Comment: Empathy is an important counseling skill. Whereas sympathy denotes feeling sorry for someone, empathy is to feel with someone.
In non directive counseling, skills–such as using empathy–can become the primary content and model of counseling. However, biblical counseling is different; it is directive. Exchanged Life Counseling has a distinctive message (the Christ-centered life), and methodology.
Yet, in directive counseling empathy is still important. A counselor who is eager to facilitate discovery and progress may forget to empathize. In a therapeutic context, the helper talks with the counselee in a caring way rather than talking at him/her. We are to be quick to listen, and slow to speak…(James 1:19), and we then speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). – JBW