Wondering what to do with my ability for empathy and understanding people. Have some experience and perhaps opportunity to work with this professionally - advice?

by Raythen2 min read3rd Jun 20146 comments

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(I've intentionally tried to keep this post concise. Please ask if you want more details about something) 
 
I've done some free NVC-based empathy work starting two years ago (online, via Skype call). 
(NVC is a communication method; the specific methods used are empathic listening and reflection). 
 
Lately people told me I'm really good at it, and should with it professionally. I think I would enjoy that, and it does match my career aspirations. 
 
I'm going to have free time over the summer to do something with this if I want to. 
 
(I'm 25. I live in Sweden) 
 
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My general ideas are along the lines of... 
 
Get more information, potentially connect with people who already work with this and/or similar topics. 
 
Research study/certification options - there are some, though I haven't found one that seems like a good fit for me yet. 
 
Register a corporation - since I already do work that generates value for others, I could open the door to doing it professionally. (Also, the registration is free of charge) 
 
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I'm not equally good at getting a read for people who I know or converse with only casually (not enough data). 
 
Slow text-only communication (e-mail etc) - can't iterate fast enough. Text chat... might work but loses a lot of bandwidth compared to voice. Voice works best (or doing it in person). 
 
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I am quite good at understanding people even with few things in common, and across quite sensitive topics (which requires a non-judgemental non-critical approach). The only requirement I guess is that the person actually wants to be deeply understood, and have that understanding reflected back verbally. 
 
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Some reported benefits 
Increased clarity and self-understanding 
Inspiration and clarity when it comes to specific goals and actions 
Increased awareness of own values 
 
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So I'm wondering what to do with all this. I could use some thoughts/advice - I the share the rationalist viewpoint on life and most of the rationalist values. 
 
Some additional info 
I am a Swedish citizen, which gives me free passage and right of residence within the European Union. I speak good English (and all the empathy work I've done has been in English). I am potentially open to relocating - Sweden has less than 10 million residents so I figure I might need to at some point (though I'd rather stick to English-speaking countries. I have a slight preference for warmer climates). 

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The fact that you did all in English suggests that you don't do it with your meetspace friends. Ask your meetspace friends.

If you want to be a coach or therapists you need to be in a position to gather clients. Empathy alone is not enough. You also need to do outreach to find clients.

I mostly agree with this.

Right now I live in a small town, and my meatspace friends don't need the particular kind of support I can offer. Outreach/community is one of the reasons, maybe the primary reason I'm considering to do studies (academic, certification or something similar).

Still, the internet seems like a viable way to connect with people.

Look for people who need your kindness. Things will open up for you.

I like the way you phrased that :)

Therapy or psychiatry seem like good fields to go into here.

Yeah. I have considered that.

There's overlap between empathy and therapy/psychiatry, but also important differences.

Though working with some kind of therapy might suit my personality, and the way I want to work.