This study examines how psychodynamic social workers understand empathy. Using a constructivist, grounded theory approach, the researcher interviewed 20 psychodynamic social workers with over five years of clinical experience. Each audio-recorded interview was an hour to an hour and a half and took place in the clinician’s or researcher’s professional office. The researcher maintained all interviewees’ confidentiality and closely studied, coded, and collated the data. As a result of the clinician interviews, the researcher found that empathy can be innate and empathy can be learned. She also had several sub-findings. Clinicians stated that they deepen their understanding of empathy through what their clients teach them, that they look for client meaning as part of understanding empathy, and that empathy is a choice. Clinicians interviewed also emphasized the importance of suspending judgment and considering clients’ cultural contexts as part of their understanding of empathy. All clinicians interviewed stressed the importance of understanding countertransference as it informs psychotherapeutic work. The researcher analyzed the data in this study through a self psychology lens. She conducted a thorough literature search and then looked at the data through that lens as part of her analysis of how clinicians understand empathy.