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[Fireside Chat] Staying Empathic Without Too Much Suffering – Am I Ready to Bounce Back?

Dr Rinkoo Ghosh’s first Fireside Chat in May was extremely well-received. Join her on Part 2 of ‘Partners on The Path’ where she will talk about Empathic Distress and what it means to caregivers.

This is part of CAL’s engagement to empowerment (E2E) programme in which we seek to Engage more, Equip more and Empower more, helping caregivers to achieve a higher level of well-being and resilience.

Empathic Concern vs. Empathic Distress

What happens when we feel empathy for another person? What are you feeling when your ailing loved one cannot function well on a daily basis and needs your constant care, or your teenage daughter sobs through her closed bedroom door due to a mental health condition? How are you feeling and coping when you have to deal with the loss of someone dear to you?

Empathy, or the capacity to “feel with” and share others’ emotions, can be a beautiful gift that connects us with each other. That’s how we are neurologically wired. Yet, it can also feel heart-wrenching and even unbearable at times when we stretch empathy too far. Scientists and researchers tell us that our initial empathic responses can shift in one of two directions – toward empathic distress or empathic concern.

Empathic distress can lead to withdrawals, poor health, and for most caregivers – burnout. On the other hand, empathic concern can lead to positive feelings, good health, and the desire to help in constructive ways.

If you frequently experience distress when you continuously take on the role of a carer, there is a biological basis for your heartache.

How can you protect yourself from emotional distress and differentiate from the suffering you may feel without becoming indifferent to that person? How can you nurture empathic concern and better navigate by growing your own self resilience and self-empathy?

Speaker Background

Dr Rinkoo is a facilitator and coach on building resilience, emotional agility and empathy. She is passionate about supporting individuals and leaders in organisations to optimise stress and achieve performance.

Dr Rinkoo worked for the Singapore Public Service (CSC) for the past 26 years as a Principal Learning Specialist. She offers varied learning interventions and solutions for public sector agencies (ministries & statutory boards) as well as for social sector and private sector. She has trained 2000 public sector staff/senior managers (both local and international) such as HDB, AIC, SLA, MOM, MSF, MHA (Home Team Academy), JTC, NUS, Sentosa Development Corporation and many others. She has also conducted learning and performance consulting projects for Ghana, Macau, Mauritius and Thailand. Dr Rinkoo has delivered Resilience and Empathy keynotes for public sector agencies as part of their career milestone programmes and Learning Festivals.

Dr Rinkoo is also accredited in the field of Learning Organisation & Change Management and holds a Graduate Diploma in Learning & Development with the Civil Service College. She is also a Specialist Adult Educator (SAE) with the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL-SUSS), a Certified EQ Trainer and versed in Non-Violent Communication.

Dr Rinkoo holds a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) from New South Wales, Australia. She also holds a Bachelor/Master of Communications from Australia.

Dr Rinkoo has lived in Singapore for over 35 years. She believes in social work and in helping others to live a graceful life. She has been the sole caregiver to her parents and serves in voluntary organisations such as the Sree Narayana Mission (SNM) and Caregivers Alliance Limited (CAL).


Date: 20 October 2021, Wednesday

Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm, including Q&A session

Venue: Online via Zoom Details will be emailed to all participants by 13 October 2021, Wednesday

Speaker: Dr Rinkoo Ghosh


The Resilience Institute (South East Asia)

Registration URL: Registration is now closed

The session will be recorded. We would like to inform you that by participating at the virtual fireside chat, you automatically give us consent for you to be recorded with your camera on and name on the screen, or your camera off and name appearing on the recording. If you do not consent to being recorded, please do not register for the session and watch the recording later.

We welcome everyone to join us for the virtual session.


Post Event Update

To conclude our series of Fireside Chats for the year, we welcomed Dr Rinkoo Ghosh to present Part 2 of ‘Partners on the Path’ on 20 October 2021. 117 participants benefitted from Dr Rinkoo’s sharing about empathic distress and its impact on caregivers.

Participants learnt about the difference between empathic distress vs empathic concern, and the various tools that one can use to prevent empathetic burnout.

Participant Kim Goh expressed her appreciation, “I'm exhausted from juggling my responsibilities and this session made me realise that I am doing too much for my care recipient. The last few weeks had been difficult, and this session is timely, thank you.”

“Please continue to organise similar events. The session was of great help and support in my caregiving journey for my three children with mental illness. Though it’s full of ups and downs, I know that I’m not alone, thank you”, affirmed by another participant Cham Wai Ping.


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