Originally published in 1985, this book sought to thoroughly examine and better understand a dimension of interpersonal relations which at the time had often proven elusive, confusing, and quite difficult to operationalize. Empathy had been diversely defined, hard to measure, often resistant to change, yet emerged as a singularly important influence in human interaction. The Editors lengthy effort to better understand its nature, consequences and alteration was not an easy journey, yet was a rewarding one. This book presents the fruits of their journey, and thus they hoped the reader would feel equally rewarded. The several diverse definitions of empathy are sequentially presented and examined in Chapter 1, in an effort to begin this book with a shared understanding of the major historical and contemporary meanings of the construct. The Editors conclude this initial chapter by subscribing themselves to a particular components definition of empathy, a definition they predict will prove particularly useful in enhancing future understanding, investigation, and application of empathic behaviour. This components definition, therefore, substantially influences and shapes much of the content of the rest of the book.