The Art of Empathy ~ with Karla McLaren

27 March, 2014

What if there were a single skill that could directly and radically improve your relationships and your life? Karla McLaren believes that skill is empathy, and she knows it is a skill we can develop and manage.

Karla writes: Empathy is everywhere: it’s in the air you breathe and the ground you walk on; it makes relationships, communities, and societies work. And yet, empathy can also be something of a mystery. Because empathy is such a central part of everything you do, you can overlook it and almost ignore the processes that make empathy work (or stop working.)

Certainly at our non-profit organization, Bread for the Journey, empathy is a central function in the art of becoming a person who is generous of spirit. Join me this week as I speak with Karla McLaren about her groundbreaking book, The Art of Empathy – A Complete Guide to Life’s Most Essential Skill. Together we’ll learn what empathy is, how to develop it or calm it down, and what makes it so mysterious.

Karla McLaren is an award-winning author, social science researcher, and pioneering educator whose empathic approach to emotions revalues even the most “negative” emotions, and opens startling new pathways into the depths of the soul.

She is the author of The Art of Empathy: A Complete Guide to Life’s Most Essential Skill (2013), The Language of Emotions (2010), and the multi-media online course Emotional Flow (2012).

Karla has taught at such venues as the University of San Francisco, Omega Institute, Naropa University, Kripalu Center, and the Association for Humanistic Psychology. Additionally, as a prison arts educator with the William James Foundation, she has utilized singing, drumming, and drama to help men in maximum security prisons explore and heal long-held emotional traumas.

Karla is also a Certified Human Resource Administrator and a Certified Career Development Facilitator who helps people identify the emotion work they are expected to perform (or expect others to perform, perhaps without realizing it). When emotion work is brought out into the open and managed skillfully, individuals and businesses can avoid unnecessary conflict, burnout, and loss of productivity.