emPATHETIC vs. Empowered Empath

Dirty%20AuraIf you are in the spiritual, metaphysical, healing arts, energy medicine, or personal growth fields, I’m sure you have heard the term ‘empath’ or ’empathy,’ particularly from others using this term to describe themselves.


The empathy people are speaking of is actually ‘Clair-empathy.’  This is literally the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and feel what they are feeling. ‘Clair’ means clear and is the prefix used to describe intuitive and psychic abilities. Clairsentience is clear feeling (feeling the spirit/energy world), clairvoyance is clear sight (seeing the spirit/energy world), clairaudience is clear hearing (hearing the spirit/energy world), and clairempathy is clear emotion (feeling emotions from the spirit/energy world).


Clairempathy is the intuitive ability of the heart chakra and allows you to tap into other’s emotions and feelings and clearly feel them as if they were your own. Often times people are unaware they have this ability and/or are not skilled in working with it. They can get confused with where certain emotions are coming from and with what is happening. This can feel absolutely overwhelming and draining. Some empaths may find that they take on the emotions or symptoms of others. Being in large crowds, or around negative people can be uncomfortable and difficult. It can empty our battery and make us constantly tired and fatigued.  Empaths often are diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. But, are the negative emotions they feel their own or someone else’s? If this describes you, it is important to ask yourself where your feelings are coming from, particularly if you feel an emotion or physical symptom come on suddenly. Learn to distinguish and differentiate between your emotions and the emotions of others. Do not own others’ emotions. Do not take on their energy. Stay detached.


Empathy can be both a blessing and a curse depending on how you view it and what you do about it. The ability to truly understand someone and what they are feeling is the foundation of being an exceptional healing facilitator. Someone who utilizes and experiences their gift of empathy is empathetic. But empaths need to learn to turn up the volume when appropriate and turn it down to control their empathy and not let it control them.


According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of ‘pathetic’ is “causing feelings of sadness and sympathy.” When individuals become aware they are empaths and let themselves become victim to their empathy, allowing it to immobilize them and stay stuck and miserable, I call this emPATHETIC…. sadness and misery from having the gift of empathy.  Individuals complain and feel burdened by their empathy and do not learn skills to cope with being an empath. They allow it to torture them.  I have even seen clients allows their empathy to control them as a way to get sympathy from others as well as make excuses for bad behaviors…. “but I am an empath!!!”  Remember, you don’t have to feel like shit if you don’t want to. You can have 100% control over the way you feel.


I have worked in the counseling and psychology field for over 18 years. I specialized in addition counseling and dual diagnosis before moving into personal growth, spiritual psychology, and positive psychology in 2008. In all my previous client sessions with individuals with addiction, depression, personality disorders, etc, I have never seen anything render clients as helpless as EMPATHY. They become frozen and consumed. They are constantly tired because not only do they take on other’s energy and emotions, but they also give away their energy.


I too have clairempathy, but I do not let it control my life. Other’s negative energy/emotions can only effect you if you let it. Stop giving away your sunshine and your power. Reclaim your power and your energy. You don’t have to use empathy as a label and become a self-fulfilling prophesy of misery and stay stuck. Become an EMPOWERED EMPATH, not emPATHETIC!!



Dr. Christina’s Tips for Empowered Empaths:

1). Practice good energy hygiene. Just as many people shower or bathe their physical body most days you must also bathe your energetic body (aura). Cleanse your energy field every day. Smudging, meditation techniques, energywork, crystals, etc. It doesn’t matter what technique you use as long as you believe it works, have the intent that is works, and use it every day.  A technique that I like to do is called Release and Recover. I close my eyes and visualize or somehow become aware of my aura, the collection of energy around me. I scan my aura and identify pieces that don’t belong to me. I ask my angels/guides/the universe to send those pieces of energies back to their owners and release that energy and visualize the energy leaving my aura. Then I recover my energy that I have unintentionally given to others. I ask my angles/guides to bring back my pieces of energy that I have given away. I visualize those energies coming back to me and entering my aura. Then I clearly say to myself that “I am whole and complete. All pieces of the puzzle are put back together again.”


2). Practice energy protection and shielding techniques. A healthy aura is a collection of all of YOUR energies…not bits and pieces of others. A simple protection technique is a bubble of protection. Visualize a protective bubble of energy….kind of like a sleeping bag. It can be any color you wish, whatever comes to mind as being protective. I usually use purple, but that’s just me. Visualize yourself stepping into this bubble of protective energy, and pulling it up and around you. Pull it all the way over your head so you are completely encased in its protective warmth. Then “zip” it up, just like a sleeping bag. You are now encased in a protective bubble of energy. Then I program my bubble with my intent. “This is my bubble of protective energy. It protects me and keep me safe from unwanted energy. It keeps my energy to myself and keeps others’ energies off me.”


3). Practice having good energy boundaries. Learn where you begin and end and where others begin and end. My energy is mine and belongs to me. I love you, but I will not give you my energy, nor will I take on your energy. Have this as a clear intent. Remember, intent is everything. Energy flows where thoughts go.


4). Practice good physical, interpersonal, and emotional boundaries. Unfortunately, I have found many who let their empathy control them have poor emotional, physical, and relationship boundaries. Practice assertiveness. Learn that it is ok to say no if you don’t want to do something. Don’t let others touch you without your permission. Put yourself first….always. You can’t pour from an empty cup.


5). Be careful with your words and how you speak to yourself. Thinking thoughts like “I feel sorry for them,” gives your energy away to others. You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves.


6). Consider learning a form of energy healing, such as Reiki, to increase your vibration and to help you learn how to channel energy. You never want to give someone your own energy. We want to be channels. Healing energy that we send to others comes from the divine or mother earth. It should not come directly from us.


7). For those people who work with clients and patients, particularly hands-on-healing facilitators who touch clients (nurses, massage therapists, etc) and energy workers and psychics/mediums/intuitives, it is important to separate from your clients when you are done working with them. Cut all psychic ties with the client and separate your aura from the client’s aura. Declare to yourself that the healing session/reading is over.


Remember, you have ultimate control!! I wish you much love and light on your journey!

~Dr. Christina


ABOUT DR CHRISTINA WILKE-BURBACH: Christina is a Holistic Health Psychologist, Certified Aromatherapist, Herbalist, wellness consultant, Reiki Master Teacher, ordained minister, light worker, intuitive, and an Awakening Your Light Body Graduate. Her business is Mind, Soul, and Self LLC based in Wisconsin. She specializes in Holistic Healing and Women’s Wellness. She facilitates women’s wellness retreats, sees clients for individual counseling and healing sessions, and teaches a number of classes and certifications in aromatherapy, herbs, holistic healing, the chakras, Reiki, and Spiritual Psychology. She has a PhD in Health Psychology, a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, 2 bachelor degrees in Psychology and Cultural Anthropology, and a minor in Sociology. Christina has studied with Stan Grof MD, PhD, co-founder of the field of Transpersonal Psychology. She has presented at academic conferences and has taught hundreds of classes, workshops, and group sessions throughout the Midwest and beyond. She is a published author and award winning researcher and healthcare provider. She combines science with intuition. She strongly believes in empowering others to heal themselves. For more information, please visit: https://mindsoulandself.com/