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Clinical research suggests that empathy is associated with better clinical outcomes in various areas of medical care, raising the question of whether a similar effect occurs in psychiatry. The aim of this review is to explore philosophical, neuroscientific and psychological perspectives on the concept of empathy in the context of the day-today work of clinical psychiatrists. The definition of empathy is outlined and sociodemographic factors, working conditions and psychiatrists’ beliefs that can potentially affect empathy in clinical encounters are explored; educational and training aspects are also reviewed. The review concludes suggesting that research on empathy is needed to understand contextual, training and relational factors that could benefit mental healthcare as well as the working conditions of clinical psychiatrists, both inextricably linked.

Original publication




Journal article


BJPsych Advances

Publication Date





116 - 123