Empaths go one step beyond simply understanding the emotions of others – they actually feel stuff as if it’s happening to them.
Given the core element of empathy is feeling, being an empath can mean so much more than reflecting the highs and lows of others.
Here are twelve different types of empaths—and only two have to do with absorbing the pain or joy of your peers.
1. Physical Empaths
As a physical empath, you’re attuned to other people’s physical symptoms, and you tend to absorb them into your own body. This goes beyond naturally contagious gestures, like laughter and yawning.
If your friend is experiencing a screamingly painful migraine headache, expect to feel tension in your temples, as well.
On the flip side, physical empaths can also be energized by someone else’s sense of well being.
2. Emotional Empaths
An emotional empath feels the emotions of others. This can be lovely when your friend gets a promotion and you can feel their happiness, as if you, yourself, were going to be the Senior VP of Development.
However, emotional empaths can feel exhausted by friends who are constant complainers who dwell in the negative, or narcissists who suck up all the attention and never reciprocate when they’re feeling down.
Because of this, emotional empaths tend to be emotional sponges and feel drained by emotional vampires. By practicing self care and learning how to differentiate other people’s emotions from your own, you can master this gift.
3. Intuitive Empaths
An intuitive empath has the ability to know if and what needs to be done in a situation without any solid evidence or rationale behind it.
This type of empath has the ability to know whether or not they should do something depending on the context and circumstances. Claircognizant empaths are able to vibe off of the energy field of others and, in having that ability, they are able to read people very easily.
Intuitive empaths generally can sense the unspoken in terms of what’s going on, and that can encompass many qualities.
Related: How To Spot An Empath
4. Telepathic Empaths
Telepathic empaths have the ability to hear the thoughts as well as sense the emotions of others. It is a form of telepathy that can be harnessed through empathy.
As people’s thoughts are often influenced by their emotions, an empath’s power may extend to allow them to read minds as well, acting as a mixture of both empathy and telepathy.
5. Psychometric Empaths
The psychometric empath has the ability to receive information and energy from inanimate objects, photographs, or locations that are significant to a person.
Psychometric empaths have the ability to sense a deep connection to a place or inanimate object to receive information and impressions about it.
6. Dream Empaths
Dream empaths are similar to intuitive empaths, except they receive intuitive information from dreams. These types of empaths are typically gifted at clearly remembering dreams.
The dream empath is able to decipher wisdom from, talking animals, for example, or a deceased relative in dreams. A dream empath is also someone who’s able to read between the lines and tease meaning from their own dreams and those of others.
7. Plant Empaths
If you’re a plant empath, also called a flora empath, you can accurately “feel the needs of plants and connect with their essence,” Dr. Orloff says. Plant empaths, similar to earth empaths, can pick up on the vibes of vegetation.
Given how differently plants and humans experience consciousness (or the plant equivalent), this is a unique talent that plant empaths can find tough to put into words.
However, since the benefits of keeping plants are well-known, plant empaths could be laying solid groundwork for developing their own very human well-being.
8. Earth Empaths or Geomantic Empaths
Earth empaths are rocking a similar vibe to the plant empath in that both have their hearts tuned to nature.
This type of empath is deeply sensitive to changes in the earth herself. Some earth empaths claim to be able to feel the pain of earthquakes and forest fires, and maybe even predict them before they happen.
While the plant empath is more attuned to indoor plants, the geomantic empath relates more to what’s going on with the whole universe.
9. Animal Empaths or Fauna Empaths
The animal empath is the person who is always hanging out with the animals hiding out at the party. Animal empaths have a special connection with animals in that they can often feel their needs and communicate with the animal in a soothing manner.
An animal empath cannot stomach any violence toward animals and are more than likely up on the latest vegan recipes.
Some animal empaths might actively prefer the company of animals to people, others might simply tolerate us — a bit like cats.
10. Psychic Empaths
A psychic empath or medium possesses an intuitive understanding of the afterlife. At times, psychic empaths are able to see spirits and communicate one-on-one with the spirit.
They can pick up on extrasensory vibes from the spirit world and use them to guide or reach conclusions about real-life problems.
11. Heyoka Empaths
“Heyoka” means “sacred clown” or “spiritual fool” in the Lakota and Dakota Native American dialects.
This type of empath is said to be the rarest and most powerful variety, acting as a spiritual mirror to those around them to assist their growth.
Heyoka empath’s unorthodox approach to life makes others question their own preconceived notions of what’s right and wrong, real or fantasy.
That guy posting provocative stuff on social media to get you riled up might actually be a Heyoka empath doing you a favor.
12. Precognitive Empaths
Precognitive empaths are sensitive to a situation’s potential outcome.
Whether you believe they’re actually predicting the future with some psychic gift or spotting patterns and logically picking the most likely outcome, the result is the same. They know what’s going to happen — don’t say they didn’t warn you.
What Is The Rarest Type Of Empath?
It’s extremely rare to be an empath in general. Research estimates that just 1-2 percent of the population possesses empath traits.
Empaths are known to tend to everyone else’s needs before their own and they have a tendency to experience emotional burnout more than others.
However, of all types of empaths, the most unique, rarest type, even though incredibly powerful, is often overlooked – the Heyoka empath. This kind of empath is, essentially, an emotional mirror, and tends to be more spiritual than the others. They’re also said to be able to read minds.
As a Heyoka empath, your powers lie in helping and healing others. And the number one way you do that is by sensing their problems. This is transmitted through the emotional and physical energy given off.
The dark side of this is, you’re also susceptible to absorbing it. Too much of it and it can leave you feeling drained and overwhelmed.
Types Of Empaths Test
To find out if you’re an empath, take the following 20 question self-assessment by Dr. Judith Orloff, M.D., answering “mostly yes” or “mostly no” to each question.
- Have I been labeled as “overly sensitive,” shy, or introverted?
- Do I frequently get overwhelmed or anxious?
- Do arguments or yelling make me ill?
- Do I often feel like I don’t fit in?
- Am I drained by crowds and need alone time to revive myself?
- Am I overstimulated by noise, odors, or non-stop talkers?
- Do I have chemical sensitivities or can’t tolerate scratchy clothes?
- Do I prefer taking my own car places so I can leave early if I need to?
- Do I overeat to cope with stress?
- Am I afraid of becoming suffocated by intimate relationships?
- Do I startle easily?
- Do I react strongly to caffeine or medications?
- Do I have a low pain threshold?
- Do I tend to isolate myself socially?
- Do I absorb other people’s stress, emotions, or symptoms?
- Am I overwhelmed by multitasking and prefer doing one thing at a time?
- Do I replenish myself in nature?
- Do I need a long time to recuperate after being with difficult people or energy vampires?
- Do I feel better in small cities or the country than large cities?
- Do I prefer one-to-one interactions or small groups rather than large gatherings?
Now calculate your results:
- If you answered yes to one to five questions, you’re at least partially an empath.
- Responding yes to six to 10 questions means you have moderate empathic tendencies.
- Responding yes to 11 to 15 means you have strong empathic tendencies.
- Answering yes to more than 15 questions means that you are a full-blown empath.
Determining if you’re an empath can help clarify your needs and understand yourself better. Knowing which strategies to use to meet your needs is essential to gain comfort in your life.
Triggers For Empaths
The mind of all types of empaths can easily develop certain triggers after witnessing extremely sensitive events. These triggers can potentially cause PTSD if a situation is severe.
More often than not, an empath’s mind will create a chaotic spiral of emotions, causing distress. Many times emotional empaths can feel an emotional overload at the slightest incident.
1. Not Feeling Understood
The mind of an empath is an incredibly special one. Not many people truly understand the thought process of someone so caring, empathetic, and selfless.
When an empath isn’t feeling understood, this can lead them to feeling unintelligent and potentially “crazy”.
You are NOT crazy or weird. In fact, the ability of the emotional empath to delve into other people’s emotions is an amazing gift. You have emotional intelligence.
What’s important is that YOU understand yourself.
2. Not Feeling Wanted
When an empath experiences abandonment in their lifetime, they’re likely to feel unwanted by any person or group. When they realize they are wanted, they’re shocked and almost feel like imposters. Often wondering, “Why would anyone want me?“
Learn to detach from other peoples’ actions. If someone is intentionally (or not intentionally) giving off vibes that you’re unwanted, those toxic traits are theirs. If this is a friend, step back and reconsider the friendship.
3. Not Feeling Valued
The empath feeling worthless or unvalued, can cause them to sink into a deep hole of dark emotions. Once in the hole, it’s difficult to dig themselves out.
It’s important to remember everyone has worth and purpose, even you. You have that special power of a strong connection with emotions.
The world needs you. If you’re feeling this, it could be the result of not valuing yourself enough.
4. Not Feeling Loved
The need to feel loved is natural. However, you cannot allow it to break you down whenever your feelings aren’t reciprocated.
It can lead to isolating yourself to avoid potential heartbreak, however that will only perpetuate the feeling of a lack of love.
Believe it or not, there are people wishing they could not only be like you but that they could be loved by you.
Every experience has built you as the person you are today. Making you lovable in so many ways. If you’re caring and empathetic towards others, those traits alone make you one of the most lovable and admired beings on the planet.
5. Not Feeling Accepted
For any type of empath, the need to feel accepted can be strong. You are so loving and accepting that you expect the same feelings from others.
For most, you attach the feeling of acceptance with also feeling understood, wanted, valued, and loved.
When you feel rejection, it’s easy for our positive self-thoughts to be swept away by a dark sea of emotion. Focus on accepting yourself as the amazing being you are.
6. Getting Over Trauma
When an empath is told to “get over” a traumatic event or heavy emotions, you worry that your emotions must be too over-the-top. You tend to think, “What is wrong with me?” and doubt is quick to replace security.
What some individuals fail to understand is it’s impossible to just “get over” trauma. Yes, you can work hard to move forward in an effort to gain control of your life, but it’s definitely not something that happens over night.
Being any type of empath means to not only strongly feel for others, but to strongly feel for yourself and your experiences.
Related: Levels Of Listening – Complete Guide
What Type Of Empath Am I?
Knowing more about the different types of empaths and identifying your own empath type can help you to become more aware of your energy leaks through physical symptoms and take better care of yourself as an empath.
Here are traits you can look for to understand the common types of empaths.
1. You Feel Like A Sponge Absorbing Other People’s Feelings
Whatever the emotion at hand, as soon as someone shines a mood on you, you soak it up and, when pressed, you ooze it out. You can pick up depression, anxiety, and sadness in others, even when it’s not at all obvious to the naked eye.
2. You’re Acutely Aware When Something May Not Be Right With Someone
Emotional empaths pick up the real feeling behind every person’s “I’m fine” like it’s completely transparent.
Your less emotionally in-touch friends might be spooked by your extraordinary perceptions, but they also may go to you when they’re feeling sad because they know you’ll have the right words to help them heal.
3. Alone Time Is A Blessing After A Big Social Event
A wedding, a funeral or your neighbor’s sweet sixteen could all be situations where emotions are running high and you’re picking up all of them. Leave your schedule free the next day so you can decompress.
“Given a naturally ‘absorbent’ nature, empaths will often need more alone time to recover from the weight of energy collected from others,” clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly, PhD. states.
4. You’re Comfortable Alone, Outside In Nature
“Empaths often thrive in nature, given its healing, more solitary atmosphere,” Dr. Manly says.
For an empath, especially an Earth empath, being outdoors can be especially regenerating. Forest-bathing might be part of your self-care routine that helps center you when you feel overwhelmed.
5. General Crowds And Busy Spaces Can Be Exhausting For You
You’re picking up on all the various different vibes and people’s emotions, especially if you’re an emotional empath, which can make you feel weighed down.
Frequent breaks can help — and so can avoiding places like shopping malls and airports when possible.
6. You’d Don’t Require A Great Deal Of External Stimulation
In fact, empaths tend to thrive best in settings that are quiet and predictable. So if you’re an empath, you’re likely used to curling up in your favorite corner of your couch with a book or happily chilling at your go-to café whenever you can take time for yourself.
Whatever you think of psychic empaths, animal empaths or any other types of empaths, the ability to empathize with others is an essential part of being human.
You don’t need to believe in the Easter Bunny to believe that people will eat chocolate at Easter.
In the same sense, we don’t need to believe an earth empath that’s foretelling of natural disasters to say that developing our empathy, a skill like any other, is a good thing.
It’s a wonderful gift that might take you down a number of surprising paths. The high sensitivity you experience is a blessing. You were meant to bring these things to light with empathy and compassion.
If you’ve enjoyed learning about the different types of empaths and maybe even clarified your ability for heightened intuition or heightened sensitivity for animal and plant communication, please consider forwarding this article to your friends.