While empathy is crucial to all helping relationships, professional helpers do not generally offer much empathy. While nurses are meant to provide helping relationships, they do not normally show much empathy to clients. The low level of empathy offered in professional relationships has been reported in numerous studies and widely commented on in the literature. Since nursing involves a series of relationships with significant others, clients, families and colleagues in the health team, empathy is considered to be an essential pre-requisite for effective nursing practice, and fulfilling a variety of nursing goals. Several nursing studies give preliminary evidence that the nurse's use of empathy is likely to make a difference to client outcomes. Nurses who work in psychiatric areas have opportunities to initiate relationships with clients, use them to help move the client in a direction favouring productive social living, and to learn about the purpose of dysfunctional behavior.