Empathy in Forensic Evaluations: a Systematic Reconsideration
Article first published online: 27 NOV 2012
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Volume 31, Issue 2, pages 192–202, March/April 2013
How to Cite
Brodsky, S. L. and Wilson, J. K. (2013), Empathy in Forensic Evaluations: a Systematic Reconsideration. Behav. Sci. Law, 31: 192–202. doi: 10.1002/bsl.2042
- Issue published online: 8 MAY 2013
- Article first published online: 27 NOV 2012
This paper reexamines the Shuman seminal paper arguing against empathic behaviors in forensic evaluations. Shuman concluded that empathy by examiners seduces evaluees into believing a therapeutic relationship exists. We reconsider empathy as an element of rapport and a helpful supplement in a successful assessment. Actively avoiding empathy could lead to cold and callous examiner self-presentation, which may in turn produce biased and negative results. In this paper we assert that ethical forensic professionals may use moderate empathy during an assessment. Examiners should consider it not as a component of subjectivity and pseudotherapy, but rather as a potentially useful tool for effective assessments. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.