How to use The Empathy Set (included with each set)

Congratulations on your investment in a tool that facilitates empathy and builds your emotional intelligence!

When it comes to using the cards, creativity is your friend.

First things first. Shuffle the cards. Explore them.

Smile, you’ve made a wise choice!

Four Ways to Use your Cards

1)    Self-Reflection: On Your Own

You can use the cards to discover what you are feeling and needing about any situation, event or relationship.

Start with your feelings. Take a moment to reflect and get in touch with what is really going on for you.

Spread all the feeling cards in front of you and choose the cards that resonate for you. Eliminate the clear no’s-the cards that you immediately know do not apply.

It's a good idea to see the full range of your feelings before you seek the 7 feelings that most closely apply.

And then see if you can identify your top 3.

Another way, is to ‘deal’ the cards one by one, eliminating the ones that are clear no’s.

From the remainder go for your top 7 and top 3 matches.

Acknowledging our feelings is an important way we move on from the pain of the past.

After you have identified your feelings, follow the same process with the needs cards.

Either spread them out or deal them one by one.

Eliminate the ones that don’t apply.

Then see if you can identify your top 3 to 7 needs for the future.

p.s. There is no magic in the numbers 3 or 7. So if you end up with more or less, don’t worry. It’s all good! 😊


2)    Awareness of Others: On Your Own

You can use the cards to sense what the other person involved in your situation, event or relationship is feeling and needing.

By follow the procedure as above, this will position you to empathize with the other person.

First identify all the feelings that you think apply to the other person. Seek the 7 feelings that you sense the other person is feeling. Then their top 3.

Second, identify their needs. See if you can identify the likely top 3 to 7 needs of the other.

Remember, we are trying to intuit what the other person is feeling, but not to tell someone what they are feeling. This will give you clues and may even help the person get in touch with what they are really feeling. When we acknowledge another person’s feelings and needs we give them empathy.


3)    Empathic Problem-Solving Conversation: Together

You can use the cards to structure a challenging conversation to find mutually acceptable solutions.

Together, take turns identifying your top 3 feelings and needs. Share and explain your feelings and needs.

When you have each had a turn, and feel understood, use The Problem Solving Two Step to brainstorm solutions that meet both of your needs.

Remember, to empathize we don’t have to agree, we validate their feelings and needs as real for them.


4)    Group Empathy: Together

When your family, work team or any social group you belong to is experiencing a challenging situation, event or relationship, it helps to give one another empathy.

This is especially helpful when there is some mild tension than needs clearing.

It works best in smaller groups, say 3-12.

Each member takes a turn to share for 2-3 minutes how they have been impacted by the situation, event or relationship.

The person speaking has no cards.

In advance of the person speaking, divide the feelings cards among the non speaking group members.

When the person is speaking the others are listening for feelings that match with the cards in their hand.

Then, they reveal the cards that they believe are a match to the speaker’s feelings.

They may say a word or two as they put each card down: "You seemed excited when you joined the team" and "surprised that there was conflict".

After all group members have placed their feeling cards, the speaker reviews all the cards and selects the top 3 to 7 feeling cards that resonate with how they are feeling.

Then, repeat the same process with the needs cards.

So, at the end of each person’s sharing, they should have identified their top 3 to 7 feelings and needs.

After the first speaker, take turns to share following the same process.

At the end, check in to discover that everyone has felt understood and heard.

A General Reminder

We are all responsible for our own feelings. When we share our experience be careful not to judge others. Use ‘I Statements’ to talk about your experience rather than blaming others.

For example, instead of saying, “you’re always interrupting and that’s rude” try instead,

“I notice that when you talk before I have finished that it stimulates my frustration because I forget what I want to say. Please let me finish first!”