Empathy Tool

Mentorship & Guidance

Sinclair Scott Smith


Industrial Design, Creative, Graphic Design & Packaging

Inspired by Neurolinguistic Programming, which suggests that any individual can overcome a traumatic experience using their mind, Oscar de la Hera created Empatia - a three part totem envisioned to teach individuals how to empathise with and process a traumatic experience. Empatia was exhibited at Wanted Design: Industry City as part of Parallel Times, an exhibition of artifacts developed through the varied lenses of extrapolated futures.
Empatia, which can be practiced alone or with a therapist, enables individuals to reflect on a trauma through three perspectives: as they lived it themselves, as the other individual lived it, and from the perspective of an objective third party. The three blocks are intended to widen an individual's perspective by allowing them the opportunity to empathize with the traumatic experience from different vantages as they hold each piece.
Each of Empatia’s pieces are designed to represent the cognitive process an individual carries out when empathizing. The bottom piece features a series of straight lines, representing the linear cognitive process an individual employs when considering a situation from their own perspective. The middle implements a series of curves that twist and turn, representing how an individual must shift their mental paradigm to empathize with the traumatic experience from the other individual’s perspective. Finally, the top is shaped to form an eye with three overarching lines, representing the objective third-party perspective empathizing with the traumatic experience. Empatia is completed once all perspectives have been considered, and, when viewed as an assembled whole, carries the form of a human being.