Exploring the Superpower of Empathy with Judith Orloff, M.D.

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Are we born with empathy or is it a skill that can be taught? Dr. Orloff tells us that choosing empathy can transform some of our most difficult interactions. Also, studies have shown that an act of empathy can have a positive effect on our immune response. Orloff suggests that empathy is a bedrock of healing in difficult situations and needs to be a daily priority to become a habit, not just a fleeting desire. She also has cautions and advice for us, including can we have too much empathy and how to work with those who, on the empathy spectrum, have an empathy deficient disorder such as narcissists. Empathy will lead us in expressing our most authentic, fierce, and compassionate self and she says "we must have empathy for our survival personally, and our happiness, and our intimacy, and our connections to others, and also for the earth and the world. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Judith Orloff, M.D. is a member of the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Staff and specializes in treating empaths and sensitive people in her private practice. She offers Empathy Training Programs to businesses and organizations and teaches empathic tools to doctors, corporate teams, leaders, managers, customer service and trainers, as well as individuals. She’s been called the “godmother of the empath movement” and has written several books about intuition, life strategies for sensitive people, and empathy.

She's the author of:

  • The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life (Harmony books 2014)
  • Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life (Harmony Books 2009)
  • Second Sight: An Intuitive Psychiatrist Tells Her Extraordinary Story and Shows You How To Tap Your Own Inner Wisdom (Warner Books 2010)
  • The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People (Sounds True 2017)
  • The Genius of Empathy: Practical Skills to Heal Your Sensitive Self, Your Relationships & the World (Sounds True 2024)

To learn more about the work of Judith Orloff go to: www.drjudithorloff.com

 Topics explored in this dialogue include:

  • What are the different empathy styles
  • How the neuro biologic aspects of empathy can boost the immune system
  • What is the discipline of loving detachment
  • What is empathic listening
  • How knowing what you most deeply value will hold you steady in turbulent times
  • How giving empathy to others increases brain activity even more than receiving empathy
  • How putting our hand on our heart can help us to relax into empathy
  • What is Orloff’s advice to caregivers
  • How to work with someone who has empathy deficient disorder such as narcissists
  • How giving our time and attention to another is the most precious gift we can give
  • What is the need today for more empathic leadership

Host: Justine Willis Toms   Interview Date: 2/19/2024   Program Number: 3809

Music Playlist

From Album: Prayer for Compassion
Artist: David Darling

Opening Essay: Track 02 Prayer for Compassion
Music Break 1: Track 03 Stones Start Spinning
Music Break 2: Track 05 Music of a Desire
Music Break 3: Track 05 Music of a Desire (reprise)