How to Identify Low Self-Worth in Children

 Would you believe that I can spot low self-worth and poor shame tolerance even in a child as young as three?  It’s true. Sometimes it is obvious. I have worked with three- and four-year old children who say things like: “I’m no good,” and “I’m a bad kid.” These...

How to Really Improve Communication in Your Relationship Through Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples

Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples uses a paradigm of negative communication patterns that most couples engage in. Couples learn to identify triggering behaviors or words, secondary emotions of anger and withdrawing, and primary or deeper emotions, such as shame, hurt, disappointment. Attachment fear of being rejected, unloved or unwanted drive the patterns. In EFT, we try to get couples to notice this pattern and to become aware of their own deeper emotional responses as part of that pattern.

Emotional Contagion: How We “Catch” the Feelings of Others

Our brain contains mirror neurons, designed to pick up on the emotional status of our companions and react to emotions. This ability to read, attune to, and respond to emotions of others is called emotional contagion. While this system is very helpful when we are in relationships with kind, fair, calm, and emotionally balanced people, it can go haywire if we spend time with people who are insecure, anxious, depressed, narcissistic, or angry.


Intrusive parents can cause children to feel a need to exert control and gain a sense of autonomy, perhaps through behaviors such as refusing to toilet train, as this child had. Others may develop issues with food, becoming picky eaters or refusing to eat. In adolescence this may show up as the eating disorders of anorexia or bulimia, extreme rebelliousness, and promiscuous sexual behavior. 

How Does a Narcissistic Sibling Affect the Personality of a Brother or Sister?

It is so very sad that the wounded and traumatized narcissistic child inadvertently harms and traumatizes his or her siblings. We can be understanding that they do this in an attempt to get their own emotional needs met, but, as all narcs do, they sow emotional destruction in the relationships around them. It is sad, too, that the victims are left without the close, loving, supportive relationship of a brother or sister — a deep, relational trauma and loss that can affect their sense of self and safety in relationships throughout their life.