Source: (2002) Dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Institute for Clinical Social Work, Chicago.

This project is a study of empathy and the potential of its development in later life. I will follow a model in the literature review relating to the premise of empathy as it has evolved in theory. I will also examine literature related to the origin of violence in individuals and its genesis, utilizing child development, attachment, and trauma theories. Current research on neuropsychiatry will also be explored, as it contributes to this question. Through this examination of a variety of fields of thought, I will explore how the developmental impairment of empathy, along with considerations such as lack of personal agency and the individual's theory of mind can impact the later perpetration of violence on another human being along with the subsequent opportunity for resolution and change. The concept of empathy will be developed from its definition as a simply internal state, to that of an intersubjective agent, having meaning found in an intense relationship. This study will analyze a group of adult offenders, their victims, and the mediators who work with them. These individuals have agreed to participate in “Victim/Offender Mediation Dialogues; through the process of Restorative Justice. Through this exploration, I would hope to understand how empathy can be impacted in the life course of offenders who have perpetrated violent crime, and how the victims and mediators look at these issues through their experience. The role of the social movement of Restorative Justice will also be explored. (Author's abstract.)