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The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  3,628 ratings  ·  420 reviews
What is the difference between having empathy and being an empath? "Having empathy means our heart goes out to another person in joy or pain," says Dr. Judith Orloff. "But for empaths it goes much further. We actually feel others' emotions, energy, and physical symptoms in our own bodies, without the usual defenses that most people have." The Empath's Survival Guide is an ...more
Hardcover, 245 pages
Published April 4th 2017 by Sounds True
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Pebbles (Similar to what Kimberlie commented,) I wouldn't recommend them reading it alone...the frontal cortex of the brain is not fully formed in females unt…more(Similar to what Kimberlie commented,) I wouldn't recommend them reading it alone...the frontal cortex of the brain is not fully formed in females until about 25 years old.

I believe this book should be read with good critical thinking skills in mind, and from a place where the reader already has some well-esablished core values and beliefs, so they know where to file the information in this book and can conscientiously decide whether they accept certain things the book outlines as fact.

I'm not saying the content is all good or all bad; in fact I personally really liked the book. I simply want to clarify that a lot of the content presented in The Empath's Survival Guide needs to be filtered and individually accepted or rejected by the reader. Being well-grounded beforehand will help the reader navigate this book without overwhelm or being blindsided. (less)

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JV (semi-hiatus)
Nov 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2018
"Not everyone will understand you, but that’s okay. Search for kindred spirits who will, and you will understand them too. It’s a beautiful feeling of connection."

I have to thank my spirit animal Spongebob (a sea sponge and therefore, belongs to Kingdom Animalia) here for clinically demonstrating what it means to have sensory overload most of the time. Being an empath all my life, I felt that I have been both blessed and cursed in various ways. Speaking of my worthy spirit animal, I am liter
Dec 06, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
I absolutely hated this book. It was recommended to me by my new therapist and it has definitely served the purpose of making me distrust my therapist and any continued treatment.

First the positives:
- There were some good tools for setting up alone time with your romantic partner. It can be very difficult for people to express that particular need because of a tendency for others to react poorly. I felt that the book addressed that fairly well.
- There was a suggestion for professionals in a c
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The book I needed at the age of ten. Insightful. Informative. Compassionate.
Rachel Klara Richardson Chapman
"If you feel as if you don't fit into this world. It's because you're here to create a better one."
"Along with shielding, daily self-care for empaths involves eating well & minimizing stress. In addition, certain actions are a balm for both body & soul. These include taking quiet alone time, associating with positive people, being in nature, immersing yourself in water to clear negative energy, meditating, exercising, & defining limits with energy vampires. Empaths need to regularly incorporate
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Do you ever read a book and think "This is my life?" That was this book for me. It took me a long time to read through it, because I kept stopping every few pages to just let the truthbombs sink in. ...more
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Sometimes I need to go off on my own. I'm not sad. I'm not angry. I'm just recharging my batteries."
"Empath Affirmation: In a quiet state of self-acceptance, tell yourself: I deserve to be in a loving relationship where I feel comfortable. I deserve to express my true needs. I deserve to have my sensitivities respected. I deserve to be heard."
"Protect Yourself from Victims (KAD): *Set compassionate and clear boundaries. *Use the Three-Minute Phone Call (Listen briefly then tell your family me
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Empaths are people who take on other people’s emotions, energies, and even physical symptoms of others because they feel things so deeply. I recently became aware that this has been contributing to a lot of my own health issues (both mentally and physically) and I needed guidance on how to feel empathy towards others without compromising my own well-being. The Empath’s Survival Guide is an incredible book on learning ways to manage these gifts, but also your ability to create space and bound ...more
Stephanie Middleton
Jan 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: grown-up-nonfic, dnf
No. Just NO! I am a highly empathic person and a highly sensitive person, but have zero time for mumbo jumbo pseudo-science presented as "fact" in a poorly written self help book. ...more
Snow White
Too floaty for my taste, but if you read over the new age crap there are actually a couple of useful tips to be filtered out from this book.
Kristina Abretti
May 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
Context: I’m very sensitive. People always tell me I need a tougher skin. When I read or hear about something sad, it stays with me for a very long time and I can’t think about anything else. I was recommended books on being highly sensitive because of this. But turns out I’m not an empath.

I related to some things (the parts on giving and receiving love), but most things I couldn’t relate to at all (the sensory overload, the needing distance from those with negative emotions, the sensing and tak
Mira LaBelle
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who need to learn to protect their sensitivities as empaths.
Recommended to Mira by: KPFA
I found the strategies helpful to protect oneself against people who will trample over your sensitivities. The assessments the author created to determine one's degree of being and empath and to determine what kind of empath one is, I found lacking. I was surprised at this. The author is a trained physician and has a background in science. Many people could answer yes to many of the questions on the assessment and not be empaths. A good assessment tool is valid and reliable.

The book assumes if o
We are in the midst of an evolution of human consciousness, and empaths are the path forgers.... It's vital that we learn how to avoid feeling overwhelmed so that we can fully shine our power on the world. Empaths and all sensitive people are pioneers on the forefront of a new way of being for humankind. p26

Imagine that you had grown up being told that you were weird, crazy, stupid, or evil (possibly all of these at once and worse) because you could sense things other people could not. Quite pro
Leslie Goddard
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of those books that made me say, holy crap, that’s me. So many things that I’ve always thought were just me being overly sensitive snapped into a new perspective. I’m not totally convinced by her arguments about telepathy and seeing into the future, but the idea that some people are deeply attuned to the feelings of others that they take on those feelings themselves makes so much sense. I feel less weird about things like feeling overwhelmingly in pain when I drop off my dogs at the kennel o ...more
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
*3.5 stars rounded up*

The Empath Survival Guide is a solid intro for sensitive souls who suspect they might be empaths. Apparently I was more well-versed on this topic than I thought because most of the information was stuff I already knew. Sometimes I disagreed with Orloff about her ideas regarding empaths. For example, I don’t think that dividing people up into categories is helpful, and some of said categories were downright odd or seemingly irrelevant. Is it really necessary to label yoursel
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
I despise yoga speak and talk of auras, pranas, etc. so I don’t think I’ll be able to finish this book even though I was hoping it could help me. I may read the part about time vampires, I have a phone one I need to deal with, tuning out isn’t enough. I wanted to love this book but can’t get past the mystical writing style.
sandy wisniewski
Superbly Written

This book was recommended to me when I took a workshop on advanced mediumsHip with a world renounced medium. I am an energy healer and have been studying and practicing mediumship.

With all my studying, classes and private therapy I had never heard of an Empath. Sure, I knew the word but really never knew what it meant. The medium who recommended this book said I was an Empath. Intrigued, I bought the book.

The book was easy to follow, understand and the exercises very helpful. It
Logan L
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Conveniently compiled at the end of the book are all of the exercises for helping build up empathic defenses and tools for showing yourself compassion that are distributed through the book, there are some helpful things there. I sped read the rest of the book, this is one of those authors that I find truly grating. Major negative points for the uninformed and careless fat-shaming section.
Alysa Craigie
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a good book for anyone to read in order to better understand themselves and others. It's a little mumbo-jumbo-y (phrases like "emotional vampire" and "healing spirit" end up in every chapter), but if you keep an open mind as to what the author is meaning, it comes through well. Rooted in Eastern philosophy, the book is a refreshing difference from the more Western view of just pushing through struggles and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. ...more
Sep 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I found this book very validating in its description of the characteristics of empaths, and even just in its acknowledgment that people do in fact exist who are deeply affected by the energy and emotions of others. I recognized a lot of things about myself that I've spent a great deal of time denying, and identified qualities in others who I know are also highly empathic. I think books like this are helpful because our society is so intent on belittling and attacking people for being "sensitive, ...more
Manecia Mullins
WOW!...what a life changer. I had no idea that all of these years that my ability to be able to read, feel or absorb other people's energy actually had a name. After reading this book I felt empowered knowing that I had a special gift that allows me to connect to people especially who need help processing negative emotions...which is no surprise that I am a Relationship/Life Coach. Also, knowing that I am an empath also helps me to define and set boundaries for negative people and circumstances ...more
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best self growth books I've ever read; felt like it was written just for me! ...more
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! Thanks to Gina Schampers for the recommendation. I have to own this for my personal library. From the dust jacket: "For any sensitive person who's been told to 'grow a thick skin', here is a lifelong guide for staying fully open while building resilience, exploring your gifts of depth and compassion, and feeling welcome and valued by a world that desperately needs what you have to offer." Yes, this book delivers on this promise. *Water as healing was SPOT ON for me: I have a love of wa ...more
Iona  Stewart
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book about all aspects of being an empath.

The author, a psychiatrist and herself an empath, compares empaths to Highly Sensitive People (HSPs). Some of their traits are “a low threshold for stimulation, the need for alone time, sensitivity to light, sound and smell, and an aversion to large groups”. She fails to mention, however, that these traits are also found on those on the autism spectrum.

She explains that empaths, as opposed to HSPs, absorb other people’s energies and
Aug 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
Orloff's guide contains a mix of mundane, stock-standard and uninspired suggestions (eating well, exercising regularly etc), as well as a lot of forgettable newfangled woo woo and garbled new-age spirituality, such as placing statues of Quan Yin on ones desk. Much of the advice is annoyingly repetitive too, especially details of meditative practice, which involves Orloff repeatedly telling readers to count and breathe slowly in and out, at almost all signs of trouble in their lives. As though sh ...more
Monika Kaushik
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Being a full blown empath myself, I learnt a lot from this book. Has helped me understand myself better and I feel really proud to be an empath. The skills/ techniques mentioned to keep yourself protected from negativity has been of great help. Good read for those who feel they don’t fit in this world.
Marilynn Farmer
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book explained A LOT of things for me. If you're an Empath or think you might be an Empath or know someone who is, this book by Judith Orloff is a worthwhile read. That being said, some of her coping strategies are a bit New Age-ish for my taste, but I definitely plan to give some of her visualization techniques a try. ...more
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mind blowing and spot on! So glad I read this. I feel like I have some very good understanding about myself and also some good strategies for not getting so bogged down.
Stephanie Barko
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the June 2020 selection for South Austin Spiritual Book Group.

Orloff has created a surprisingly useful book, whilst revealing her own struggles and victories as an empath herself.
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
My biggest issue with the book is this:
I don't think it's useful to label yourself or others as 'an empath'.

Empathy is a general psychological ability that all humans, except those suffering from severe cases of a few specific psychological disorders, possess. Consequently, the term 'empath' is meaningless. It can also potentially lead to overidentification with the label and to self-aggrandizement, which I believe Orloff herself is guilty of.
The further break-down into categories like sexual em
Dori Rachel
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A needed book for those that have been told to get a "thicker skin·"

I have been a fan of Dr. Orloff's since l read "Second Sight" where I learned about being an Empath. From there, I discovered I was an HSP (Highly Sensitive Personality). I have always been told that I am too sensitive and that I need to grow a thicker skin. I had a friend that would become annoyed when I turned away from roadkill. She insisted that I send blessings. It was more than just the sight of the animal, but the fact I
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Judith Orloff is an American board-certified psychiatrist and is the author of the New York Times bestseller Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life and SECOND SIGHT: An Intuitive Psychiatrist Tells Her Extraordinary Story and Shows You How To Tap Your Own Inner Wisdom.

Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with intuition and energy m

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