The Nurtured Heart Approach® is currently in the process of becoming certified as an evidence-based approach.

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Thank you again for the wonderful Nurture Heart class you taught on Saturday.  My wife and I both felt uplifted and empowered in our efforts to improve our parenting approach. 

I wanted to share with you a small, but rather significate success story in our household.

Sunday afternoon, our youngest son pushed a plastic pumpkin off the table.  Overall, not a big deal, but he needed to be responsible and pick it back up.

After it happened, I stated: “Chad, I need you to pick up the pumpkin and put it back on the table.” 

As he started to walk away and I immediately employed the Nurture Heart Approach. 

Dad: “Chad, thanks for stopping and thinking about putting the pumpkin back on the table.”  No real response, only curiosity, in fact he started to walk away.

As he was walking away, I stated again, “Chad, thanks for thinking about putting the pumpkin back on the table, that shows you are responsible.” 

Dad: “Chad, Wow! You turned around and started walking toward the pumpkin.”  He smiled, walked back to where the pumpkin was sitting and put it back on the table.

Dad: “Chad, how responsible, you put the pumpkin back on the table.”  The process worked.  It really worked, because normally this type of interaction fields a major power struggle.

It was what happened afterward that prompted this email. 

Chad walked up to me and stated: “Did you learn that in the parenting class?” 

Dad: “Learn what?” 

Chad: “You were being so positive.”  (note, he is 7 years old.)

At that monument, I knew he felt rewarded and we had started to create a new, better connection.  I kept thinking about the “connection tank” chart and how the pumpkin interaction could have been so different.  Chad wanted to fill his connection needs with a negative interaction.  By using the positive and redirecting with little steps both sides achieved a much more powerful outcome. 

It was a small success, but the process must start somewhere.  Chad, being Chad, now asked my wife and I to say, “Tell me I am doing a good job for thinking about…”  he is really funny.

Thank you again for the class and helping us to see a better way. 


        “Tyler” has been doing so much better – especially in the past few weeks.  He seems calmer and most of all more open to expressing himself verbally in a very rational, calm and collected manner.  Even when other students have been annoying him, he has been able to ignore them.  I even clipped him up the other day when another student kept trying to talk to “Tyler” when he was supposed to be working- “Tyler” continued to do his work and was not distracted.  Whatever they have been doing in therapy is definitely working.

First Grade Teacher
Oakland Elementary

        Erin Whitney quite literally changed our family's life. I hoped she would be able to help our family; I had no idea the depth of difference she would make. Erin pulled us out of a dark, lonely place into a place of peace, acceptance, forgiveness, and love. We always told our children that we would love them no matter what. Now they believe it; they feel it in their bones.

We have a five-year-old son--very bright and capable--with a rare disorder that affects his gross and fine motor skills and speech. Because of his challenges, he deals with a lot of frustration and anxiety and requires far more attention, energy, and recognition than many typical children. Before we met Erin, when Isaac became frustrated, he would scream, kick and hit--himself or anyone around him--and we did not know how to help him turn it around. Punishing the behavior made it escalate. Ignoring it did not help. We might spend two hours at a time in a stand-off or listening to him scream. And all the while, Isaac's self-esteem was plummeting. My husband and I are resourceful, well-educated people, and we felt completely helpless.

At school, Isaac would tantrum out of control and then hide in a corner of the classroom for two hours out of a four hour day. He wouldn't sit at the table with friends, even to eat lunch. The school called us in for a conference because they were no longer sure how to handle Isaac, either. It was devastating.

Erin first met with us in our home and interacted with Isaac in his environment so that she could see the behaviors that affected our everyday life. Within minutes, Erin was able to help Isaac stop a tantrum and turn back to acceptable behavior. I was amazed. Flat out amazed. And it wasn't anything crazy, but a creative way of finding something positive in the moment and making Isaac feel successful. After one visit, I was able to help Isaac curb his tantrums and get back on track in five minutes or less, every time. I finally had an effective way of changing his behavior that also helped his self-esteem. It was the beginning of a new day at our home.

More than any other intervention we have encountered (and we have encountered many!), Nurtured Heart has given us--and Isaac--the tools we needed to build a foundation of self-esteem, self-control, and self-love that eluded us before. The energy in our home is now positive, loving, hopeful, and joyful. Our children are best friends, and they "Nurtured Heart" each other, because the positive messages they hear from us have literally absorbed into their personalities. Isaac still struggles from time to time, but he is no longer a prisoner of his frustration. He can get out of it in a moment's time and draw on the strength of his self-esteem to get back into a positive groove and move on. We still struggle from time to time, too, because it takes a lot of energy to raise an intense child, but we no longer feel hopeless. We know what to do to help Isaac, and when we are frustrated, we can turn it around, too.

I always tell Erin, we are fans for life! If you aren't sure about whether to try Nurtured Heart, let me encourage you to suspend your reservations. Just try it. Meet with her and observe her interactions with your child. You will be shocked by how much you learn in just a few minutes' time. In many cases, only a brief therapeutic relationship is needed, because the technique is so effective. If you would like to speak to me personally about our experience, please let Erin know. I will be happy to set up a phone call with you.


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