|Title||"Empathy" and "Sympathy" in Action: Attending to Patients' Troubles in Finnish Homeopathic
and General Practice Consultations
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Empathy, Doctor-patient interactions, Homeopathy|
|Journal||Social Psychology Quarterly|
This paper analyzes "empathy" and "sympathy" as situated practices, sequential processes that are coconstructed by the participants in the situation. The data consists of 228 sequences of patients' descriptions of their problematic experiences and professionals' responses to them in videorecorded general practice and homeopathic consultations. One deviant case, in which the practitioner shows compassion to the patient in an exceptional way, is subjected to detailed analysis. It is argued that both professionals and patients orient to a degree of professional neutrality in these situations, but also that affiliative practices can be adjusted to the otherwise problem-governed course of the consultation. These orientations seem to address questions similar to those of theoretical distinctions made between the terms empathy and sympathy.