Empathy Dyad Practice

We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.

— Archilochus

Empathy dyad practice is a way to improve how we experience and navigate conflict. We develop our ability to stay present in conflict by practicing empathy with others in a controlled format.

Dyad practice, also known as an empathy exchange, follows a pattern of

  • Person 1 talks about something going on in their life for 2-5 minutes, while Person 2 gives empathy.
  • 1 minute debrief to discuss the exchange, focusing on how the experience was for the giver and receiver, and what needs were met by the exchange.
  • Roles reversei, and Person 2 talks while Person 1 gives empathy
  • 1 minute debrief

During this exchange, we try to avoid other conversational responses. The person giving empathy will focus on staying present with the person talking, and will periodically reflect back what they have heard and guess what the other person is feeling, and their needs are related to those feelings.