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4 Types of Empaths: Which Are You?

types of empath

Empath ability manifests in a whole host of ways, some of which may surprise you.

I have identified four main types of empaths but this is by no means an exhaustive or strict list; just some ideas to get you thinking about how your empathic ability can manifest and be applied in everyday life. ⠀

As you get to grips with your sensitivity and learn how to balance self-care with helping others, your specific skill set can begin to blossom.

The term empath is simply a starting point as you get comfortable with working with energy, but as time goes on you can find you drift from the label. ⠀

You might have strengths from more than one group but are more comfortable with either physical, spiritual, emotional or mental empathy. Take a look at these characteristics of the different type of empath and see which one fits you best. 

Empath Abilities

Physical: a physical empath is someone who can feel other people’s physical pain. A balanced physical empath can feel other people’s pain without becoming overwhelmed. 

Mental: an empath who can pick up on what others are thinking with ease and uses the power of their mind for creativity and problem solving. This type of empath is one who is incredibly familiar with their own internal worlds, has vivid dreams and visions. 

Emotional: this type of empath is one who can pick up on what others are feeling as if they were feeling these emotions too. They can sense when someone is being dishonest or deceptive with ease.

Spiritual: a spiritual empath is skilled at picking up on spirits and non-physical beings. This type of empath makes a great medium or intuitive (psychic) reader.

Empathic ability doesn’t have to be ‘out there’, with practice it can be incorporated into all aspects of your life and work.

For example, you could be a great gardener specifically because you are able to feel and interact with your plants, and so can tend to their unique needs.

Your skill set could lie in telepathy and empathy (telempathy), making you a great intuitive reader. Therefore you are able to see where people’s minds are at and guide them on the paths they can take.

A medical empath can sense people’s physical/mental pain without becoming overwhelmed making them great psychologists and doctors.

Learn more about being an empath in my free guidebook.

1. The Physical Empath

  • You feel revitalized spending time in nature 
  • You enjoy working with and caring for animals 
  • You communicate in a telepathic fashion with plants and animals 
  • You often take on the carer role in life 
  • You enjoy working with your hands (some may say you have healing hands) 
  • People often come to you for advice on medical issues 
  • You’re often complimented on your caring nature

The physical empath is one who balances the physical and spiritual world with ease. They can interact with animals and plants in an almost telepathic manner, giving them the ability to tune into each being’s unique needs. 

The physical empath is one who often takes on the carer role in life, whether that be for a family member or in a romantic relationship. Often this means putting themselves last and feeling drained because of it. 

For a physical empath, self care will look like spending time in nature, visiting natural bodies of water, being with their pets or treating themselves to a massage or sauna. 

A physical empath may find themselves attracted to jobs which involve using their hands such as gardening, massage therapy and the medical fields. They may find that people compliment them on their selflessness and ability to cater to people’s needs in an intuitive way. 

Many people who work in these fields do not even recognize their abilities as an empath, being caring is just as part of who they are. However it is your empathic ability that makes you so attentive, you are able to see where people require help in ways that others may not pick up on. 

2. The Mental Empath

  • You have incredibly vivid dreams 
  • You had imaginary friends as a child 
  • You use visualization to problem solve 
  • You are naturally artistic/creative 
  • People often come to you for advice on big picture problems 
  • You are often told that you are not fulfilling your potential 

The mental empath could be said to spend more time in their heads than they do in the physical world. From a young age they are incredibly imaginative and bring this into adulthood. 

This type of empath is likely to work jobs that require a lot of planning and imagination such as fiction writing, architecture or planning functions and events.

A mental empath is someone people go to advice for on the bigger picture as they are able to see things from a bird’s eye view. The mental empath is likely to think through every faucet of a situation in their mind’s eye, figuring out what paths they can take through visualization. 

A mental empath can find it difficult to translate all of their ideas into the physical world, leaving them feeling as if they have no purpose here. It takes realizing how their talents can be channeled that allows them to thrive. Often this type of empath doubts their ability to help others with their vision. 

Self care for mental empaths looks like spending time in nature and bringing their focus back to the physical realms. Journaling and art are great for mental empaths as they allow them to transfer what they can see in their minds into physical form. 

3. The Emotional Empath

  • When you walk into a room you feel a barrage of emotions 
  • You can sense a shift in atmosphere instantly 
  • You are often told that you are too sensitive 
  • People feel comfortable asking you for advice on sensitive topics 
  • Other people’s moods directly influence yours 
  • Your presence can light up a room in seconds 

An emotional empath is someone who often finds it difficult to discern where their emotions begin and others end. Emotional empaths find themselves suffering from emotional fatigue, which is where you take on the pain of others to an extent that leaves you drained and unwell. 

An emotional empath is likely to be seen as ‘too sensitive’. This type of empath can feel like a delicate person in a very harsh world. It’s not uncommon for this to cause the emotional empath to close off their abilities completely or adopt a facade of hardheartedness. 

However it is not sensitivity that’s the problem, but that we haven’t been given the right tools to utilize it. Learning to balance your abilities as an emotional empath means honoring your sensitivity while developing your strength. 

Emotional empaths are usually introverts. Their growth will require them to step out of their comfort zone and learn how to be open without taking on the burden of everyone else’s needs. 

Self care for the emotional empath looks like spending time alone to recharge or spending time with a close friend who respects your emotional boundaries. 

Once an emotional empath is able to set strong energy boundaries and start defining a strong sense of self, they can thrive in jobs such as counselling and psychology. 

4. The Spiritual Empath 

  • You often see ghosts, angels and spirits
  • You can sense if there is a presence in a room 
  • You are often told that your head is in the clouds 
  • You feel as if you are balancing living in two worlds 
  • You already communicate with spirit guides and angels 

Last but by no means least is the spiritual empath. This type of empath has been connected to spirit from a very early age, they may have had experiences seeing spirits and angels in childhood but often keep this awareness to themselves as they grow older. 

For a spiritual empath it can feel as if they are forever shifting between two worlds (the physical and spiritual) and keeping their feet on the ground can be a struggle. 

A spiritual empath is often recognized for seeing how situations might pan out, people often come to them for advice when they have an issue that accepted medical care/psychiatry may not solve. 

There is a paradox where people seem to acknowledge the validity of your abilities but are also judgmental or afraid of them. This can lead spiritual empaths to take on jobs that do not truly satisfy them in order to fit in. 

Self care for the spiritual empath looks like finding a like-minded community to share their experiences with. Taking time to ground themselves in the physical world by walking barefoot on the earth or doing physical activities like hiking or yoga. 

This type of empath is usually drawn to work that balances both the physical and spiritual aspects such as intuitive (psychic) reading, mediumship and life coaching. To find work that is truly fulfilling, a spiritual empath must learn how to be comfortable with their gifts despite what others may think. 

FAQ: Can I have more than one or even all types of empath ability?

Answer: Yes, absolutely, this is only a rough guide based on my experience & what I’ve observed.

The 3 stages of being an empath

stages of being an empath

There are more ‘types of empath’ based upon the different stages your abilities are at. Let’s get into the them.

The unaware empath

First there is the unaware empath. This is someone who doesn’t yet know they are an empath, and their experience tends to be negative.

Feeling like an energy sponge for everyone around them, becoming easily overwhelmed and tired, not knowing how to focus their own energy in a constructive manner.

If this sounds relatable one of the first things you can do is be more aware of where your energy is focused.

Start really small. When you find yourself overly involved in someone else’s energy and emotions, take a step back. Breathe deeply from the stomach and visualize some yellow light in the solar plexus area.

Working with the breath is also important. Many empaths find themselves in a constant fight or flight state that is hard to shake. Breathing deeply from the stomach as opposed to the chest, is a quick way to feel more energized and balanced.

The aware empath

Next there is the aware empath. This is the empath that has started working with their sensitivity. They might not feel completely balanced or focus, but are gradually become more grounded.

The aware empath sets stronger boundaries, learns their strengths and weaknesses so they can better manage them, and understands that their roles isn’t to take on other people’s energies all of the time.

If this phase sounds familiar to you, then I recommend taking up a consistent journaling practice. You’re getting to grips with how your energy works and writing everything down is one of the best ways to unpack that.

Spend a few minutes each day writing in a journal. Just allow the words to flow, writing about anything that comes to mind.

Going back over these notes, highlight or underline any areas of interest or take mental note, and see where your mental energy is most focused.

Where might you want to reign things in?

The powerful empath

Finally we have the empowered empath. This is an empath that is starting to use their abilities for a greater good.

To help others in a discerning and mutual way, who understands their energy better and is less likely to be manipulated, who understand how to tune in and out.

In this phase you want to be zoning in on your empathic strengths. Which abilities resonate most for you and where do you want to focus your work moving forward?

Outgrowing the empath label

I think outgrowing the empath label is a super important phase too.

When I first came upon the word ’empath’ it struck a definite cord. I was taking on other people’s energies to the point where I didn’t know my own. I was tired all of the time. I did see this ability as more of a curse than a blessing.

However with time I realized that my attachment to this label was causing more pain than not. I was more concerned with how people would view me as an ’empath’ rather than simply being empathetic. There was a lot of ego and mental energy tied up in this role.

Moving on from this label doesn’t mean no longer being sensitive. Of course not! It’s about releasing yourself from boxes, and allow your sensitivity to develop in a really organic and grounded manner.

If this resonates with you, try dropping the empath label for a few weeks. What difference do you notice in the expectations you have of yourself…and of others?

How to develop your empathic abilities

Outside of focusing on the areas you are already strong in, there are a few ways to develop your empathic abilities.

Set strong boundaries. Often we take being sensitive to mean being completely open. We are always available to others, always looking to help, even if it means pushing our needs aside.

Know you can be all of these things without sacrificing your own physical, mental, emotional health. Don’t be afraid to look at the ways you might be leaving yourself wide open, and where you want to place some limits.

Notice the shadow that comes along with your empathic abilities. Many empaths find that along with the gifts that come alongside deep empathy, there is a darker side. We might become cold or apathetic, we might also wish to close down or repress our sensitivity.

Often we repress or hide these aspects of ourselves because other people haven’t approved of them, and so we want to protect ourselves. When we first come to terms with our sensitivity we might want to be protective of it, but as time goes on we no longer need to. We can thrive even when others disapprove or aren’t on the same wavelength.

Practice mindfulness or meditation consistently. One of the key ways our empathic abilities become distorted is through a lack of self-awareness. We might be able to pick up on other people’s emotions with ease…but are we in tune with our own?

Carve time away everyday to sit with yourself in quiet. What are you feeling, thinking and doing? No need to do deep introspection or try to analyze everything every time, just be with yourself however that may look – give yourself space.

FREE Energy Work for Empaths Handbook

Which type of empath are you?


18 thoughts on “4 Types of Empaths: Which Are You?”

    1. Can you have more than one Empath ability? I identify with several but one more than the others. I know when I open myself to these abilities I can tap into each one in some form or level.

  1. Found the read very informative,thank you ,I think if more people could acknowledge this in themselves ,I think it can help in life .

    1. I think it would be helpful at this age to teach some simple techniques: taking a deep breath when you are feeling annoyed/frustrated, learning to say no to things you don’t want to do (peer pressure), and perhaps keeping a journal with some affirmations or saying affirmations before bed. Start small.

  2. I always thought I was weird and so did others, because I can physically feel someone else’s pain, whether it be physical or emotional. I sense their thoughts (not always a good thing) and I have had encounters with beings from the spiritual realm. I have to clearly and consciously think through the experience, because it can be very confusing to figure out if it is me or someone else I am sensing. It can be an advantage if it is someone who needs to feel someone understands what they are going through. I definitely feel more at home with animals than humans, it is as if they don’t judge me. It was wonderful to realise I am not alone and there are others like me. Thanks you so much for the article which has cleared up even more what an empath is like. I really enjoyed reading it.

  3. Thank you so much. I am 44 and just coming to the realization that I have to accept who I am , and that I cannot be like “normal” people.lol I have fought this and tried so hard to be like other people and truly hated it. But in the last 5 yrs I have come to the conclusion
    that I dont want to be like others and miss myself terribly I believe I have started a transformation and cannot wait to get where I need to be. I am losing myself and can hardly function anymore .I connect to all 4 of these .. if I had to rate them it would be. #1 emotional #2 mental , #3 spiritual , #4 physical. At least that’s wat I think right now. I only do physical careers and am very successful, I could go further and have been told this even been called an overachiever . I adapt to people I am around and grew up thinking maybe I was a “fake ” person ,
    I also know how situations are going to happen and can steer it to a different path , this I thought I was a manipulative person. Not in bad way though just so they dont get hurt or embarrassed or watever I knew they would think or feel. I’ve lived in 2 different worlds most my life (in my head) because I talked with god on a daily basis , I visualize everything I want to achieve and usually do with little difficulty, even though my whole life has been very difficult. I’m losing all my inner self gifts . Am I going to be just like everyone else now? I cant wait to read this book. Again thank you

    1. HOLLY,
      I can relate to what you said in your comment so much. It helps to know that I’m not alone and I’m not “broken” in some way or another. It took me until I reached my mid-thirties to finally feel as if I’d come full circle so to speak or as if things started to make sense for the first time in my life. I am 39 years old the middle child of three girls, one 5 years older the other 5 years younger. The daughter of a co-dependent alcoholic father and a covert narcissistic mother. My family is severely dysfunctional as my description listed above…. To say it’s the tip of the ice burg is beyond an understatement. I grew up my entire life with more emotions, “feelings”, than I had any idea what to do with. And I had no support system what so ever. I not only had no one to talk to for guidance to make the situation terribly worse, I was never shown that when you are sick in any way other than very basic sicknesses going to a medical dr. Or ER, then you don’t seek medical attention. You just, for lack of a better description, just suffer through it. “This too shall pass” mentality. Which lead to months and months on end of severe depression and in some cases anxiety episodes that would last anywhere from three to fourteen days. And that was from the time I was 8 years old until I was about 30. This realization has been life altering to say the least. I no longer feel as if I’m simply existing until I die. Day in and day out…. Mundane. I don’t know if I am having a midlife crisis but I feel as if I have a new lease on life. I read something one time that explains the life id love to live very well. It says something to the effect of when I die I don’t only want to have lived the length of my life but I want to have lived the width of it as well.
      So all that to say, thanks for sharing oh how I can relate.
      I only wish you well.
      One love

    1. It’s perfectly normal to relate to more than one, this is only a rough guide. But you may find one is stronger than the others.

  4. I think I am a emotional empath. I am attracted to people who are in emotional pain. A recent experience with a lady in emotional pain due to loss of a baby has left me totally broken. I think I should focus on healthy boundaries .I feel I t is curse rather than a gift . You have to go through so much pain to transform.

  5. Suzanna gallegos

    Thank you! I was so confused with the visions and the voices. I keep getting energies that change my mood instantly labeling me as bipolar, anxiety and PTSD. Now I understand where all these changes come from and being able to recognize them has helped me being more centered. I love to walk barefooted (no one can understand this in my close circles, they say it hurts them. I fit right in). I can feel far away the vibrations of everything around me. Including non nature stuff such as cars buildings and so on.

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