The art of comforting

In the domain of social support, comforting is typically viewed as a form of help focused on providing relief from emotional distress. This specification is in our view insufficient to qualify comforting. Our work aims to provide a conceptual framework for comforting as a social process, by identifying its basic conditions while distinguishing it from other forms of social support such as help and advice. Special emphasis is placed on the role played by empathic sharing in comforting and being comforted. Then we focus on the comforter's perspective, addressing the typical difficulties implied by the comforting task, with special reference to those intrinsic to the task itself and the role played by empathic sharing in coping with such difficulties. We finally discuss the requirements for effective comforting, the view of comforting as a process of favoring the comfortees' reappraisal of their trouble, and the analogy between comforting and therapeutic help

Publication type: 
Author or Creator: 
Miceli, M.
Mancini, A.
Menna, P.
Pergamon Press., New York, Regno Unito
New ideas in psychology 27 (2009): 343–361. doi:10.1016/j.newideapsych.2009.01.001
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Miceli, M.; Mancini, A.; Menna, P./titolo:The art of comforting/doi:10.1016/j.newideapsych.2009.01.001/rivista:New ideas in psychology/anno:2009/pagina_da:343/pagina_a:361/intervallo_pagine:343–361/volume:27
Resource Identifier:
ISTC Author: 
Maria Miceli's picture
Real name: