Using Relentless Empathy in the Therapeutic Relationship: Connecting with Challenging and Resistant Clients

| Author: Anabelle Bugatti, 2021

What’s It All About?

In her book, Anabelle Bugatti—also known as Dr. Belle—packs in deep, science-based concepts that help readers find value and connect with their community, and she does it all in under 100 pages! The only change I would make is perhaps shortening the title to simply “Relentless Empathy” to not scare away readers like me.

When faced with a decision, we want better information before we make our choice. By working with others and connecting with them, we find better information and more productive outcomes.

Since I’m no therapist, I went into each chapter wondering what kind of value I would get from it. In each section, I pulled out something that I could apply to leadership and relationships in operations.

I particularly loved one question posed in the book: are you a sponge or a mirror? I know that when someone gets upset, it causes me to get angry as well, or gives me the urge to flee the situation. This is why I love the mirror effect, where we do not absorb emotions like a sponge, but instead act as a mirror to connect with the other person without getting weighed down by their emotions. Through this method, we can connect and help in the most meaningful way, and provide others with the vital human need of feeling seen and valued.

Favorite Quote

“(Empathy) means being able to tolerate when people are difficult, seeing below the surface of their reactivity to their humanity, and keeping humanity in focus as we work through the challenges to get what every person needs in the end: Love, acceptance, belonging, and emotional safety.”

Biggest Takeaway

Even though I despise the activity of judging others, I catch myself doing it more than I like to admit! Dr. Belle’s way of unpacking this behavior really resonated with me. Now, I’m more aware and work to stay curious instead of judgmental. This is important to me because being in “judgment mode” makes it hard to form connections. And without connections, it’s hard to build meaningful relationships and productive outcomes.

Bonus information

Thank you to Kay Wolff Kripchak for recommending this book and not giving me an option to opt-out of reading it! It took my coaching practice, my personal relationships, and my views on society to a deeper level.

Reviewed by: Trevor Blondeel,  April 5,  2022

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