The first step in understanding the anatomy of an empath is putting a name to things. Humans are a meaning-making species which is a fancy psychology term meaning we create things like words to make sense of stuff. We tend to name things so we can process and understand.

Here’s why that’s helpful in understanding the anatomy of an empath:

  1. That weird thing that happened to you, it has a name.
  2. Here’s how that thing works.
  3. Other people feel that same thing.
  4. But, your experience will still be unique to you.

Understanding how all your empathic pieces work helps to balance them so they fit together harmoniously. It lets you move from overwhelm to mastery (with some practice). And, being able to master your empathic abilities is so much better than your abilities having mastery over you.

The Empathic Framework

You are an energetic being.
You create energy.
You run on electricity.

For example, if your heart stopped, a health care professional would shock your heart to start again. If you had an EKG, it would measure the electrical impulses in your heart.

As an electric being, you generate an electromagnetic field around your body. We call that your aura.

This auric field surrounding your body has many layers.
Some are close to the body.
Some are a couple of feet out.

Within these layers, you have a variety of receptors that feed your body energetic information.

Empathic Filters

First, let’s start with your empathic filters. These filters are one type of receptor found out in your auric field.  An empathic filter influences the way you perceive the world around you.

So, here comes this wave of energetic details of some situation you witness. Once those energy packets hit your aura, an empathic filter intercepts that input. Sometimes the filter makes it clearer. Sometimes the filter distorts it. Often it does both.

For example, have you ever seen a picture of a nebula or the like. It looks shallow and uninteresting, but then a scientist applies an infrared filter or some fancy science thing and BOOM. The picture takes on a new depth. You see things that weren’t there on the first, non-filtered shot. Yet, those things were there all along, but they weren’t perceivable without the filter.

An empathic filter works similarly. It’s through these filters that an Empath sees deeper into the life around them. They feel unseen details. They know obscure specifics.

3 Common Empathic Filters

Emotional Filter

An empath feels emotions that originates from a source outside their body like they were their own through this filter.

Physical Filter

A physical filter allows the empath to feel physical sensations inside their body that originate outside their body.

Mental Filter

A mental filter allows the empath to feel the thoughts and/or belief systems of others.

Think of these 3 filters like arcs that make a circle. Each filter is a piece of a complete circle. Each filter’s arc can be a different size, but 3 arcs are needed to complete the circle.

Look at the visual example in the empathery logo. It’s a circle made of 3 colors, each representing an empathic filter. The size of each of the arcs will be unique and tuned to the experiences an empath encounters. 

You might think, oh well, I’m an emotional Empath. My circle is only the one arc and it’s all emotion.

Not true, Empath. Although, you may have a dominate filter that you work with most often, you have all 3 filters. It’s how empaths are wired.

Even so, the look of an empath’s circle is fluid, because empathic filters customize to the empath and the situation in the moment.

The Clairs

The clairs are the energetic on ramp to the empath. As empaths we constantly process an enormous amount of energetic details. These details flood your auric field and if you feel them empathically, it is coming through a clair.

Clair is a French word meaning “clear” or “light”. The clairs describe the different ways the body detects an emergence or shift of energy. All empaths have at least 1 clair active.

And keep in mind, all of the clairs are just words. Labels. They attempt to encompass extraordinary abilities in a general way. Your empathic abilities  personalize to your unique empathic framework.

7 important Clairs and how you receive info through them:


an inner sense of sight


an inner sense of knowing without logic or reason


a clear feeling or a sensation through the body


an inner sense of taste


an inner sense of smell


an inner sense of hearing


an inner knowing or feeling upon touching something or someone

All clairs bring sensory inputs to the empath. That means, you receive an electrical and chemical combo of sight, sound, touch, taste, and/or smell. Additionally, it can even arrive through sensation in your organs or the tissues of your body. On top of that, it may trigger a feeling or a thought.

Specialty Empaths

Specialty Empaths have abilities that emerge in an area where their vibration detection excels.

Like a talent.

Or special skill.

There are dozens, if not hundreds of specialities.

For example, an Animal Empath is a specialty empath. An Animal Empath is able to connect with an animal’s awareness and/or state of being. Not all empaths are able to do this. That’s why it’s a specialty.

Additionally, an Animal Empath will receive the animal’s energetic details through the same clairs previously mentioned. Also, they recognize and often interact with an animal’s emotional, mental or physical state of being through the corresponding empathic filter.

Empathic specialties occur in addition to and in conjunction with empathic filters and clairs. However, an empathic specialty is not a clair or a filter.

Sensing Waves and Sorting Vibrations

In understanding the anatomy of an empath, we consider these 3 things:

  1.  Clairs 
  2. Filters
  3. Specialties

And, through these 3 things, Empaths express their own unique range of sensitivities customized especially for them.

Hundreds of options.

Thousands of settings.

These skills are the pieces that frame the empath allowing them to receive and often decode energetic data as it arrives in waves at their auric field. An Empath’s abilities can be turned down, turned up, but never turned off as they are an inseparable part of the empath.

With practice, you can identify how information is coming to you. Understanding your empathic framework makes sensing waves and sorting vibration more of an adventure rather than chore.

Familiarity with your own empathic framework allows you to nimbly identify clairs, switch between filters, and tune in with specialties. As a result, you compile all the energetic data you need in a few seconds. Then, you can decide if the situation needs your further involvement or whether you can let go and move on.

woman in a purple shirt with pink glasses
Lori Morrow Kelley

Lori is an empath supporter, podcaster, and blogger living in Texas. She is a gifted over analyzer and dog lover and spends most of her time doing both.

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