Empathy: What it is, what it is not, and what to do about it

Written by Jael – Summer 2006

Note: This was originally a post in PsiPog’s forum and was written in response to some misconceptions about psionic empathy. Because it was written for PsiPog members, PsiPog references were used. I have added PSC links in brackets.

The area of empathy seems to have some misunderstandings running rampant here. Hopefully this post will help clarify psionic empathy and what you can do about it if it is bothering you.

First, I would like to define terms. Empathy has two definitions according to dictionary.com.

  1. Identification with and understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motives.
  2. The attribution of one’s own feelings to an object.

Please note that even though these are defining non-psionic empathy, in (1) it is identification with an outsider, and in (2) it is not feeling specifically, but rather attribution of your feelings onto someone or something else.

In the articles section of PsiPog, the subtitle for the empathy articles is “Sensing the emotions of others, and dealing with those emotions.” Note that this refers to emotions coming from outside of yourself.

In addition, I would like to quote from Rainsong/RainTurtle’s seminar on empathy[PSC Empathy Section]

Rainsong/RainTurtle wrote:
[20:40] <.RainTurtle> There are two basic meanings for the word “empathy”, and several variants within each.
[20:41] <.RainTurtle> The first is a psychological phenomenon, reacting to the expressed or assumed situation of another person, “feeling for them”,….very like “sympathy” in rough terms
[20:41] <.RainTurtle> Not being a Psychologist, I am not going to be lecturing on Psychological Empathy, tonight….
[20:43] <.RainTurtle> Instead, we come to the second meaning: “the telepathic perception of another person’s emotions”. Depending on the variant of the definition which you happen to favour, this may also extend to influencing the emotions of other people, in addition to sensing same

The particular section of the forum and indeed the articles in the article section address the psionic empathy RainTurtle mentions in her second definition. To reiterate, psychological empathy is not the type of empathy intended to be under discussion in this area of the forum.

Some things that empathy is NOT:

  • managed or mismanaged feelings about something occurring inside yourself (upset, happy, sad, etc with/for family members, friends, enemies, etc)
  • emotions prompted by movies, music, or past memories
  • something you can stop (outside of shielding)

Here are some ideas about what to do when you experience psionic empathy or think you might be experiencing psionic empathy.

Ground and center

I personally like Rainsong/RainTurtle’s description of grounding and centering in her article ‘Normal’ Uses for Unusual Skills found in the articles site. She is describing grounding before taking an exam, but points out that grounding is useful in other situations as well.

Rainsong/RainTurtle wrote:
Put your feet flat on the floor, and your hands flat on the desk or chair. Close your eyes. Take a nice deep breath. Now focus on the excess energy and the excess emotion, and send them down your arms and out through the palms of your hands. It may simplify matters to visualize the energy and emotion being sent as being water or sand flowing along pipes. In any case, don’t force it out; just let it flow nice and easily. The entire procedure takes less than a minute and may be repeated as needed.

After grounding and centering, it is often immensely easier to tell if you are receiving telepathic input in the form of empathy or if you are actually the one with the feelings in question. As an example, on the anniversary of my sister-in-law’s death, I started feeling a mix of strong emotions halfway through the day. After grounding/centering, I realised not only what day it was, but that my brother was just starting his day (we live several time zones apart). In this example, I was both feeling my own feelings as well as his. I adjusted my shield to send comfort to my brother while blocking his feelings from me. While not a great day, it was manageable. Had I had to deal with both my emotions and his, I’m not sure how well it would have gone.


A shield is simply something that blocks incoming signals. The best shield for you to use is the one that works. What works for one person might be useless to someone else. Read what you can about shielding, create shields, and have people scan them and help you test them. Not only does it give you feedback, it’s good practice for all parties involved. The articles section is a good place to start for learning more about shields. [PSC Shield Section]

When testing your shields, don’t describe your shield to the person scanning before hand. The feedback you can rely on is the feedback that doesn’t have ‘frontloaded’ information. The information provided to you can verify that your shield is working properly, as well as give you feedback about what other people might experience when scanning your shield. For example, if you create a hedge shield and they can’t find you, you might have made it correctly. However, you might also have chosen a partner that has difficulty finding people. To check this, ask them to rescan for you, after taking down the shield. Ideally, you wouldn’t mention to them that you did so. If they rescan and find you, you have confirmed that your hedge shield works. Another fun thing to do is put a construct somewhere on your shield/field. That is an additional boost for both you and the scanner when those are verified. “This is odd… I think I’ve found you, but it seems like you have a purple dinosaur on your shoulder.”


Grounding, centering, and shielding are the most useful things you can do to help regain control of incoming signals. Occasionally, empathy will result in confused feelings inside yourself. For example, you might feel upset at the store for an ‘unexplained’ reason, only to discover a couple arguing close by (depending on the argument and your sensitivity, they could be outside the store). Even after putting up a shield, the chemicals released in the brain when _you_ are upset are still floating around in your body. The body doesn’t differentiate between your emotions and someone else’s. Grounding and centering again can be helpful, but you might need to use some of your personal tricks to deal with any leftover feelings of anger before you feel ‘yourself’ again.

Remember: If you are personally going through a hard time, realise this and be honest with yourself. Assuming you are an empath, you are still empathetic during these times, but recognising when they are ‘your’ feelings as opposed to ‘someone else’s’ feelings is harder during rough sections of life. During these times, I attempt to be even more diligent with shielding. Why make things harder on myself by being lazy? This increases the likelihood that the feelings I am experiencing are mine and need to be addressed. Therefore, I assume that the feelings are mine and deal with them (or attempt to deal with them) appropriately.

I hope this information is helpful in understanding what empathy is and what it is not, as well as how to deal with it.

Take care,


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