||With much of the focus on empathy coming from the professional contexts of psychology and the medical field, this study moves the scope of empathy research towards understanding how empathic communication is experienced in the personal lives of individuals. A constructivist's approach to grounded theory is used to explore the way a group of students experienced and learned communicative empathy over the course of a semester. Using symbolic interaction as a theoretical lens, this research project centers on two aspects of empathy. First, using empathy journals as a means to access students' personal experiences, it calls attention to the communicative behaviors that the students perceived as paramount to creating an empathic interaction. Second, it highlights how the students' working models of empathy changed over the course of the semester. Drawing on message design logic, the analysis shows that at the outset of the course, the students drew on linear models of communication and a predominantly expressive design logic to conceptualize empathy. By the end of the semester, the majority of the students developed more sophisticated design logics and articulated a view of empathy that was rooted in a transactional model of communication. The limitations and implications of this research are discussed in the final chapter.