Workshop Part 4

WORKSHOP VIDEO PART 4: Pain and Empathy

In Video Part 4 we hear from Bassam and Itamar of their childhood experiences of pain and of how their families related to it. We see the connection between that response and their recognition of others’ pain today.

Learning Objectives:

  • The association between recognition and empathy and the desire to comfort others’ pain, and peace building.


  • If one's own pain has been recognised and comforted we are likely to recognise and comfort another’s pain.
  • When pain is not recognised or comforted it might lead to dissociation or denial, lack of recognition and empathy, loss of agency or violence.

 Issues to Explore:

  • What is the nature of Bassam’s and Itamar’s respective experience and response to pain?
  • How might we understand the development of resilience in this context?
  • What is the process that Bassam undergoes when someone else is suffering for him?  
  • What might be the role of pain and other’s response to it in peace building?

Facilitating the Workshop:

  1. Refer to the Ethical Mindset diagram and the role of pain.
  1. Think of ways (both constructive and destructive) that people use to try to comfort themselves when in pain

    Examples include eating chocolate, smoking, substance misuse, dissociation, denial, causing others pain, etc. but think of some of your own.

  1. Reflect both on your own pain and on the comfort you have had, and how they might affect your response to the pain of others.

    Develop ways to raise awareness of the other’s pain if the group is in conflict.

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