filled with proven clinical approaches for working successfully with the men and couples in your practice.

It’s available starting November 29th. Click here for all the details.

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9 Responses to Are There Two Kinds Of Empathy?

  1. Jacqueline Roig, PsyD says:

    What a crock of nonsense – really, can psychology ever stop pretending to know the brain?! We do not know what explains behavior. Period. Not acronyms such as TPJ, or the hippocampus, the amygdala, the frontal lobe, etc etc CAUSING us to make choices, nor does our gender, our politics, our religion or our body fat content. This ridiculous trend perpetuated by the field detracts from, not adds to, any credibility we have!

    • Lisa Zager says:

      Please back up your opinion with knowledge or experience. Otherwise there is no learning. Only opinion. Thank you.

      • Jacqueline Roig, PsyD says:

        For all the claims out there to be refuted, I would need a million hours. Rather than take the pseudo-neuroscience at face value, or for that matter, my “opinions”, why not do some research to find out exactly what is definitively known about the brain, in any discipline (not just psychology), and you will see the point. I recommend it.

    • Nel says:

      Right on Dr.R
      Those are the TENTH GENERATION PHRENOLOGISTS.

  2. Anita Vaccaro says:

    In response to Dr. Roig’s comment, I will agree that our field does have a tendency to speak AS IF we are the experts in brain research. I fear that we take a small part of the knowledge and run with it which can lead not only to misinformation but also to law suits. I believe if we truly did our homework enough to speak of the brain, it might take a long and devoted amount of time to, not only look at the current research, but also look at research that has refuted the current research. We can then come up with assumptions, take time to test them out and at best, report on what MAY be another “theory” of treatment. We as mental health professionals can then quietly and mildly test our assumptions in treatment by attempting to reach the parts of each male and female brain with what we know and see what the outcome is. That is exactly what I have done and have had great success. I agree that we have had MANY mental health professionals throw so much “brain” stuff out there that my brain is spinning. I can’t reasonably speak of the brain unless I am confident that this information has profound and conclusive research behind it. No disrespect to Pat Love, I think she’s amazing!

  3. I’m not sure where my reply went, but I guess I have to comment on Dr. Roig. I don’t agree with her perception that all neuroscience related to psychology is b.s. I do think we, as a profession, have to be careful about aligning ourselves with topics we know little about, and though the ideas that Dr. Pat Love talks about are interesting, I’ve only heard the TPJ discussed in terms of empathy and morality, not in terms of gender or with someone taking action. I would be interested in seeing the research on this, as I love Interpersonal Neurobiology, the studies on empathy, and anything that helps us to be better therapists!

    • nel says:

      Okay, Dr. S.
      “Neurobiology” is a good sales pitch when you have to earn your living. However, if earning a living is not an issue for you, you may consider the fact that the brain, or any of its components, don’t talk, do not express empathy or antipathy, but are amoral just like the rest of biology. Human utterances, whether verbal or behavioral, are moral, examples of which are empathy or antipathy. We humans are stuck with it. Attributing moral values to the brain is plain cowardly. Any professional who wants to be serious about human vicissitudes and try to help people should be honest and stick to the above-mentioned facts. The neurobiology bubble pollutes and destroys the valuable psychological tools that professionals have in trying to help people who mess up their lives by improper behavior management.

  4. Jeffrey Von Glahn says:

    Speaking from 40+ years of experience as a therapist, I fear that psychotherapy is being “neuroscienced.” This movement seems to assume that the untold number of highly dedicated and passionately committed theorists and practitioners throughout the history of psychotherapy have overlooked the most fundamental aspects of psychotherapy. My primary concern is that the neuroscientific view of psychotherapy is not based on a conception of psychological health. Models of physical health are not based on an average rating of all states of health and ill-health. One example is a well known neuroscientist who has explained the neurological importance of right-brain to right-brain therapist-client contact. But that’s because he believes that transference and countertransference are the fundamental bases of psychotherapy and that a therapist who is right-brained will be more sensitive to these experiential indicators. Another example is the suggestion by another leading neuroscientist on how to handle heightened emotion; i.e., “name and tame.” That may be appropriate for a client who does not have the resources for deeper experiencing. However, my experience is that in most cases the taming of an emotion is a missed opportunity for profound change. For what will no doubt seem as a radical suggestion to any proponent of naming and taming, see my article on therapeutic crying in the May/June 2012 issue, as well as citations in PsycINFO. This kind of crying is a part of my fundamental reconceptualization of catharsis. In contemporary thought, including neuroscience, catharsis is a “bad” word; one not to be uttered in the presence of other card-carrying members of your favorite mainstream association. The fear of re-traumatization is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how the ANS processes heightened emotion from psychologically hurtful experiences. What’s more, there is no researchable definition of re-traumatization, nor is there any research that justifies its implied claim. Isn’t this the era of evidence-based research?

  5. Alan says:

    Nothing actually new about this, men are fix it types so whats new about applying that response to be empathetic. I am surprised that she thinks this is a discovery

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