The Empath's Survival Guide — Book Summary

The Empath's Survival Guide Book Cover

The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People

by Judith Orloff

Published: 2017 | 228 pages
Rating Amazon:  stars rating 4.6 
Rating by reviewer:  stars rating 4.2 
Author of the article: Oriana Gorrin
Date of the summary: Jun 15, 2020

This is a life's instruction manual for those who are empaths and for those who simply want to know more about them and their needs.

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The Empath's Survival Guide Book Cover

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This guide presents itself as a priceless resource to help those seekers who don't fit in anywhere. Its author, the psychiatrist Judith Orloff and an empath herself, introduces us to the idea of what to be an empath truly means and how to successfully overcome the many challenges empaths face.

Interesting quotes from the book

As an empath, you are part of a countercultural revolution to put what is humane back into humanity. I applaud you for being a path-forger, willing to venture off the beaten track.

— Judith Orloff, The Empath's Survival Guide

Empaths and all sensitive people are pioneers on the forefront of a new way of being for humankind.

— Judith Orloff, The Empath's Survival Guide

Not everyone will understand you, but that's okay. Search for the kindred spirits who will, and you will understand them too. It's a beautiful feeling of connection.

— Judith Orloff, The Empath's Survival Guide

Summary of the book The Empath's Survival Guide

From Alanis Morrisette through Steve Jobs to Abraham Lincoln … they all share the same trait in common and you will want to know if that is you as well.

The basics: Re-educating the educated

Do I feel "too much"? And why am I so intense? Dr. Orloff navigates these questions for you in this survival guide to thrive as an empath. A physician who combines conventional medicine skills with energy medicine and spirituality, she states that her mission is to "re-educate healthcare practitioners" creating awareness about empaths. Over two decades of medical practice treating highly sensitive people, she has compiled a collection of strategies to help empaths understand and experiment with the benefits of their trait and also to instruct others on how to support them.

A countercultural movement and a pioneering effort

She achieves this by creating an easy-to-read handbook that is divided into nine main segments. These segments represent nine different areas of daily life that are affected when being an empath: introduction to empathy, health, addictions, relationships, energy vampires, parenting, work, perceptual abilities, and gifts. In each one of these chapters, she addressed the many facets of an empath's life (from identifying empaths with a self-test, through directly addressing the empath's need at the workplace to praising the many gifts they have). Every chapter aims to illuminate empaths' by providing protection, relaxation and meditation strategies, different self-tests, and testimonials from other empaths. The author concludes every chapter introducing one positive affirmation to implement in one's life.

How it All Started

It all starts by stating that empaths are those with a very responsive neurological system that may vary in degrees and intensity within the sensitivity spectrum. Scientific findings have proved that almost 20 % of the population has this trait. However, it is key to differentiate between being an empath and showing ordinary empathy, since they are not the same. Ordinary sympathy can be found in small acts of kindness. However, the science behind being an empath dictates that a sector of the population has been born wired to actually feel more. It means to be finely attuned to external stimuli and having a capacity to experiment life in a deep, intense way.

The Mind-Body Connection

Dr. Oloff continues explaining that there are many types of empaths embodying diverse characteristics such as physical empaths, emotional empaths, and intuitive empaths, amongst others. All these different "sub-traits" add detail and complexity to the empath's world. Indeed, there are marvelous traits among all the empaths: deepness of feeling and thought, great instincts to help others in need, a great appreciation of nature, inspiring compassion, and idealism. According to her research, all empaths share a strong mind-body connection. Consequently, this makes it imperative for the empath to prioritize positive thinking and constructive mindset.

How to Overcome the Challenges?

To be a truly thriving empath, one must overcome the trap of pessimist thinking and a wrong mindset, Oloff says. By embracing empaths' capacity to see the world in a rich way and by also practicing self-care, empaths can learn to develop their inner gifts and talents like exquisite intuition. It is the empaths' goal to be healthy individuals who can provide help within the communities and, ultimately, to the world. Tearing apart the romantic idea of the compassionate dreamer, empaths are capable of creating better and more inclusive realities filled with hope and respect for others. In the end, it is all about bringing joy to a world that seems chaotic and, sometimes, unforgiving.

What can we learn from the book The Empath’s Survival Guide?

Although these are addressed to empaths, Oloff knows how to also engage the mainstream reader with a call-to-action from theory into practice. These lessons are summarized as follow:

Lesson 1: Be yourself and shine

You need to embrace your uniqueness authentically. Only when you realize how special you are, you will resonate and connect beautifully with others.

Lesson 2: Be compassionated towards yourself and your trait

Get to know yourself better and be patient with your traits. You have to learn to honor your inner truth. Remember to help yourself before you want to go and serve others.

Lesson 3: Be positive and create a resilient mindset

It is vital to have the right mindset, welcoming thoughts of strength, love, victory, and self-respect, and not of failure.

Lesson 4: Practice self-care techniques every day

Find your preferred practice and stick to like meditating 5 minutes a day. It is equally critical to have the right diet and to follow the recommended amount of exercise and sleep.

Lesson 5: Learn how to reach out to others like you

You need to find mind-liked people to be able to sustain your successes in the long-term. Other empaths will encourage you in your journey to self-discovery.

Lesson 6: Have faith in something greater than you

Whether you connect with the paternal idea of God or Mother Nature, you have to believe in something Higher to obtain the right amount of motivation to truly connect with your gifts!

Review of the book The Empath's Survival Guide

I found this book to be an indispensable resource for sensitive people. In a sea of multiple voices, Dr. Oloff establishes herself as a qualified and highly emphatic path-forger along with other well-known authors like Dr. Elaine Aron ("The Highly Sensitive Person"). There is, however, much to do to create more awareness on sensitivity but Oloff is pragmatical in her approach and achieves her aim with great simplicity. This book has expanded my knowledge about high sensitivity, and I feel more confident to manage my trait. I particularly found effective visualization strategies that I will be implementing. To sum up I found the following pros and cons:


  • Easy-to-read and eye-opening information.
  • Straightforward and doable self-care techniques.
  • The author's voice is relatable and approachable.
  • There are empaths' testimonials from real-life situations.


  • Some readers who do not know much about Ayurvedic medicine will be confused when reading about chakras.
  • Every so often, the book lacks a linear congruence or more cohesive connection between sections.
  • A further, more concise explanation to differentiate empaths from highly sensitive people would be appreciated.
  • Lack of extended scientific research about the topic.


An ultimate guide to joyful life experience, this book accomplishes its objectives. I am confident this book will help to enlighten other empaths and their loved ones to follow the path to personal success and realization. I would especially recommend it to those who find it difficult to fit into today's modern world with all its obligations and expectations.

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