9 Types of Empaths: A Guide to Understanding Empathy

9 Types of Empaths: A Guide to Understanding Empathy


Explore the various types of empaths and their unique abilities. Get a deeper understanding of yours and how to use it to nurture your relationships.

Empaths differ. Much like intelligence and intuition, there are various types of empaths reflecting a broad spectrum of abilities—from sensing other people’s emotions and feelings to communicating with the animal kingdom.

So empathy is more complex than science can explain. And if you wonder whether you are one, here are a few things to know:

The practice of empathy can have a profound impact on your relationships with others — and, most importantly, yourself.

What Type of Person Is an Empath?

Empaths are individuals who have a natural ability to feel and understand people’s thoughts, emotions, and experiences on the visceral, emotional, and intuitive levels.  

They’re often very emotionally intelligent and in tune with their intuition through which they sense the world around them and share the experiences of others. But on the outside, they might appear to be shy, quiet, and even anti-social due to their heightened perceptions. 

According to Jeffrey Allen, energy healer and trainer of Mindvalley’s Duality Quest, being an empath is like swimming in the ocean of other people’s thoughts and emotions. And if they don’t have empathy awareness, their lives can be an overwhelming experience, full of endless drama. 

a couple hugging each other

9 Different Types of Empaths

Empathy isn’t black and white. Aside from a few traits that they all share, they differ in terms of the type of perception or its object. 

So, what are the different types of empaths? Let’s explore the following nine types:

1. Cognitive empaths

This type of empath is known to possess high emotional intelligence. 

If you’re a cognitive empath, you’re able to understand others and separate yourself from their emotional experiences. You’re also capable of looking at things from different perspectives and have a great deal of compassion.

2. Affective empaths

Affective empaths tend to avoid large groups of people. What’s more, intimate relationships can also be challenging, as they naturally put the needs of their partners ahead of their own.

If you’re this type of empath, you have the same abilities as cognitive empaths in addition to the ability to absorb the feelings of the people around you. 

two women hugging each other

3. Compassionate empaths

Compassionate empaths are known to be the most helpful of all. 

If you lean towards compassionate empathy, you may find yourself called to action. This, at times, can take you too far if you aren’t able to distinguish your feelings from the feelings of others.

4. Physical empath

Physical empathy is being attuned to other people’s physical sensations and absorbing them into your own body. 

For example, if someone’s experiencing painful headaches around you, you will feel it in your temples as this type of empath.

a woman holding flowers in her hand and a man stroking empathetically on her face

5. Intuitive empath

Intuitive empaths can sense unspoken information, which goes beyond one’s emotions. 

If you’re more intuitively empathetic, you’re able to tune into your energy or subconscious patterns. In the same way, you can intuitively communicate with plants and animals.

6. Dream empath

Dream empaths can sense and understand the emotions, thoughts, and experiences of others through their dreams. 

As this kind of empath, you can find yourself often having vivid dreams where you receive insights into the experiences of others, including your deceased relatives.

7. Plant empath

Plant empathy is a form of spiritual connection with the natural world. And those who have this trait have a strong connection and sensitivity to the energy and emotions of plants. 

If you’re a plant empath, you have a strong sensitivity to the energy and emotions of plants. This ability enables you to learn more about their growth and needs to take care of them better and heal them when needed. 

a woman walking in the open field

8. Earth empath

Earth empaths share a similar vibe with plant empaths in that both have their hearts tuned to nature. But while your garden-variety plant empath is more attuned to indoor ferns, as an earth empath, you’re able to relate more to what’s going on with the whole universe.

The earth empaths are attuned to changes in our planet and our solar system and the weather,” says Dr. Orloff, American psychiatrist, specializing in empathy. “So let’s say there’s an earthquake. They can sometimes feel it beforehand. Or, if the Amazon forest is being ravaged, it feels like pain in their body.

a woman with a husky

9. Animal empath

Animal empaths can connect to the essence of animals, enabling them to sense and interpret the emotions, sensations, and energy of wildlife. They often use this ability to protect and heal them.

If you’re this type of empath, you have a connection with all animals or have an affinity for a certain type. 

Are Empaths Rare?

Although scientific research on empaths is still scarce, individuals who have heightened perceptions and empathy experiences are rare.

Scientifically speaking, about 1% to 2% of the population has “mirror-touch synesthesia.” They can feel sensations on their skin while watching someone else be touched.  

Interestingly enough, empathy is no longer considered an inborn trait. You can learn empathy and join the club of empathetic unicum.

a couple showing pictures in the album to a dog

Do Empaths Attract Other Empaths?

Surprising as this might sound, most empaths don’t attract like-minded people. On the contrary, they tend to attract narcissists rather than other empaths.

Narcissists depend on the attention of others, while empaths thrive on offering support and compassion. This makes them a perfect target for emotional energy vampires.

When they do find another empath, the relationship is often very turbulent. As both parties are apt at sensing and absorbing the emotions of others, this can cause friction and tension. 

The bottom line is, truly harmonious relationships are possible when people can regulate their emotions and set healthy boundaries, regardless of their unique traits and characteristics. 

Cultivate the Empath In You

There are many ways to express empathy. Most importantly, you can learn this superhero ability to connect with others and the world around you on a deeper level.

It boils down to growing your emotional and empathy awareness to be able to distinguish your emotions from the emotions of others. On top of that, it’s essential to trust your intuition and expand your habitual perceptions. As a result, you will level up your self-regulation skills and develop intuitive attunement to the world around you.

The good news is, by joining Mindvalley, you can learn how to:

  • Grow your emotional and empathy awareness with Jeffrey Allen and his Duality and Unlocking Transcendence Quests
  • Tap into your emotions and heal your emotional wounds with Jennifer Partridge and her Tapping into Emotional Mastery Quest,
  • Cultivate super listening with Linda Clemons and her Body Language for Dating & Attraction Quest, 
  • Develop extrasensory perception with Vishen and his The Silva Ultramind System Quest, and
  • So much more.

You can sample classes of the quests with Mindvalley’s trainers by unlocking your free access.

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Written by
Irina Yugay