Empathy and Understanding: In History, Psychotherapy, and Our Contemporary World

March 18, 2021 at 5:00 PM

NOTE: This is s a VIRTUAL event and requires advance registration.

This virtual event is offered free of charge and provides 1.0 continuing education credit (see details below).


This forum will use Thomas Kohut’s recent book, Empathy and the Historical Understanding of the Human Past (Routledge, 2020), as a springboard for an interdisciplinary discussion of empathy and its role in understanding people in the past and in the present. 

In addition to considering some of the central claims Kohut makes in his book about empathy as a way of knowing in history, the four discussants will consider the similarities and differences between the role of empathy in knowing and understanding people in history, and in the humanities more generally, and in knowing and understanding people in psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy.  Finally, the discussants will consider the prominent role that empathy has come to play in contemporary political and cultural discourse.  The forum will be of interest to historians and other scholars in the humanities and social sciences who seek to know and understand human beings, psychoanalysts and psychotherapists, and those with an interest in the place of empathy in our contemporary world. 

For questions or additional information, please contact Erikson Institute Education Coordinator and Events Assistant, Kathleen Young at kathleen.young@austenriggs.net / 413.931.5230.    

Register now for the 2018 Fall Conference. 

Discussants include:   

  • Tom Kohut, PhD  
    Sue and Edgar Wachenheim, III Professor of History, Williams College 

        Tom Kohut, PhD - Sue and Edgar Wachenheim, III Professor of History, Williams College.

  • Irene Kacandes, PhD 
    Dartmouth Professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature, Dartmouth College 

        Irene Kacandes, PhD - Dartmouth Professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature, Dartmouth College.

  • Anna Fishzon, PhD 
    Licensed Psychoanalyst, Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research (IPTAR) 
    Anna Fishzon, PhD - Licensed Psychoanalyst, Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research (IPTAR).

  • Jane G. Tillman, PhD 
    Evelyn Stefansson Nef Director of the Erikson Institute for Education and Research, Austen Riggs Center

          Jane G. Tillman, PhD is the Director of the Erikson Institute of Austen Riggs. 


Register now for the 2018 Fall Conference.



  • Participants will be able to define the concept of empathy
  • Participants will recognize that empathy is a way of understanding the human past in the field of history
  • Participants will be able to describe the use of empathy for historical research purposes
  • Participants will be able to critique methods of inquiry that exclude empathy as a way of knowing


Approved for: Physicians, Psychologists, Social Work, and Nursing

Pending for: LMHC

The Austen Riggs Center designates this live interactive webinar for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category1 Credit(s) ™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The Austen Riggs Center is accredited by the Massachusetts Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Austen Riggs Center also designates this live interactive webinar for 1.0 continuing education credit(s) (CE) for psychology.

The Austen Riggs Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Austen Riggs Center maintains responsibility for the program and its content. For additional information about this program, please call the Erikson Institute Education Coordinator, at 413.931.5230.

The Austen Riggs Center, #1344, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Austen Riggs Center maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider Approval Period: 02/02/2020-2/2/2023. Social workers completing this live interactive webinar will receive 1.0 continuing education credit(s).

For a listing of jurisdictions that accept ACE, please visit www.aswb.org/ace/ace-jurisdiction-map/.

This live interactive webinar program meets the requirements of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing at 244 CMR 5.00 for (1) contact hour(s).

This live interactive webinar meets the requirements of the MaMHCA, authorization # TBD for 1.0 category 1 continuing education credit(s).

The Austen Riggs Center follows all state and federal laws and regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). In accordance with the ADA, the Austen Riggs Center is committed to accessibility. If you need accommodations for your course, please contact info@austenriggs.net.

For information about our accreditation, please visit www.austenriggs.org/accreditation-educational-activities.

Attendees who wish to receive CE credit should note:

After the conclusion of the event, you will receive an email with a link to complete the evaluation and claim your credits.

1.5 hours