Teaching Emotional Self-Awareness and What to Do with It in Patient Encounters

  • Zimri S. YaseenEmail author
  • Sarah Bloch-Elkouby
  • Shira Barzilay


Effective treatment depends on effective relationships. Effective relationships must be tended. This tending requires attention to everyone involved. When we pay attention to our own experience, we become more aware of it. When we are aware of how we feel and what we do (including what we say and how we say it), we can begin to question how we are feeling and what we are doing; what is making us feel and behave this way with our patient. This is useful when things are not working, and we have to change what we are doing, but do not know what change to make or how to make it. When things work, it can help us recognize what makes them work. In this chapter, we describe ways to teach clinicians to become aware of their emotional responses to their patients and how to make good use of them. When empathy is understood as a relational process that aims to produce mutual recognition, the capacity to be aware of our own emotions can be seen as critical to empathic engagement; by seeing ourselves more clearly, we can better see our patients also.


Emotional self-awareness Empathy Relational therapy Affect Mindfulness Circumplex model SASB 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zimri S. Yaseen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sarah Bloch-Elkouby
    • 2
  • Shira Barzilay
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral HealthIcahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai Beth IsraelNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Icahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.MSBI Suicide Research Laboratory and Richard and Cynthia Zirinsky Center for Bipolar DisorderMount Sinai Beth Israel and the Icahn School of MedicineNew YorkUSA

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