The Author, after proposing a definition and a brief historical reconstruction of the concept of empathy, takes into account the scientific contribution that nowadays draw great interest about empathy: those coming from developmental psychology, particularly through the importance of intersubjectivity, and those coming from neurosciences, through the mirror neurons function. It emerges that empathy is a relational construct which involves an intersubjective theming on emotional and affective basis (before than cognitive) mediated by implicit, specifically bodily languages. Those relational characteristics of empathy perfectly fit with the systemic-relational psychotherapy which inspires itself to the relevance of intersubjective relationship, moreover it gives a great importance to the therapeutic use of analogical languages in order to promote an emotional circulation between therapist and family. A clinical case is described in which the empathic activation among the family members and the therapist is promoted by the use of the analogical method of Family Time Sculptures. In the final part of the paper the risk of an overvaluation of empathy is also discussed, particularly when it is considered as a factor that, by itself, can produce change.
Keywords: Empathy; Intersubjectivity; Mirror Neurons; Systemic Therapy; Implicit Languages; Family Time Sculptures