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Intercultural Communication & Empathy


Suzanne N. Hollman, Psy.D., explores the concept of cultural empathy and offers ways to improve intercultural communication in a ministry setting.

Product Description


We increasingly encounter individuals from other countries and cultures, from brother priests or religious to parishioners and coworkers. Empathy for those who are different from us, and understanding of the cultural complexities that underlie our interactions with them, are essential for effective ministry. Suzanne N. Hollman, Psy.D., reviews the basic elements of intercultural empathy and identifies the signs that someone is experiencing acculturative stress. The presentation includes case studies and discussion of common intercultural challenges in pastoral and community life.

Learning Outcomes

Participants will:

  1. Review the basic concept of acculturation and its psychological impact;
  2. Learn to identify signs of acculturative stress; and
  3. Explore the role of cultural empathy in supporting someone who is experiencing acculturative stress.

Who Should Participate

Priests, deacons, men and women religious, lay ministers, and those involved in vocations, formation, or clergy and ministry personnel needs.

Reflection Questions

Questions for reflection and discussion prior to the learning session are provided below.

  1. How comfortable am I communicating with individuals whose background is quite different from my own?
  2. Have I had cross-cultural encounters where I have felt confused or unsure about how to respond?
  3. Are there intercultural communication strategies that I have used before that have been effective?