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Do teens lack empathy for others? Is it possible to “teach” empathy to teens? One study promoted the theory that teens are incapable of taking the feelings of others into account because they are just incapable of doing so. Another study states that involvement in social media has decreased the levels of empathy among youth. The reality is, the way the brain develops in adolescence affects empathy, and there is a lot that can be done to develop empathy in teens. This workshop will look at the development of cognitive and affective empathy during the teen years, examine empathy “inside” the brain, address barriers to empathy, discuss essential steps for building empathy in school communities, and review resources for developing empathy

Learning Objectives: 

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate the difference between cognitive and affective empathy, and how both develop during the teen years;
  • Describe the barriers to the development of empathy;
  • List the necessary steps for building empathy in schools; and
  • Outline the resources available in the development of empathy.
Intended Audience: 

Behavioral Health System

Instructional Level: 

Introductory