This work situates the notion of empathy broadly within the historical context of its origins and conceptual development, particularly in psychotherapy. It relates the term to its wider usage in popular culture. Chapters survey the contributions of several psychoanalytic writers, from Freud to Kohut, as well as more recent psychoanalytic inquiries. More specific contributions examine aetiology, description, function and epistemology within the psychoanalytic framework. The work concludes with exploration of some ramifications of the "empathic stance" for broader application in forms of therapy.