Edwin Rutsch: How “Empathy Circles” Can Change the World

In our world with so many diametrically opposed beliefs regarding politics, or policy, or religion, or anything else, is it possible to have too much empathy? Is it possible to connect with those who believe things that appear to be drastically different from our own beliefs? My guest today, Edwin Rutsch, and I talk about how the answer to what we need is, in fact, more empathy in the culture and more support for those practicing empathy. Edwin has created and rolled out a powerful framework for harnessing empathy and getting people from all walks of life to open up, talk, and truly listen to one another with Empathy Circles. Tune in to hear his great stories of putting up empathy tents at the most heated rallies and protests and what magically happened when he did.


Key Takeaways:

  • The Empathy Circle is to discuss whatever the group wants to discuss in a safe space.
  • Empathy Circles are not about coming to an agreement about policies, they are about finding understanding and connection, even when we disagree.
  • Empathy burnout comes from too little empathy and support in the system, not from too much empathy. 


“Start to build empathy where you can in your environment – in your family, in your work, or in your school.” —  Edwin Rutsch


About Edwin Rutsch: Edwin Rutsch is the founding director of the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy. The center’s website, CultureOfEmpathy.com, is the internet’s most comprehensive portal for empathy-related material. It hosts many empathy-building projects including interviews with over 300 experts on the topic, trainings, and the Empathy Tent.  The Tent goes to public events and offers listening, facilitated dialogue, and conflict mediation.  Edwin is a world traveler, a “seeker,” a documentary filmmaker, and has worked in the computer technology field.

His focus now is on developing an online Empathy Circle Facilitation Training Course and Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). From his experience, the Empathy Circle process is the most effective gateway and first step practice for learning, practicing, and deepening empathic listening skills and mindset. The center is looking for collaborators to design and host the training.


Connect with Edwin:  

Center for Building a Culture of Empathy


Empathy Circle Website



Check out Edwin and an Empathy Circle in action in the documentary Trumphobia: What Both Sides Fear: trumphobiamovie.com/watch

Don’t forget to download your free guide! Discover The 5 Business Benefits of Empathy: http://red-slice.com/business-benefits-empathy


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