Empathy – Activity 3

Empathy Role playing

Activity type:
Role playing

Learning goals:
The exercise of role playing based on participants’ experiences aims at making participants aware of the emotional status of the speaker and trying to respond in an empathetic way and on the other hand at experiencing the feeling of knowing that the other person is trying to get into their shoes or not.

Group activity (work in pairs)

45 minutes

Materials needed:
(You can print Instructions part of this page, if needed)


Get in pairs. One person will be in the role of the practitioner and the other will be the client. The client shares an experience where s/he came up with strong feelings (negative or positive). The other person makes his/her best effort to respond in an empathetic way, trying also to notice signs of emotion in the partner’s face or body language.

Some phrases the practitioner can use are:

“Given what you said about your… , I imagine you might be feeling _. Is that what you’re feeling?”

“I imagine you might be feeling…,” or “I imagine you might have felt…”

Role play for 5 minutes and then change roles.

At the end of the 2 sessions, get back in the team to discuss how well the “practitioners” expressed their empathy and what was your overall experience of this exercise.

Questions for reflection:
  • How did the client feel?
  • Has the practitioner used empathetic questions?
  • How did the practitioner feel? Was it difficult for him/her to get into the client’s shoes?
  • Did the body language help him/her in recognizing the feelings of the client?
  • What did you learn from this task?