Critical thinking skills for your emotions

What did you learn about emotions? Most of us grew up hearing very negative things about emotions, such as: “Big boys don’t cry. There’s nothing to be afraid of! You shouldn’t feel angry! Boredom means you have no imagination! Envy is a sin!” And so on. Instead of being taught helpful things about our emotions, most of us were just shamed about them. Most of us … Read More

The Positive Benefits of Swearing … Really!

Personal confession: I love to swear. I developed my freaking excellent swearing habit when I worked as a radio newscaster. On the air, I and everyone at the station had to have perfect manners, perfect diction, and perfect timing while we ran our engineering boards, cued up tapes and CDs, and monitored the clocks. We absolutely could not swear while we were on the air (the … Read More

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

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

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