The Empathic Healer

Using Your Caring Spiritual Power

By Cyndi Dale
[Energy Work]

Do you frequently sense clients’ pain in your body? Sense their needs before they speak?
Maybe you know if clients are telling the truth or feel their emotions as if they are your own. Perhaps you pick up extrasensory messages about them.
Congratulations. You are an empath. Empathy is a power with diamond-like facets, each surface potentially able to reflect feelings, knowledge, physical sensations, sensitivities, and “things spiritual.” This ability bonds and unites, informs and instructs, but it also complicates. While it’s beneficial to intuit a client’s aching shoulder, it’s another thing to have it linger in your own body or mind after the client has left. By understanding the subtle or energetic dynamics of empathy, you’ll be better able to enjoy and apply its upsides and decrease the downsides.

Affective and Cognitive Empathy
Empathy is classically defined as the ability to sense what’s happening to another, but it can also include being aware of your own internal state.1 As such, it relies on an amazingly complex set of linkages. Most scientists highlight interchanges between the brain, other parts of the neurological system, and psychological programming.
In regard to our relationship with others, experts often distinguish between affective empathy, the ability to relate to another’s emotions, and cognitive empathy, which refers to understanding another’s perceptions.2
I perceive empathy as one of three main spiritual gifts (see below)—it’s an extraordinary means of communicating energetically. Energy is information that moves or vibrates. We most tangibly relate to others through sensory energy, which we can obviously hear, see, smell, touch, taste, or know. But subtle energy operates at frequencies that are truly extrasensory, which means they are akin to psychic impressions. We still know what is being communicated, but we do so intuitively, in ways we can’t always measure.
The verbal spiritual gifts are auditory. The visual spiritual gifts invite pictorial communication. And the empathic spiritual gifts are body-based. In other words, empathically sensitive individuals hear, see, smell, touch, taste, or simply know what’s occurring in others (as well as in relation to various parts of their internal self).
There are six main types of empathic gifts. Following is a description of these in relation to the world outside of us. As I explore each gift and showcase how it might apply to your work, pay attention to which of these gifts bring about an “aha” moment within you. Some people have one or two strong empathic abilities, while others can display them all.
Natural empathy. Natural empaths sense what is occurring in nature and among natural beings. Their connections could be to animals, plants, rocks, or even celestial bodies. If you are a natural empath, you might be affected by weather patterns or reflect a companion animal’s issues. Consider filling your office with natural objects, such as plants and rocks, or making sure your office has natural lighting. You’ll feel more grounded and energized.
Physical empathy. Physical empaths know what is happening in others’ bodies; they also sense the energy in physical objects. Practitioners with this gift often feel their clients’ ailments, physical pain, and problems in their own bodies. This can alert you to their needs and provide clues as to your effectiveness. For instance, if you’ve alleviated a client’s ache, the pain will disappear in your own body. Learn how to clear the physical energies that aren’t your own when done with a session. For example, wash your hands between sessions and ask your body to release others’ afflictions. Set a bowl of rocks in the corner and perceive them as absorbing unnecessary physical issues. Cleanse the rocks by placing them in the sun or rain once a week or so.
Emotional empathy. This gift involves feeling another’s emotions. This aptitude can invite compassion, but also can emotionally overwhelm, making it hard to distinguish between our feelings and those of others. If you are emotionally empathic, use this sensitivity to relate to your clients. Give permission for your internal self to send your clients’ feelings back to them at the end of a session.
Mental empathy. Mental empaths access data from “nowhere,” intuiting others’ knowledge and motivations. This perceptive sensitivity can help you intuit information about clients and their motivations. Make sure you ask clients if they want to know your perceptions before you share them so you aren’t guilty of “psychic spying.”
Spiritual empathy. Spiritual empaths are integrity-sensitive. They can tell if others are aligned with their value system or living their spiritual purpose. If this gift isn’t fully filtered, it’s easy to pick up on negative energy and become depressed. Use this gift to determine a client’s higher needs. If clients seem overly depressed or down, ask if there is a situation that is bothering them.
Shamanic empathy. Shamans are attuned to the mystical and otherworldly, able to connect with “things that go bump in the night,” such as entities, deceased people, and spirits. Shamans can also journey into other dimensions, planes, and zones. They can often tap into all the empathic abilities and often access the verbal and visual spiritual gifts as well. When working with clients, you might perceive extrasensory beings around them or receive messages from other planes. As with mental empathy, ask a client for permission to communicate this data and learn ways to establish energetic boundaries for yourself if you feel too exposed.

5 Tips for Your Gifts
How do you ensure the uplifting use of your empathic gifts in your work? I recommend taking the following steps:
1. Identify your empathic abilities. Do you relate to one of the six styles—natural, physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, or shamanic—more than any of the others?
2. Embrace your gifts. After determining which empathy style best describes you, write down all the benefits you might enjoy by using each gift wisely and safely in your job.
3. Decide that you would like to screen out information that is too much for you to handle or isn’t appropriate for you to sense. Ask for spiritual assistance—perhaps by praying or meditating—to help you maintain this new position.
4. Check with clients. If you are receiving empathic information, ask if your client would like your insight or not.
5. Enjoy. Your empathic abilities are spiritual gifts. They are innate and meant to be used. Embrace them, and they will enable you to more lovingly embrace the world and your work.

1.    Center for Building a Culture of Empathy, “Definition of Empathy,” accessed November 2014,
2.    University of California, Berkeley, Greater Good Science Center, “What Is Empathy?” accessed November 2014,
Author note: This article is based on my new book, The Spiritual Power of Empathy (Llewellyn Publications, 2014).

Cyndi Dale is an internationally renowned author, speaker, and intuitive consultant. Her books include the bestselling The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy (Sounds True, 2009), The Complete Book of Chakra Healing (Llewellyn Publications, 2009), and Advanced Chakra Healing (Crossing Press, 2005). To learn more about Dale and her products, services, and classes, please visit