Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Knock Me Down Wiv A Fevver!

Kelvin Mackenzie teaches about the empathy gap.

Still, I do reflect that in those 60 minutes I spent with the two police officers by Putney Bridge that my previous hostile attitude to the hacked stars had changed forever.

Mackenzie isn’t known for his sweet and understanding nature but he perfectly describes that moment when the veil drops.

For the first time I felt uneasy. If you have been editor of the Sun for 12 years, if you have floated and run a public company as founder, chairman and chief executive, very little worries or concerns you any more; your nerve endings have become encased in cement. But oddly I felt quite threatened by this invasion and understood more clearly why celebrities — no matter if they were A or Z listers — felt they had been violated.

Earlier this week Online Events broadcasted an interview with Sandra Grieve and Lucia Berdondini on teaching counselling skills in a war zone. It was fascinating, very real and very simple; with language being one of many differences between these women and the people they were teaching making relationship became fundamental.

They were quite clear that on returning to the UK they experienced an empathy gap. After living and working in environments where life is cheap and intense it can be easy to dismiss concerns that don’t compare. Both women accepted that empathy gap was simply part of their process. They didn’t pretend that they could bypass it but quite comfortably said that they had to be alert to it.

Here’s one study on the empathy gap which suggests that

. . . people have difficulty appreciating the full severity of social suffering unless they themselves experience it.

Honestly, I don’t know how better to address this in relation to class, income and counselling. Counselling couldn’t be less interested in social justice. The August riots consumed every part of the media, directly affected thousands of people and indirectly effected the entire nation but remained unmentioned in Therapy Today. If homes in flames and looting children don’t pique counsellors attention I’m not sure what will. Empathy gap indeed.

1 comment:

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