Cross-Cultural Differences in Empathy, Listening-Styles, Mindfulness and Intersubjectivity in American and Polish Counseling Discourses

Citation

Latawiec, B., Fiorini, J., & Sekułowicz, M. (2023). Cross-Cultural Differences in Empathy, Listening-Styles, Mindfulness and Intersubjectivity in American and Polish Counseling Discourses. International Journal of Special Education, 38(3), 123-138. https://doi.org/10.52291/ijse.2023.38.44

Abstract

Empathy and mindfulness, that require an attentive attitude towards the speakers, plus de-automated listening skills and collaborative discourses of American and Polish counselors-in-training, are analyzed for developmental patterns and cross-cultural comparisons. The results of the mixed methods analysis reveal that American counselors-in-raining outrank their Polish counterparts in both affective and cognitive empathy, suggesting their greater metacognitive and empathic awareness. By contrast, Polish counselors-in-training show greater focus on people and content during listening (rather than time, for example), which suggests their aural mindfulness. Developmental (pre-/post comparisons) and cross-cultural patterns identified in the (meta)discursive analysis of 124 audio-recorded counseling sessions suggest differential conceptualizations of mindfulness and empathy as expressed in professional discourse by the American and Polish counseling-students. While the American counseling discourse features mostly implicit stance, attenuated and sentiment-rich counseling moves, the Polish discourse showcases epistemic/ evidence-rich reasoning and intersubjective, camaraderie-building 'social-lubrication.' Cross-cultural differences reflect different conceptualizations of client needs. Implications are offered for active-listening modification (for the US counseling-students) and multi-dimensionality of empathic-awareness and expression (for the Polish students) in order to enhance mindfulness in counseling-techniques, pedagogy, and/ or therapy-sessions.

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