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

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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 invaluable resource for empaths and anyone who wants to nurture their empathy and develop coping skills in our high-stimulus world--while fully embracing their gifts of intuition, compassion, creativity, and spiritual connection.

This practical, empowering, and loving book was created to support empaths through their unique challenges and help loved ones better understand the empath's needs and gifts. Dr. Orloff offers crucial practices, including:

- Exercises to help you identify your empath type and where you are on the empathy spectrum
- Tools for protecting yourself from sensory overload, exhaustion, addictions, and compassion fatigue while replenishing your vital energy
- Simple, effective strategies to stop absorbing stress and physical symptoms from others and protect yourself from narcissists and other energy vampires
- How to find the right work that feeds you
- How to navigate intimate relationships without feeling overwhelmed
- Guidance for parenting and raising empathic children
- Awakening the empath's gift of intuition and deepening your spiritual connection to all living beings

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.

245 pages, Hardcover

First published April 4, 2017

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About the author

Judith Orloff

61 books295 followers
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 medicine. She believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve total wellness."

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 643 reviews
Profile Image for Regina.
1,136 reviews2,683 followers
February 12, 2022
The fact that my computer keeps underlining “empath” as a misspelled word indicates to me that people might need its definition. And Oxford’s definition of it makes it clear that this topic might be a little too woo-woo for some readers.

Empath (noun): (chiefly in science fiction) a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual.

Judith Orloff’s 2017 self help book is only going to draw in people who suspect they might be one (such as little ol’ Highly Sensitive Person moi), so I’ll just present her checklist and you can assess yourself, and hence the book, for yourself:

- Have I ever been labeled overly-sensitive, shy, or introverted?

- Do I frequently get overwhelmed or anxious?

- Do I often feel like I don’t fit in?

- Do crowds drain me, and do I need time alone to revive myself?

- Do noise, odors and nonstop talkers annoy me?

- Do I have chemical sensitivities or a low tolerance for scratchy clothes?

- Do I prefer taking my own car places so I can leave early if I need to?

- Do I overeat to cope with stress?

- Am I afraid of being suffocated by intimate relationships?

- Do I startle easily?

- Do I react strongly to caffeine or medications?

- Do I have a low threshold for pain?

- Do I tend to socially isolate?

- Do I absorb other people’s stress, emotions or symptoms?

- Am I overwhelmed by multitasking, preferring to do one thing at a time?

- Do I replenish myself in nature?

- Do I need a long time to recuperate after being with difficult people?

- Do I feel better in small towns than large cities?

- Do I prefer one-on-one interactions over large groups?

I answered yes to 12 of these questions, which apparently means I have “strong empath tendencies.” Yet after reading this whole book, I pretty much just took away that I need to eat more protein??? So this is a "guide" that helped me feel seen, even though it didn’t really provide new tools to help me see... let alone survive.

Blog: https://www.confettibookshelf.com/
Profile Image for Janessa.
81 reviews
May 15, 2017
The book I needed at the age of ten. Insightful. Informative. Compassionate.
Profile Image for Nika.
116 reviews113 followers
March 15, 2022
2.5 stars

The author attempts to define what is an empath and how one can determine whether she or he is an empath. Empaths soak up others’ emotions, positive and negative, like a sponge.

An empath’s body is different from other people’s. We feel everything. Our bodies are porous so we absorb the positive and negative energies around us into our muscles, tissues, and organs. This can affect our health in many important ways. On the positive side, we’re able to sense other people’s vitality, happiness, and love within ourselves. This feels amazing and is such good medicine! However, we can also feel other people’s physical discomfort, stress, and negative emotions, such as frustration, anger, and fear (even when they’re unspoken). As empaths, we can get tired and sick when we’re around toxic people, noise, violence, rushing, and yelling.

Research shows that high sensitivity affects approximately 20 percent of the population, though the degree of one’s sensitivity can vary. Empaths have often been labeled as “overly sensitive” and told to “get a thicker skin.” As children and adults, we are shamed for our sensitivities rather than supported. We may experience chronic exhaustion and want to retreat from the world because it often feels so overwhelming. But at this point in my life, I wouldn’t give up being an empath for anything. It lets me sense the secrets of the universe and know passion beyond my wildest dreams.

She provides the reader with a set of questions that may help them to assess their level of empathy.

The book offers specific strategies to manage the challenges of being an empath. I must say that some of the recommendations somewhat surprised me.

If you are in an open space or chaotic office, surround the outer edge of your desk with plants or family or pet photos to create a psychological barrier. Sacred objects such as a statue of Quan Yin, St. Francis, or the Buddha, sacred beads, crystals, or protective stones can set an energetic boundary too.
Does the author suggest that empaths must necessarily believe in the power of sacred beads, crystals, or protective stones?

It is highly important for sensitive people to find the right work environment and be passionate about their work. Empaths are known to be very productive if a job suits their temperament. Advertising, public relations, politics, and executives who manage large teams are among stressful careers for empaths. They tend to prioritize being self-employed business owners, editors, writers, artists, and being engaged in other creative professions.

General types of empaths, according to Judith Orloff, include physical empaths, intuitive empaths, and emotional empaths. She distinguishes between introverted and extroverted empaths. Most empaths are introverted, but some are extroverted. Some empaths are a combination of both.
Profile Image for Rachelklara of YHVH.
92 reviews15 followers
July 19, 2017
"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 these forms of self-care into their lives."
"The people who are sensitive in life may suffer much more than those who are insensitive. But if they understand & go beyond their suffering, they will discover extraordinary things." Jiddu Krishnamurti

1. Symptom or Emotion Mine or Someone Else? (Grow Healthier)
2. Breathe & Reject Negativity (Lower Lumbar)
3. Step Away (20ft+)
4. Limit Physical Contact (Eyes & Touch)
5. Water Detox (Epsom Salt & Lavender)
6. Limits & Boundaries (No.) (Retrain Communication Patterns)
7. Cord Cutting
8. Alone Time (Decrease External Stimulation)
9. Time Outdoors/Nature/Natural (Barefoot. Retreats)
10. Sleep & Power Naps (Restful Environment. Calm Time Before Rest. Wake Slowly)
11. Online FASTING
12. Traveling (Shield. Focus on Feet. Cleansing Prayer. Water & Protein. Breath. Meditate)
13. Heart Meditation (Hand. Heart. Shepherd Jesus: Protected. Loved. Safe)
14. Fully Present in Body (Temple of the H.S.)

"Feel satiated by the nourishing love that is dissolving your fears & discomforts. Enjoy this feeling of self-soothing. You have the power to stabilize your mood & energy level in mediation. Inhale & exhale completely, & know that all is well." God loves me & He is in control.
"A lack of mutual understanding just isn't viable for empaths if we want to feel good."
"In a soul mate relationship, both people are dedicated to their own & the other's growth. A soul mate isn't perfect.... (When) choosing who we get involved with, we must decide which set of problems we're most okay handling!... (The relationship) has the ability to teach us to open our hearts & heal our wounds in ourselves."
"Empaths feel a soul connection with someone that's more about energy than words. Be aware of the way you relate to a person's energy. Notice whether the person's words match their energy.... Do not give your heart to people unless they show themselves to be worthy of your love."
Emotional Types: Intellectual/Intense Thinker, Empath/Emotional Sponge, Rock/Strong/Silent: "It's not that Rocks don't have feelings; it's that they need loving support to bring them out."

7 Types of Energy Vampires:
1. Narcissist/Sociopaths/Psychopaths
2. Rageaholic
3. Victim
4. Drama/Histrionics
5. Control Freaks & Critics
6. Nonstop Talker
7. Passive-Aggressive
"But when we encounter (toxic relationships), let's do everything possible to protect ourselves & to be the bigger person as we learn to forgive the part of others that has forgotten how to love."

"Quiet, spacious & orderly space"
"'Electro-sensitives' are particularly susceptible to this. Electromagnetic radiation from cell phones & computers affect the electromagnetic fields around our brains & hearts."

"As a child I felt myself to be alone & I am still. Because I know things & must hint at things that others apparently know nothing of, & for the most part do not want to know. Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible." ~Dr. Carl Jung

"You are not causing the events you are able to predict, & there is nothing wrong with you. Your sensitivities simply allow you to know certain things that defy logic & the limited definitions many people have of what is possible. Know that being an intuitive empath is natural, beautiful, full of wonder, & will connect you with all of life."

"Whenever we contact intuition, we are in sacred time, not linear reality. The ancient Greeks had two concepts of time. Chronos is clock-time, which is measured in seconds, minutes, hours, months & years.... Chronos is often regarded as a realm wrought with conflict & difficulties.
On the other hand, Kairos is sacred time, which refers to the right or supreme moment when opportune events can occur. It is a nonsequential & infinite state, outside linear time & space. You may know it as 'being in the zone'. Kairos is the realm where synchronicities happen, those moments of perfect timing. It is also the realm of deja vu, that sense of familiarity with a place or person you've encountered before in linear time. Kairos is the magical location of timeless, mystical wisdom. You can't travel to it using a physical map, but it can be reached with intuition. Kairos is the domain of intuitive empaths."
"The empath's journey is the adventure of a lifetime. Sensitive people have much to be grateful for. You are able to experience exquisite passion & joy. You can perceive the big picture on a deep level. You are attuned to the beauty, poetry, & energy of life, & your compassion gives you the capacity to help others.... Your sensitivities allow you to be caring, vulnerable & aware being."
"As empaths, you also have the power to positively change yourself, your family, & the rest of the world. In my medical practice, I've seen how empaths are often 'chosen' to break the generational patterns of negativity in their families. They don't necessarily volunteer for this role on a conscious level, but it's nonetheless their destiny to fulfill it. When empaths heal themselves & say 'yes' to honoring their sensitivities, they are saying 'no' to patterns of abuse, neglect, & addiction that have been repeated in their relatives. The intergenerational transmission of pain stops with them. Through their recovery & the acceptance of their gifts, empaths are the one who can repair the greater familial whole. Mindful, conscious people are the most effective agents of change."
Profile Image for Stephanie Middleton.
136 reviews9 followers
January 11, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Marisa.
15 reviews2 followers
July 27, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Snow White.
158 reviews
December 20, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Amy.
Author 1 book1,030 followers
October 4, 2017
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 boundaries in your life so that you don’t compromise yourself in the process.

There were so many good things that I got out of this book from visualizations to honoring the ways that I’m wired and also how to deflect negative people and energy. It helps establish better routines for unwinding and learning what does and does not work for empaths.

Not sure if you are one? This test might help! In the meantime, I can’t recommend it enough if you are struggling. This would also be a great read for the HSP (highly sensitive person) club too!
Profile Image for Janet.
2,013 reviews20 followers
April 17, 2017
"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 member, "I support you, but can only listen for a few minutes if you keep rehashing the same issues. Perhaps you could benefit from finding a therapist to help you."*Say No with a smile. *Set limits with body language.
"Take a personal retreat, away from the world, at least once a year." (+Author offers weekend retreat @ Esalen Institute in Big Sur.)
Profile Image for Kristina Abretti.
33 reviews1 follower
May 8, 2019
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 taking of people’s energies - not me).

I did find out that my mom and brother - who are highly introverted and need a lot of time alone - happen to be empaths (I had them do the quiz), so I guess it was enlightening in that way. But for a survival guide, and given this is also for LOVED ONES of empaths, I found so little I could bring to them.

I’m sure the survival techniques (affirmations, crystals, etc.) could work for some, but I found it hard to take anything away that could be useful - unless you’re very into meditation or very, very spiritual / into mystical type rituals. The part on plant empaths vs. other empaths lost me entirely. I’m glad I read it because I feel like I understand my mom and brother a bit more, but when I told them about the book, they didn’t want to read it.
Profile Image for Anna.
11 reviews
June 9, 2019
Was hoping for some advice about managing raging empathy for ALL THE THINGS but all I got was a bunch of trivial ("don't let yourself be manipulated by a narcissist" - thanks, never thought of doing that! /s), plain odd ("put a meditation pillow in front of your fridge because empaths tend to overeat") and entirely unscientific advice ("practice earthing"). A lot of the book is a BuzzFeed-style listicle, giving important and vital advice, such as "stay hydrated on a plane".

The author claims to be a psychiatrist who helps people overcome problems caused by excessive empathy, but sentences such as "For years, I used to change hotel rooms frequently to find the one with the best energy, but then one day my Daoist teacher told me that it’s more empowering to stick with the room I’m given and to practice clearing the energy myself" leave the reader honestly baffled as to what the hell they are reading.

Simply: a world of NO.
Profile Image for howsoonisnow.
262 reviews6 followers
August 19, 2019
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 she has run out of content for this somewhat insubstantial book, she resorts to repeating herself completely verbatim, in the last 1/5 of the guide, literally copying and pasting earlier passages. There is also some embarrassingly shameless Dr Phil-esque self-promotion within the book itself, in the way of suggestions for readers to form an empaths' self-help group, with Orloff's book and audiobook as sole discussion points. Empaths, look elsewhere for guidance.
Profile Image for Magdelanye.
1,607 reviews192 followers
May 12, 2020
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 probably if you had been told these things often enough, you might come to believe them. Maybe you might get so sick of people telling you to stop being so sensitive that you did stop. Rather than creeping people out you might have had to struggle to suppress your peculiar abilities.

Since we may not know how to handle this sensory overload, we numb ourselves to shut off our thoughts and feelings, to diminish the empathy we experience. p57

It may be important here to distinguish between empathy and compassion. It is to be hoped that everyone has the capacity to feel compassion, the ability for mercy. Translated into action, compassionate people find it easy to identify with others and feel moved beyond self-interest.
Some people seem to be stunted in the ability to feel compassion, perhaps because of their own insecurity. Many restrict their compassion to those they imagine most worthy of it. It is easier to feel compassion towards someone you know or someone in pain, especially if they are not making demands on you; it may require more effort to feel compassion for someone sleeping on the street that you have to pass to get to the restaurant where you have a reservation; it is hard sometimes to feel compassion for people who are narcissistic, shallow or flagrantly successful, and easy to resent for their relative beauty or exceptional talents.

Compassion is a tenderness extended towards others that cancels out all feelings of revulsion, pity, outrage, fear, envy or any kind of judgment or need to assert superiority. It is sensitivity to the situation and feelings of another, without labelling or condescension. It has no need to condemn; rather, compassion links people together. Compassionate people naturally want to contribute to the good in the world.

Empaths, when they are healthy and encouraged, are generally compassionate people. If they have not learned to refine their gifts, especially if they have been abused, ill or traumatized as a result, in self-defence they may appear otherwise. Indeed, in response to feeling overcome with sorrow for the world and the extent of the suffering, some empaths, especially vulnerable without guidance or support, choose to isolate or shut down completely. Empaths do not, for example, only feel for the pain of another; the pain is felt as one's own. This is especially true of emotional pain. Empaths pick up on moods, lies, sorrow, fury, pain, longing, hypocrisy; these abilities are not limited in time and space.

We often have trouble distinguishing someone else's discomfort from our own. Also, some empaths have profound spiritual and intuitive experiences....some are even able to communicate with animals, nature, and their inner guides. p6

Extra sensitivity to environment, light and sound and smell and tactile sensations; sensing auras and psychic disturbances; predicting the future or hidden present: all of these skills are not generally acknowledged or validated. Even during eras that doted on the mystical and sought out otherworldly entities with their seances and occult science, these were not quite respectable. Empaths have been worshipped and enshrined; they have been burned at the stake, drowned, stoned, buried alive, as witches. Modern science has it's own views as documented in their book of diagnostic classification. If your doctor is convinced that you are a witch, or maybe just depressed or angry or confused you will be proscribed medication.

Along comes Judith Orloff. Bridging both worlds, she is a qualified doctor of the Western Medical system, and she has cultivated the empathic abilities she was born with. How she came to achieve this is personably told in her autobiography, Second Sight: An Intuitive Psychiatrist Tells Her Extraordinary Story and Shows You How To Tap Your Own Inner Wisdom. By trusting her intuition, she developed it. Having the credentials and on the right path, she has been able to break the shameful stereotypes that have branded empaths as perpetual outsiders. More and more hospitals are employing medical intuitives and educating their staff. Executives are bringing in empathic consultants and sponsoring workshops on developing empathy.

This can only be a good thing, right?
Well, um, forgive me if I worry that the lovely and brave JO is going to be shuffled by marketers into a trendy pop flavour of the day and made into an industry. Business has a way of siphoning peoples ideas of content to use for advertising. I am not sure that business is compatible with empathy. Does it really matter if your boss is empathic when you are fired? Or, for that matter, if your landlord is empathic while informing you that you are now going to have to leave by the end of the next month and you have no where to go? Surely empathy is a quality that would prevent those scenarios from actualizing. Surely empathy is a quality that indeed is needed to bring this world back into equilibrium.

If you are an empath, you no longer have to feel ashamed or to automatically hide or ignore your abilities. JO calls them gifts. Hopefully this book will help you stop encountering them as a curse.

And if you find this book early enough it may save you some anguish as JO navigates the reader through an array of useful strategies, practical tips and exercises for handling the often awkward, bewildering and overwhelming signals that empaths attract, including how to deal with energy vampires and toxic overload. She also opens up the nuances of empathic ability and she offers do it yourself diagnostics. JO normalizes the abstract without explaining away the mystery of of it all.

If I wanted more from this book, because of its importance I am bumping it up to 5 stars in the GR system, though it would be 6/7 in mine. The format was so standard as to verge on generic. I had an additional problem with my hard cover library copy because it was water damaged and the pages were all crinkled. It would be nice to see an illustrated edition, if not an arty coffee table version (please not) something with illustrations that reflected a contemplative mood rather than a text book. More seriously, I found a few of chapters, especially the one on addiction, skimpy. I was often reminded throughout this book that it is a primer and that it is still important to reassure the general public that empathy can co-exist with the mainstream. If some people have classified this book as woo-woo, they are probably not empaths.

JO crams a lot into this trailblazing effort. She may urge the reader to try some thing or another, but her manner is to wake up her readers curiosity and nudge rather that lecture or push. I can't wait for more.

The more you use these strategies, the more energized you'll feel and the less prone you'll be to burnout. p179
Combining the knowledge of conventional science and the wisdom of intuitive medicine does a great service. p180
6 reviews
June 13, 2017
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 one is an empath, one is not the the many personality types an empath needs to protect him or herself from. Being an empath is not mutually exclusive from being a controlling or passive aggressive person.
Profile Image for Avalon.
117 reviews48 followers
November 2, 2019
*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 yourself as a “relationship empath” or “earth empath,” etc? Aside from these minor criticisms I do appreciate that the author wrote a somewhat practical guide for those still discovering and navigating their journey as a HSP and/or empath.
Profile Image for Logan L.
30 reviews10 followers
June 28, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Amy.
22 reviews2 followers
February 9, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Ina.
78 reviews7 followers
July 9, 2020
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 empath, plant empath, dream empath, telepathic empath, etc, which you see throughout the book, is even worse. Most people that would self-identify as 'empaths' would probably fit into several of these categories and so could many people who we wouldn't think of as 'empaths'. Again, this renders the concept completely meaningless. It also just sounds juvenile.
I think it's far more useful to say that someone is highly sensitive to certain stimuli or experiences and to then point out which ones. It provides the same level of validation and understanding, without adding a nonsensical concept that oft incites unhealthy ego boosts.

Other than that, the book is pretty shallow in its ideas and observations and it's too heavy-handed on the woo-woo in my opinion. However, the self-care practices are useful and if you've struggled with your sensitivity your entire life (and this is your first book on the subject), I believe it could be very eye-opening and validating for you. I wouldn't recommend it as a good or particularly psychologically healthy resource on the subject though.
428 reviews10 followers
February 5, 2019
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 or finding the energy at parties absolutely draining. And I’ve never considered how being an empath could be not just a drawback but actually a positive attribute explaining a lot of the joy and creativity I find in life. Really eye-opening and so, so comforting to have a viewpoint adjusted.
May 11, 2017
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 was very well written. On a personal note this knowledge has personally and profoundly changed my life.

Until now I always felt bad and inadequate for being so sensitive. I always came from the perspective I have to try and "fix myself." While all along I knew I had gifts and I was utilizing them, the very center of who I was I knew instinctively was missing. Because of this book, clearly written and from the heart, I can accept myself fully for who I am. I am not flawed, a person who needs fixing. I actually have learned that I should enhance my natural gifts of sensitivity. Ironic and deeply liberating.

Many, many thanks, Judith. You have been a beautiful light in my life.
Profile Image for Sonia.
Author 2 books49 followers
September 7, 2017
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," which is often perceived as an automatic sign of weakness. I definitely appreciated the way the book highlighted the strengths of empaths as well as the ways they need to protect themselves in a world that can be overwhelming.

I think the book is less effective in its "strategies," many of which are very basic and not very well-described forms of meditation or visualization. Orloff has a tendency to tell you to do something without actually telling you HOW to do it, which I found frustrating. There's also some stuff in here that's a bit TOO woo-woo for my taste - and I have a pretty high bar. I'm just never going to get behind the healing crystals, you guys.
Profile Image for Alysa Craigie.
135 reviews2 followers
August 15, 2020
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.
Profile Image for chris.
469 reviews
February 25, 2020
if you're unfamiliar with self-help, alternative, or energy medicine this book MIGHT be helpful if you're open to it.
and honestly the best way to help yourself if you're sensitive is to heal your traumas and your triggers.
didn't like: don't like how this is organized or the lack of, it felt more like chapters full of checklists, also the "are you an empath" questionnaires seemed very one-dimensional and shallow, there wasn't much in the way of tools to help those who don't believe in "source" or crystals, etc.
liked: some good tips.
better books: energy vampires by dorothy harbour, energy medicine by donna eden, the sociopath next door by martha stout, the healing code by alexander loyd, the emotion code by bradley nelson, psycho-cybernetics by maxwell malt, the body keeps the score, becoming supernatural by joe dispenza, etc.
June 4, 2018
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 that may drain my positive energy. And how AWESOME it is to know that there are a community of US in the world!!
Profile Image for Jenny.
46 reviews1 follower
January 14, 2019
One of the best self growth books I've ever read; felt like it was written just for me!
Profile Image for ansvarcova.
177 reviews360 followers
March 11, 2020
Ze začátku jsem byla nadšená, postupem ale mé nadšení opadalo, kniha na mě začala být až moc esoterická a mimo odbornou sféru - některé části jsem dokonce přeskakovala. V první části ale byla řečena spousta věcí ohledně citlivosti vůči emocím a psychickým stavům druhých lidí (autorka v knize dokonce uvádí pár tipů, jak se proti tomu bránit, to mi přišlo super). Pak se ale kniha začala stáčet směrem /někteří citliví lidé umí komunikovat i s rostlinami.../ což rozhodně nevyvracím, někdo to tak třeba může mít, na mě to ale bylo trochu moc.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
1,980 reviews52 followers
December 20, 2019
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 water as a soother, sometimes bathing several times in a day.
Profile Image for Iona  Stewart.
769 reviews244 followers
June 28, 2019
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 have profound spiritual and intuitive experiences.

There are various types of empaths, physical empaths, emotional empaths, intuitive empaths, telepathic empaths and so on, and the author provides full descriptions of all these types.

Since I too am an empath, the book elucidates many things for me, including why I never have been able to stand, or participate in, small talk.

The book made me feel understood.

One patient told the author; “Only one-to-one contact with people is bearable.”

Judith gives us a shielding visualization for empaths, which only takes five minutes or so and helps us to block out toxic energy. By this means we can put ourselves in a safe bubble where we won’t be drained.
We need to ground and earth – again, a visualization is provided.

It is a blessing to be an empath. Our presence, our sweetness, our tender appreciation for people and all of life are gifts. We should appreciate ourselves, our openness and our ability to feel.

We are special and perfect.

Here is one of the author’s empath affirmations:

“I vow to honor my sensitivities and treat myself lovingly as I explore what it means to be an empath and embrace my gifts. I will appreciate myself every day.”

We are provided with valuable chapters about relationships, addictions, protection from narcissists and other energy vampires, parenting, work, etc etc.

I highly recommend that you read/purchase this book if you suspect you might be an empath, or know that you are. Five stars.
Profile Image for imane.
463 reviews378 followers
June 28, 2018

-لا اتقبل الانتقاد او النصيحة كيفما كانت سواء بحسن نية او سوء نية
-ارى النملة فيلا واضخم الامور احزن اكثر من اللازم وافرح اكثر من اللازم
-التقط المشاعر السلبية المحيطة بي وهذا يؤثر على طاقتي وعلى صحتي
-لا استطيع استيعاب فكرة الصراع من اجل البقاء وارى الاله على صورتي اله رحيم عطوف خير
-استطيع التعرف على معادن الناس بسهولة لاني اشعر بما يدور بداخلهم
-اعتبر الاخر هو انا افرح لفرحه واتالم لالمه
- مهما كانت ديانة الاخر او افكاره او معتقداته اعتبره اخا لي واظن ان الحب قادر على اصلاح كل شيء وعوض ان نتصارع يجب ان نساعد بعضنا البعض
-يجب ان اتقبل ان الاخرين لا يشبهونني وان العالم ليس كما اراه انا وان صورة الاله العطوف الرحيم الخير ليست صورة متفق عليها من طرف الجميع
-يجب ان افهم اني لست مركز الكون وان مشاعري ليست مهمة لتلك الدرجة واتوقف عن تضخيم الامور
-يجب ان افهم اني مسؤولة عن حياتي ولست مسؤولة عن حياة الاخرين
-يجب ان ابتعد عن من ينقلون لي الطاقة السلبية وعن من يشتكون كثيرا
-يجب ان افهم ان الحب في بعض الاحيان غير قادر على اصلاح انسان اناني وان البعض يعيشون في حالة الصراع من اجل البقاء ولا يشبعون
-يجب ان افهم ان الانتقادات تكون مفيدة في بعض الاحيان
-يجب ان اهتم بنفسي قبل ان اهتم بالاخرين
-يجب ان افهم ان لدي نقاط ضعف ونقاط قوة كاي انسان
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