Imagine a boat like children draw: the hull, the cabins of passengers, and all the way on top, the funnel.
Direct empathy is represented by the hull. All boats have a hull, and all humans have more or less that capacity. It consists of three stages: emotional empathy which allows, since a child’s first year of life, to recognize the emotion in others, and by responding to it, to create an emotional sharing; cognitive empathy which consists, from four and half years, in understanding others; and finally, the "mature" empathy that allows, since the age of nine, a familiarization with emotional perspective changing. This third and final dimension of direct empathy is a conscious process that needs to be sustained and encouraged, especially in adolescence.
Auto empathy is also part of the "hull" because its construction follows the same steps as the construction of direct empathy. It consists of identifying our own emotions and our own psychic states, accepting them and giving them meaning.
Reciprocal empathy is represented by the bridge and passenger cabins. It is how one person recognizes in another what he or she recognizes for himself, both in the areas of self-esteem, the right to love and to be loved, and citizenship rights. It holds the key to moral sense.
Intersubjective empathy is represented by the funnel. When it gives off smoke, it's because the boat is moving forward! It consists in acknowledging in another the possibility of useful information on aspects of myself that are as yet unknown to me, of discovering myself, and of moving forward. It might be said that it holds the key to happiness...
Empathies modified by the 3FG
3FG Strengthens Emotional Empathy
The 3GF contributes to the identification of the facial expressions corresponding to basic emotions. Indeed, the initial ritual that invites children to stage simple emotions allows each child to take the time to tune in on his classmates' emotions and to discover in their eyes the fact that he succeeded ( See "Facial expressions").
The 3FG enhances cognitive empathy
Children are invited not only to mimic emotions in the preparatory phase, but also to name those which are experienced by the different protagonists, such as joy, anger, fear or sadness, as well as the more moral one of guilt . In general, the naming of the intentions of the different protagonists during the construction of the scenario makes it possible to better understand the mental state of the other. This characteristic is reinforced by the fact that, in the actual game, each action is accompanied by meaningful words.
The 3FG reinforces the change of emotional perspective
This capacity is reinforced by the fact that each child is invited to change his / her point of view when he or she changes the role. Moreover, this change of point of view is spontaneously materialized by the children when they physically swap spots with each other. For example, if an aggressor first placed himself against the window and his victim on the side of the door, when they change role, experience shows that the person who first played the role of victim will take the role of the aggressor by going to place himself in turn near the window.
The change in emotional perspective is also illustrated by another observation. Experience has shown that children develop 3FG strategies to support each other. Thus the "blowers" come to palliate the difficulties of memorization of their comrades. And in the classroom hosting an autistic child without language, this one could play whith another child lending him his voice.
The 3FG reinforces self-empathy
The 3GF often exposes situations of tension or aggression in which the victim never remains silent and formulates his protest. The purpose of this rule is to allow children to stop being mistreated without protest. This ability participates in the construction of self-empathy, in other words the ability to identify one's own emotions and to help oneself by expressing them ("Ouch! You hurt me!"). Nor should we forget that a victim more easily denounces an assault with a third party (a teacher, an educator, a psychologist or a doctor) when she first verbalized it with her aggressor.
3FG reinforces reciprocal empathy
At the same time each child is invited to adopt the other's viewpoint by endorsing his or her role, at the same time he or she abandons the role he has just played for another child. It thus stages the acceptance that the other takes its place.
The 3FG does not act on intersubjective empathy
This last component of empathy is not modified by the 3FG since no child is invited to comment on the attitudes of the other participants, and that the professionals animating the game also prohibit it.