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Chet Lesniak


Individuals who report better relationships with their mental health providers have better treatment outcomes. One element of the relationship is therapist empathy, or the therapist's ability to see the world from the client's point-of-view. Researchers have struggled to define, measure, and teach empathy. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether instruction in character analysis techniques, such as those used by actors, had an effect on cognitive empathy. A convenience sample of 20 adults enrolled in undergraduate or graduate-level coursework was recruited for participation in this study. Each individual provided demographic information and completed the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) and the Literature Empathy Test (LET). The intervention group (n = 10) participated in a 45-minute character analysis training prior to completing the LET. The control group (n = 10) completed both assessments in a separate meeting with no intervention. A univariate analysis of covariance was used to discover the effect of character analysis training on LET scores in light of IRI scores. The data analysis revealed no significant relationship between the intervention and LET scores, but the findings provided several insights. Future research would benefit from modifications to the LET, inclusion of an additional empathy measure, and revisions to the sample size and inclusion criteria. Although the results of the present study were not significant, this area of research remains a promising means by which to promote social change by informing the pursuit of positive interpersonal relationships and prosocial behaviors

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