Discover the main types of empaths as well as their traits, skills, and potential disadvantages

Who are empaths? There are many definitions, and each empath will have unique traits and skills. However in general, an empath is someone with the ability to share other people’s feelings and emotions — sometimes as if they were their own.

Many people are sensitive and compassionate, and genuinely like to help others, however empaths are not just that: they possess a unique ability, a rare gift that most of the population cannot experience. It is estimated that empaths make up less than two percent of the population.

According to the American Empath Association, there are at least seventeen types of empaths: physical, emotional, intuitive, intellectual, spiritual, claircognizant, environmental, medium, psychometric, crystal, telepathic, mechanical, astral, animal, nature, molecular, and even law enforcement empaths — those with a special ability to solve crimes.

In this article, we will have a look at the four main types:

  • Physical empaths (who share other people’s physical symptoms)
  • Emotional empaths (who easily absorb the emotions and feelings of those they interact with)
  • Intuitive empaths (who are able to sense or predict things thanks to their gut feelings and powerful intuition)
  • Dream empaths (whose vivid dreams can reveal information about their own life, or someone else’s)

1. Physical empaths

These are the individuals who are able to absorb other people’s physical symptoms. When they see or interact with someone who is in pain, they will feel their pain as well, whether it’s headaches, fatigue, injuries, or any physical disease.

For physical empaths, hospitals can be overwhelming, because they would absorb too much pain and suffering from other people. Similarly, scenes of violence can be unbearable. Sometimes physical empaths have to remove themselves to certain environments in order not to feel overwhelmed.

Some of those who have the “gift” of being tuned in to other people’s physical symptoms end up suffering from chronic pain or fatigue. Or, they may get sick more frequently than most people.

The good news is that just like they are able to absorb pain, physical empaths are also able to absorb positive feelings of vitality, energy, relaxation, or overall well being from others. So for example, a physical empath sitting next to someone who is strong and energetic may be able to absorb their power.

2. Emotional empaths

These are the individuals who are able to absorb other people’s emotions and feelings. They naturally pick up other people’s depression, anxiety, frustration, or grief even when the other person does not express or talk about their emotions.

Some of these empaths will share someone else’s emotions just by looking at them, listening to their voice, or even by reading one of their text messages. It’s a rare gift, so most people cannot comprehend how this could work, yet it does happen to those who have these special abilities. Emotional empaths may even have trouble distinguishing whether a certain emotion belongs to them or not.

Much like physical empaths, they are able to absorb both positive and negative feelings. For this reason, they are naturally happy when they are in the right environment. When they are around people who love and support them, they thrive; when they are in a crowd that is full of energy and excitement, their enthusiasm skyrockets. 

Because emotions can be draining, emotional empaths tend to be very tired all the time, even more than physical empaths. They may need to spend a lot of time alone to recharge, even if their personality is predominantly extroverted.

Empaths need to spend time alone to recharge

3. Intuitive empaths

Psychiatrist Carl Jung once said that intuition is a perception by ways or means of the unconscious, that cannot always be explained. If you are an intuitive empath, you may be able to access information that is available beyond time and space. You may have sudden thoughts, images, or intuitions that cannot be explained about a certain event.

For example, you may know that someone is lying even if you can’t explain why; you may be able to predict the negative outcome of a certain situation even when everyone else is certain there is nothing to worry about.

Intuitive empaths experience gut feelings very frequently. Over time, they learn to trust their intuition and even use it to help others, or improve their own life. Sometimes this type of empath is able to have powerful intuitions in his or her dreams, which leads us to the fourth and final type…

4. Dream empaths

Some empaths are able to access information about their own life or other people’s lives in their dreams. When their rational mind falls asleep, and their subconscious inner world prevails, they may see vivid images of events that are about to happen, and have powerful intuitive thoughts.

Dream empaths are usually able to recall their dreams and remember many details about them. They are often able to lucid dream as well — meaning, they can remain conscious and aware even when they are asleep, and choose to change what they experience in their dreams.

Because dream empaths are so rare, if you know or believe you are one, do take the time to explore your amazing ability: each time you have an intense dream, write down the whole experience; keep a dream journal; learn how to lucid dream easily; and take some time to reflect over the meaning of your dreams.

The images and feelings that you experience while you sleep could be the key to more awareness, clarity, and happiness in your life.

Tips for empaths

Being an empath can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. Being able to share other people’s physical feelings, thoughts, or emotions can give you great joy, but also pain and angst.

If you are an empath, it’s essential that you learn to shield and protect yourself from negative energy. Here are a few tips to keep in mind so you are not overwhelmed.

Avoid drama and energy vampires

Energy vampires can drain other people’s emotions and even make them sick physically. If you are an empath, then you may be even more susceptible to their negative energy, so it is vital that you cut them out of your life.

Almost anyone who bombards you with the latest horrible news, their problems, or drama in general, does so, so they can feel better, and you can feel worse. Energy vampires don’t really want to improve their life: they simply want other people’s energy. For the full definition of what energy vampires are, as well as tips to protect yourself, check out this article.

Spend some time alone to recharge

As we’ve seen earlier, empaths need to spend time on their own to recharge and be immune to negativity. This is true for both introverted and extroverted empaths.

If you have the rare gift of empathy, don’t be afraid to isolate yourself from the world from time to time. Chances are you are a hypersensitive person, which means you are particularly susceptible to external stimuli such as noise, bright colors, and social situations. When you spend time alone, you can recharge and find inner peace.


Some empaths may find it difficult to distinguish whether a certain thought, emotion, or feeling belongs to them or the people they are interacting with. Because meditation teaches you to be more focused and aware of your thoughts (without being influenced by them), it is a great way for empaths to recharge.

In addition to that, meditation can calm your mind and body, both immediately after a session, and in the long term. Meditation can help empaths maintain a positive state of mind and detach themselves from negative people or energy.

Avoid crowded places

Crowded places can be overwhelming for an empath both because there may be too many external stimuli, and because the empath may absorb the energy of too many people at the same time.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that empaths are supposed to avoid parties, big malls, or major events. But when you notice that a crowded place makes you feel anxious, tired, or overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to leave to protect your mental health.

Avoid watching anything disturbing

Many empaths say that they had to stop watching horror movies, disturbing images, violent scenes, or even the news because they could not handle the negative emotions linked to them. The same is true for reading articles or books that cause angst.

While the average person may be able to see certain images or videos and be emotionally detached, an empath may find it almost impossible. If you are an empath (or anyone who is sensitive, really), avoid horror movies and disturbing images like the plague. Whether you realize it or not, they affect your mental and spiritual health.

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