Deep emotions and the racist bones

When Joe Biden, a powerful, wealthy, white man who wants to preside over a country built on the backs of enslaved people, said “There’s not a racist bone in my body,” I thought so much about the strangely dislocated and disembodied nature of racism here in the United States. I’ve come to see racism as a haunted, unwanted, and unclaimed entity that has no home and … Read More

Building Empathy and Equity

A retreat intensive with Karla McLaren and Jonathan McRay Friday, August 23rd to Sunday, August 25th in Harrisonburg, Virginia $175 (see friends and family discount below) Emotional healing for racial justice Talking about or confronting racism and inequality can bring up powerful emotions like shame, rage, panic, grief, and despair. And since most of us don’t know how to work with even one of these emotions, … 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

Is it empathy or projection? Ten ways to know.

Can you read the emotions of others, or are you simply projecting your own emotions? The answer to this question isn’t simple, but there are ways tell the difference, and ways to develop your empathic abilities and accuracy so that you’re not simply projecting your own emotional state at others. Ten possibilities to explore Sometimes, people will tell you that an emotion you sensed isn’t there, … 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

Last year, I co-authored a book about children who grew up in cults (like I did) and escaped. 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 well. Because we … Read More

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