6 Types of Empaths – Which One Are You?

Defined as the capacity to recognize, understand, and share the feelings of another, we’re taught the value and importance of empathy even from a young age. But do you know what it means to be an empath? Not only that, did you know that there are many different types of empaths as well?

Psychology defines an empath as “a highly sensitive individual with a keen ability to sense the thoughts and feelings of those around them” (Kossak, 2015). Empaths are also characterized by their compassionate, sensitive, emotionally open, and insightful natures. Not only are they great listeners and effective communicators, but many of them tend to be highly skilled at mediating conflict, counselling others, and giving advice as well.

With that said, if you feel you might be an empath and want to know more about what kind of empath in particular, here is a brief description of each to help you better identify which of the 6 major categories you fall into:

1. Emotional Empath

First and foremost, we have the most common type of empath: the “emotional empath.” This is what most people think of when you ask them to define what an empath is. An emotional empath is someone who can easily pick up on the feelings of others and may even mimic or absorb them! They are easily influenced by the moods of those around them, and as a result, may come across as sensitive, erratic, and finicky with their emotions.

Because it doesn’t matter whether it’s a loved one or a total stranger; an emotional empath is able to read the emotions of others and connect with them in a way that whatever it is they’re feeling, they can feel it just as vividly, too. But emotional empaths aren’t the only types of empaths out there — which brings us to our next point!

2. Physical Empath

Have you ever seen someone else get hurt and winced as if it hurt you too? Or gotten tired just by watching someone else overexert themselves? Do you feel like throwing up whenever you see someone else throw up? Or immediately felt unwell when those around you began to experience symptoms of sickness? If you answered yes, then you might be what is known as a “physical empath”.

Also called “medical empaths” sometimes, physical empaths are just as in tune with the physical conditions of others as well their own. And as a result, they can easily pick up on someone else’s sickness, pain, tension, discomfort, and overall sense of well-being. This goes beyond naturally communicable gestures as well, such as yawning or laughing. 

3. Intuitive Empath

Next we have the “intuitive empath.” A rare and unique gift, intuitive empathy (or “claircognizance”, as it is sometimes known as) is all about reading and sensing a person’s “energy” by turning inward and listening to our subconscious to better understand and perceive everything around us. Simply put, it means using our intuition to see and learn more about other people than they may reveal. And unlike emotional empaths, intuitive empaths tend to focus more on the reasons behind a person’s feelings than the experience of it. As a result, other people may see them as incredibly insightful, perceptive, and wise beyond their years.

4. Dream Empath

Have you ever asked anyone where they get their ideas and inspiration from, only to receive an answer of “It came to me in a dream”? Well, before you roll your eyes at that, let me ask you: do you know what a dream empath is? Another lesser known type of empath (and arguably the rarest of all), a “dream empath” is someone who receives intuitive information about others through their dreams. And as you might expect, most of them tend to be lucid dreamers who retain a lot of clarity, awareness, and control over themselves even when asleep. They can easily recall their dreams and have a natural talent for interpreting and understanding the hidden meaning behind its symbols, themes, and motifs.

5. Plant Empaths

More than just a green thumb, a “plant empath” refers to someone who feels deeply connected to plants, trees, and mother nature as a whole. These are people who excel at tending to a garden or landscaping beautiful greenery because they just instinctively know what is and isn’t good for a plant. Plant empaths also feel a very strong sense of contentment and peace of mind whenever they’re close to nature, and as a result, love to take care of plenty of houseplants, shrubs, and other natural greenery.

6. Animal Empath

Next we have the “animal empaths”, which are (as you might have already surmised) people who feel a strong sense of connection and understanding towards animals. More than just your average pet lover, an animal empath is great at picking up on what animal needs and understanding what they might be trying to say with their body language and sounds. They also love to take care of animals, spend time with them, and learn as much as they can about them. Because just being around an animal can bring them joy and fascination. 

So, do you relate to any of the things we’ve mentioned here? What kind of empath do you think you are?

Regardless of whether your kind of empathy is more emotional or physical, dream or intuitive, being an empath is a wonderful gift to have because it allows you to better understand the thoughts, feelings, and needs of those around you, even if they don’t outwardly express it. Having more empathy allows you to build better relationships, forge stronger bonds with others, and improve your social, communication, and leadership skills. 

Of course, if you liked this article and would like to learn more about this topic, here’s what we suggest you read next: 

References:

  • Kossak, M. (2015). Attunement in expressive arts therapy: Toward an understanding of embodied empath. Charles C Thomas Publisher.

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