Quiz: How to Know If You’re an Empath

Hello! After studying empathy and emotions for four decades, I’ve developed a very simple and accurate way to tell if you’re an empath. Are you ready to find out? Karla McLaren’s Amazingly Accurate Quiz for Empaths Question 1: Are you breathing? Yes/No (choose one) Yes? You’re an empath. No? Take a breath and start over at Question 1. (spoiler alert) Congratulations! You’re an empath! That’s a … Read More

Learning to Value Your Anger

How does anger work? In my work with emotions, I identify what’s happening when people feel specific emotions. For instance, when we say we’re angry, what is occurring? What are the situations that call forth an anger response and how does the anger address what’s happening? How does anger support or impede us, and what is anger’s purpose? Over the decades, I’ve asked that question of … Read More

Understanding Unhealthy Influence

Escaping Utopia (Routledge, 2017), which I co-authored, tells the stories of 65 people from 39 different cults in more than a dozen countries. My co-author, sociologist Janja Lalich, PhD, is an internationally renowned expert on cults, indoctrination, extremist groups, and terrorist groups, and she is a cult survivor. So am I. Janja knows cults from the inside out, and she shows that a cult is simply a … Read More

Understanding Unhealthy Forms of Control

Escaping Utopia (Routledge, 2017), which I co-authored, tells the stories of 65 people from 39 different cults in more than a dozen countries. My co-author, sociologist Janja Lalich, PhD, is an internationally renowned expert on cults, indoctrination, extremist groups, and terrorist groups, and she is a cult survivor. So am I. Janja’s work on cults is groundbreaking because she knows cults from the inside out, and she … Read More

Understanding Unhealthy Belief Systems

Escaping Utopia (Routledge, 2017), which I co-authored, tells the stories of 65 people from 39 different cults in more than a dozen countries. My co-author, sociologist Janja Lalich, PhD, is an internationally renowned expert on cults, indoctrination, extremist groups, and terrorist groups, and she is a cult survivor. So am I. Janja’s work on cults is groundbreaking because she knows cults from the inside out, and she … Read More

Understanding Unhealthy Leadership

My book Escaping Utopia (Routledge, 2017) tells the stories of 65 people from 39 different cults in more than a dozen countries. My co-author, sociologist Janja Lalich, PhD, is an internationally renowned expert on cults, indoctrination, extremist groups, and terrorist groups, and she is a cult survivor (as I am). Because we both have first-hand knowledge of living inside cults, our book doesn’t focus on just one … Read More

Welcome to the Empathic Autistic Community!

Hello and welcome! I just received an email from a young newly-identified autistic man* who was looking for resources, and I realized that I need more pages devoted to resources on my site! *I use identify-first language (for instance, autistic man) for most disabilities, including my own, and it’s an intentional choice. Before you prepare a person-first lecture, see the note at the bottom of this … Read More

Love is constant; only the names change

In my work, I focus on emotions and empathy, and people regularly ask me whether love is an emotion. To my eye, no, it’s not. Here’s why. Why love is not an emotion When an emotion is healthy, it arises only when it’s needed, it shifts and changes in response to its environment, and it recedes willingly once it has addressed an issue. When love is … Read More

Welcome to Autism Acceptance Month!

And Now We Celebrate! April 2nd is International Autism Awareness Day, but really, if you’re not aware of autism yet, where have you been? The cool kids have already moved on from mere awareness to inclusion, acceptance, and love. We’re celebrating Autism Acceptance Month. Many of my friends in the autism community find mere awareness campaigns to be painful, because the messages about autism tend to … Read More

Emotion Regulation helps you persevere

Where do we go from here? We are in a new and deeply troubling world, where pundits, writers, philosophers, social scientists, and spiritual leaders are churning out endless opinion pieces about how we got here. We’ve all been consuming these opinions, and that’s a natural response. But I don’t know if it’s helping us regulate and ground ourselves. I don’t have an opinion piece yet; it’s … Read More

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