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7 Different Types of Empaths Explained

Takeaway: Learning about the different empath types can help you better understand yourself, including your unique gifts and needs. In this post, I break down the different types of empaths and give my suggestions for how you can embrace whichever one you are.

types of empath

When you hear the word "empath," what springs to mind? For many, it conjures up images of individuals so deeply absorbed in the emotions of others that they seem to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. It's an often misunderstood term, where being an empath is seen more as a burden than a gift. Unfortunately, this entire perception overshadows the profound depth and meaning that truly characterizes an empath's nature.

If you've ever found yourself wondering whether you might be an empath or feeling overwhelmed by the emotions swirling around you, you're not alone. The journey to understanding and embracing one's empathic abilities can be as bewildering as it is beautiful.

In this blog, we're diving deep into the heart of empathy, beyond the common myths and misconceptions.

For instance, did you know that there are not one, but 7+ different types of empaths, each with their unique way of connecting with the world around them?

Yes, being an empath does come with challenges. Feeling emotions more intensely can sometimes feel like a curse, but it's also a profound superpower. It's about more than just feeling; it's about understanding, healing, and connecting on a level that transcends words. So, if you're on a quest to discover whether you're an empath and, if so, what type, you've come to the right place.

What is an empath?

If you're reading this, odds are you're an empath trying to understand yourself better.

As an empath, you have an amazing ability to tune into the emotions and energies of those around you. You walk into a room and instantly pick up on the vibes because you have a sixth sense of what others are feeling. You're tuned into an invisible emotional frequency that a large part of the world overlooks.

You have a unique sensitivity to emotions and energy, and most of the time, you operate like you're an emotional sponge, soaking up the waves of energy around you.

Absorbing the emotions of those around you can deepen your understanding of the world. However, the true aim of harnessing your empathic abilities lies in experiencing the full spectrum of these feelings without shouldering them all. It's what I call Empowered Empathy.

You have extraordinary perceptions - you go far beyond just reading facial expressions or body language. You're tapping into something deeper – something we all have called an "auric field." We each have a biofield within us and around us, and auric fields are the emanations of bio-energy. Hence, you can sense them. Our biofield changes depending on our emotions and feelings. Some of you even see colors and lights swirling around people, making it easier to recognize a person's emotional, mental, and physical health.

So, where does this empathic gift come from? To be honest, it's a mix of nature and nurture. Some people are born with it, while others develop it over time. Think about your childhood – did you have parents who encouraged empathy and understanding? A nurturing environment where a parent models emotions and asks you about your feelings amplifies empathic abilities.

Here at Soul Essence Psychotherapy, we have a soft spot for parents (it's HARD WORK). However many of the parents we see are unaware of their children's empathic tendencies. Children can feel and sense the world around them at very high frequencies and if a parent chooses to say, "I'm fine" when they are sad or angry, the child immediately gets the message that they can't trust their ability to sense and understand emotions. Through these types of interactions, parents unintentionally reinforce this disconnect by hiding their true feelings or dismissing inquiries about them.

Over time, this may lead to hesitance in recognizing the profound connection we share with others' emotions and the subtle energies surrounding us. When a child senses a parent's distress but their curiosity about it is denied, it can sow seeds of doubt in the child's intuitive understanding. It also creates difficulties in building emotional intelligence and authentic emotional expression. This confusion can hinder their ability to fully embrace and trust themselves and their perception of the world.

And then there's life experience – the more you interact with different people and navigate various social situations, the more finely tuned your empathy becomes.

But it's not just about upbringing and experiences; there's some fascinating brain science behind it all too. Ever heard of mirror neurons? Mirror neurons are like our brain's empathy switch. They help us understand how others feel by letting us mentally step into their shoes. When we see someone do something, these neurons light up in our brains as if we're doing it too. This helps us connect emotionally with others and understand their experiences better. Mirror neurons are the brain's way of helping us feel what others feel, which is key to being empathetic and compassionate.

So, whether you're a natural empath or you've been honing your skills over the years, being empathetic is all about tuning into those emotions and energy fields swirling around us. It's a superpower that can truly enrich our relationships and make the world a kinder, more compassionate place.

Now, let's look at the common types of empaths we might encounter in our daily lives.

types of empaths

How many types of empaths are there?

Next, we'll dive into seven primary types of empaths, though it's important to note that the empath spectrum is broad and diverse, including more specialized and rare kinds like telepathic empaths, precognitive empaths, psychometric empaths, and dream empaths, among others.

Overall, there can be overlaps between the different empath categories, so we'll do our best to break down the main types of empaths you might find (or be) in your day-to-day life.

Additionally, empathy and clairvoyance, clairsentience, and other "clairs" can also interweave within the same person. Check out my other blog on the Clairs to see if you notice any overlaps.

Emotional empaths (the most common)

Emotional empaths are highly attuned to the feelings of those around them, often experiencing and absorbing the emotions of others as if they were their own. Their empathic sensitivity enables them to offer profound support and understanding to those in emotional distress, but it can also leave them feeling overwhelmed or drained by the intense emotional energy they encounter.

Disempowered emotional empaths tend to struggle with putting down boundaries and will often harbor resentment towards others if they haven't learned to sense emotions without feeling responsible for them. Alternatively, empowered emotional empaths sense emotions without taking them on, allowing them to stay centered, loving, and neutral amid heavy feelings. This creates a deep inner strength in being able to be with people's emotions and stay true to themselves all at the same time.

Physical empaths

Physical empaths have a keen awareness of the physical sensations and ailments of humans, often experiencing them in their bodies. On the positive side, a physical empath might experience creative surges of energy in their system (picture your whole body buzzing at a Taylor Swift concert because you can feel how excited everyone is). On the flip side, they can also intuitively sense discomfort, pain, or illness in those around them, making them natural caretakers and healers. However, this heightened sensitivity to physical sensations can also lead to feelings of exhaustion or discomfort, especially in crowded or energetically charged environments.

Developing a strong relationship with your body's energy field and learning energy healing hygiene is incredibly important for physical empaths who work in crowded offices, the medical field, or high-risk safety jobs.

Earth empaths

Earth empaths are deeply connected to the natural world, attuned to the rhythms and energies of the earth. They feel a profound sense of peace and harmony when surrounded by nature and may experience emotional or physical symptoms in response to environmental changes or disruptions. Earth empaths may also feel a calling to protect and preserve the planet, often finding solace and rejuvenation in spending time outdoors.

An earth empath senses the seasons, can feel vibrational shifts in the earth's magnetic field, and can feel astrological conjunctions, oppositions, etc. They are in tune with the spirit of Mother Earth and often choose to be involved with earth-democracy-based things.

Plant empaths

Plant empaths have a special affinity for the plant kingdom, experiencing a deep emotional and energetic connection with flora. They may intuitively sense the needs of plants, thriving in environments where they can nurture and care for greenery. Plant empaths often find solace and rejuvenation in gardening, spending time among plants, and cultivating indoor green spaces.

A plant empath might also be someone who loves spending time in the kitchen, playing with herbs, and spices, and cooking up new recipes.

Animal empaths

Animal empaths share a profound bond with the animal kingdom, often communicating with and understanding animals on an intuitive level. They may feel deeply attuned to the emotions and needs of animals, forming strong connections with pets, wildlife, and even individual animals they encounter. Animal empaths may find solace and healing in the presence of animals, experiencing a sense of peace and connection in their company.

Additionally, an animal empath might be someone who chooses to eat a primarily plant-based diet or chooses to buy animal products from organic, humane sources. This is because these types of empaths can feel the suffering or cruelty that the animal endured before being butchered.

Intuitive empaths

Intuitive empaths possess heightened intuitive abilities, often receiving insights and guidance through gut feelings, hunches, or flashes of intuition. They have a deep understanding of the unseen realms and may receive messages or impressions from the spiritual or energetic realms. Intuitive empaths may excel in roles that require foresight, intuition, and the ability to navigate unseen energies or dynamics.

Psychic empaths

Psychic empaths possess psychic abilities that allow them to perceive and interpret information beyond the five senses. They may receive psychic impressions, visions, or messages from the past, present, or future, offering insights and guidance to others. Psychic empaths may also have abilities such as clairvoyance, clairsentience, or clairaudience, allowing them to tune into the thoughts, feelings, and energies of others on a profound level.

different types of empaths

Determining your empath type

Based on the seven types listed above, are you curious about what type of empath you might be? Did one or multiple stand out to you?

As you delve into the realm of empathic abilities, you may find yourself resonating with specific traits and experiences that align with different types of empaths. To help you on this journey, consider the following questions designed to illuminate your empathic nature. By reflecting on your responses, you can gain insight into your unique empathic gifts and how they manifest in your daily life.

Emotional Empath:

Do I often find myself feeling overwhelmed by the emotions of others?

Do I have a natural ability to empathize with and understand the feelings of those around me?

Do I feel emotionally drained after being in crowded or emotionally charged environments?

Do I feel drawn to helping people or feel I have a lot of love for human beings?

Physical Empath:

Do I frequently experience physical sensations or ailments that seem to correspond with those of people around me?

Am I particularly sensitive to physical touch, temperature, or changes in my environment?

Do I often feel physically drained after being around people or in crowded places?

Earth Empath:

Do I feel a deep sense of connection and peace when I spend time in nature?

Do I notice changes in my mood or energy levels based on the natural environment or weather?

Do I feel a strong emotional response to environmental issues or natural disasters?

Plant Empath:

Do I feel a deep emotional or energetic connection with plants and flowers?

Do I intuitively know how to care for and nurture plants, often feeling rejuvenated by gardening or spending time among greenery?

Do I feel a sense of sadness or distress when plants are harmed or neglected?

Animal Empath:

Do I feel a strong emotional connection to animals, often sensing their feelings and needs?

Do I find it easy to communicate with animals or understand their behavior?

Do I feel a sense of peace and comfort in the presence of animals?

Intuitive Empath:

Do I frequently experience strong gut feelings or intuitive hunches?

Do I often receive insights or guidance through dreams, visions, or flashes of intuition?

Do I have a knack for predicting outcomes or sensing unseen energies or dynamics?

Psychic Empath:

Have I ever experienced psychic phenomena such as premonitions, visions, or psychic dreams?

Do I often pick up on the thoughts, feelings, or energies of others without them saying anything?

Do I have a natural ability to interpret and understand psychic impressions or messages?

Based on the questions above, notice which categories felt most aligned with your life experience. How does it feel to begin embracing your specific type of empathy?

Embracing your empathic nature

Now that you know which type of empath resonates most with you, here are some ways to help you grow your abilities to bring more meaning, depth, and confidence to your life.

Uncover unconscious beliefs:

This is a big step in embracing your empathy. Many of us have been taught that deep empathy and vulnerability are signs of weakness, and showing emotions is often frowned upon. It's important to explore your upbringing and whether you were encouraged to share your empathic insights. By uncovering and challenging these unconscious beliefs, you can free yourself to fully embrace your empathic nature.

Seeking support from a holistic therapist who specializes in empathic healing can be immensely beneficial in this process. A trained therapist can provide guidance and tools to help you navigate and overcome any deep-seated beliefs or traumas that may be hindering your ability to embrace your empathic gifts fully. At Soul Essence Psychotherapy, we specialize in helping sensitive, empathic, and intuitive people uncover their inner wisdom and find strength and confidence in their empathic abilities.

Practice self-trust:

Empathy can feel like a mysterious and unpredictable force, leading to self-doubt and questioning. Thoughts like, "Am I imagining this?" or "What if I'm just being paranoid?" can cloud our intuition. It's essential to practice self-trust by calming your mind and letting go of old doubts and insecurities. Trusting yourself allows you to more confidently sense and interpret energy without second-guessing.

Create kind boundaries:

Empaths often struggle with setting boundaries, fearing they'll come across as selfish or uncaring. But boundaries are essential for protecting your energy and well-being. Think of them as drawing lines in the sand that communicate your needs and limits. By being honest about your boundaries, you foster trust and respect in your relationships, ensuring that both parties feel heard and valued.

Develop mindfulness practices:

Incorporating mindfulness techniques into your daily routine will help you stay grounded and present. Mindfulness can help you become more aware of your own emotions and reactions, as well as the energies around you. Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and body scanning can enhance your ability to navigate empathic experiences with clarity and calmness.

Connect with a supportive community:

Seek out like-minded individuals who understand and appreciate your empathic nature. Joining support groups, online forums, or attending workshops and events focused on empathy can provide you with a sense of belonging and validation. Sharing experiences and insights with others can also help you feel less alone in your journey as an empath.

Working with a therapist can offer invaluable support on the journey of embracing empathy. At Soul Essence Psychotherapy, our Buddhist-psychology-based therapists specialize in guiding individuals through this process. With expertise in mindfulness practices, energy healing, trauma, anxiety, and depression, we provide a holistic approach to healing.

Therapists can help individuals understand and navigate their unique empathic abilities, whether it's exploring different types of empathy or developing heightened intuition. Through therapy, individuals learn to harness their empathic gifts, cultivate positive energy, and deepen their intuitive understanding of themselves and others, fostering greater emotional well-being and empowerment.

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