Definitions of Empathy: From Wikipedia
Edith Stein: “Empathy… is the experience of foreign consciousness in general” (1989/1917, p. 11). Source: Stein, E. (1989). On the problem of empathy. Washington: ICS Publications. (Original work published 1917)
Heinz Kohut: “Empathy is the capacity to think and feel oneself into the inner life of another person.” (1984, p. 82). Source: Kohut, H. (1984). How does analysis cure? Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
C. D. Batson: “Other-oriented feelings congruent with the perceived welfare of another person.” Source: Batson, C. D. (1994). Why act for the public good? Four answers. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 20, 603-610, p. 606.
Nancy Eisenberg: “An affective response that stems from the apprehension or comprehension of another’s emotional state or condition, and that is similar to what the other person is feeling or would be expected to feel” (2002, p. 135). Source: Eisenberg, N. (2002). Empathy-related emotional responses, altruism, and their socialization In R. J. Davidson & A. Harrington (Eds.). Visions of compassion: Western scientists and Tibetan Buddhists examine human nature (pp. 131-164). London: Oxford University Press.
Martin Hoffman: “An affective response more appropriate to another’s situation than one’s own” (1987, p. 48) Source: Hoffman, M. L. (1987). The contribution of empathy to justice and moral judgment. In N. Eisenberg & J. Strayer (Eds.), Empathy and its development (pp. 47-80). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Roy Schafer: “Empathy involves the inner experience of sharing in and comprehending the mometary psychological state of another person” (1959, p. 345) Source: Schafer, R. (1959). Generative empathy in the treatment situation. The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 28, 342-373.
D. M. Berger: “The capacity to know emotionally what another is experiencing from within the frame of reference of that other person, the capacity to sample the feelings of another or to put oneself in another’s shoes”. Source: Berger, D. M. (1987). Clinical empathy. Northvale: Jason Aronson, Inc.
R. R. Greenson: “To empathize means to share, to experience the feelings of another person.” (1960, p. 418). Source: Greenson, R. R. (1960). Empathy and its vicissitudes. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 41, 418-424
Carl Rogers: “To perceive the internal frame of reference of another with accuracy and with the emotional components and meanings which pertain thereto as if one were the person, but without ever losing the “as if” condition. Thus, it means to sense the hurt or the pleasure of another as he senses it and to perceive the causes thereof as he perceives them, but without ever losing the recognition that it is as if I were hurt or pleased and so forth." (1959, s. 210-211)” Source: Rogers, C. R. (1959). A theory of therapy, personality and interpersonal relationships, as developed in the client-centered framework. In S. Koch (Ed.), Psychology: A study of science, (Vol. 3, pp. 184-256). New York: Mc Graw Hill.