5 Unique Things People With Childhood Emotional Neglect Need From Their Therapists

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Consider this brief exchange from Abby’s therapy session:

Abby grew up with Childhood Emotional Neglect, but neither she nor her therapist is aware of this. Abby has begun therapy with Dr. Simmons because her PCP became concerned that she might be depressed and referred her.

Abby: I don’t know what my problem is, Dr. Simmons. I should be happy to see my parents, but every time I go there all I want to do is leave.

Dr. Simmons: What exactly happened while you were there on Sunday? Something must be happening that makes you want to get out of there.

Abby: We were sitting around the table having roast beef for Sunday dinner. Everyone was talking, and I just suddenly wanted to get the hell out of there for no reason at all.

Dr. Simmons: What were you all talking about? Something about the topic must have upset you.

Abby: We were discussing regular topics, nothing upsetting. The weather, the increased traffic in our area, my parents’ trip to China. Same stuff we usually talk about.

Dr. Simmons: Did anyone say something hurtful to anyone else?

Abby: Not unless “It took me an hour to drive 5 miles yesterday,” could be considered hurtful.

Abby and Dr. Simmons have a good laugh together. Then they go on to talk about Abby’s new boyfriend.

Childhood Emotional Neglect

Childhood Emotional Neglect happens when your parents fail to respond enough to your emotions as they raise you.

Abby grew up in a family that did not notice, validate, or talk about emotions. Sensing that her feelings were useless and troublesome to her parents she, as a child, walled off her feelings so that she would not have to feel them.

Now, as an adult, Abby lives with a deep emptiness that she does not understand. She senses something missing where her emotions should be. She is living without full access to the font of energy, motivation, direction, and connection that her feelings should be offering her if only she would listen.

And, although Abby does not know it, she has lived through countless family dinners and myriad moments and days of vacuous, surface family interactions where nothing of substance was discussed, and anything that involved feelings was avoided like the plague.

In reality, unbeknownst to both therapist and client in this scenario, Abby is not actually depressed. She only seems depressed because she is not able to feel her feelings. And Abby didn’t “feel like leaving” the family dinner because someone said something hurtful. She actually felt overlooked, invisible, bored, and saddened by what’s missing in her family: emotional awareness, emotional validation, and meaningful conversation.

But she has no words to express this to Dr. Simmons. And Dr. Simmons, unaware of the syndrome of Childhood Emotional Neglect, does not know to ask about it.

Every day, I get messages from CEN people who are disappointed that their therapy is not addressing their Childhood Emotional Neglect. Even if they are pleased with their therapist, and also with many aspects of their therapy, they still feel that, in some important way, they are missing the mark.

Having talked with, or heard from, tens of thousands of CEN people, I would like to share with you exactly what CEN people need from their therapists.

5 Special Things People With Childhood Emotional Neglect Need From Their Therapists

Number 1: To finally be seen.

Growing up in a family that does not respond to your feelings leaves you feeling, on some level, invisible. Since your emotions are the most deeply personal expression of who you are, if your own parents can’t see your sadness, hurt, fear, anger, or grief, you grow up sensing that you are not worth seeing.

Tips For Therapists: Make a special effort to notice what your client is feeling. “You seem sad to me,” for example. Talk about emotions freely, and ask feeling-based questions. Dr. Simmons’ question about the topic of conversation yielded nothing. A fruitful question might have been, “What were you feeling as you sat at the table?” When you notice, name, and inquire about your client’s feelings, you are communicating to your client that her feelings are real and visible, which tells your client that she is real and visible.

Number 2: To be assured that their feelings make sense.

Growing up with your feelings under the radar, you learned to distrust and doubt that your feelings are real. As an adult, it’s hard to believe in your feelings or trust them.

Tips For Therapists: As you notice your client’s feelings, it’s also essential to make sure you understand why he feels what he feels. And then to validate how his feelings make sense to you and why. This will make them feel real to him in a way that they never have before.

Number 3: To learn who they are.

How can you know who you are when you are cut off from your own feelings? CEN adults are often unaware of what they like and dislike, what they need, and their own strengths and weaknesses.

Tips For Therapists: Your CEN client needs lots and lots of feedback. When you notice something about your client, feed it back to him, both positive and negative — with plenty of compassion and in the context of your relationship with them, of course. This might be, “I notice that you are a very loyal person,” “You are honest, almost to a fault,” or “I see that you are very quick to give up on things.” Your CEN client is hungry for this self-knowledge and you are in a unique position to provide it.

Number 4: To be forced to sit with emotions.

Your emotionally neglectful family avoided emotions, perhaps to the point of pretending they didn’t even exist. Therefore, you have had no chance to learn how to become comfortable with your own feelings. When you do feel something, you might find it quite intolerable and immediately try to escape it. Just as your parents, probably inadvertently, taught you.

Tips For Therapists: Be conscious of your CEN client’s natural impulse to avoid feelings (Abby did so by cracking a joke, which worked quite well with Dr. Simmons). Continually call your client on emotional avoidance, and bring her back to feeling. Sit with that feeling with her as much and as often as you can.

Number 5: To be taught emotion skills.

Growing up in your emotionally vacant family, what chance did you have to learn how to know when you’re having a feeling, how to name that feeling, what that feeling means, or how to share it with another person? The answer is simple: Little to none.

Tips For Therapists: As you name your CEN client’s feelings and continually invite her to sit with them together, it’s also very important to teach the other emotion skills she’s missed. Ask them to read your favorite book on how to be assertive, and use role-playing to teach her how to share their feelings with the people in their life. Freely use the Emotions Monitoring Sheet and the Emotions List in the book Running On Empty to increase her emotion vocabulary.

Why We Need More CEN Trained Therapists

As more and more people become aware of their Childhood Emotional Neglect, more are seeking therapists who understand the CEN they have lived through and are now living with. On my Find A CEN Therapist Page, I am referring clients all over the world to CEN therapists near them. 650 therapists are listed so far in locations all over the world. Yet the demand is great and growing and more CEN-trained therapists are needed!

As a therapist, once you learn about this way of conceptualizing and treating your clients, your practice will be forever changed.

To learn much more about healing Childhood Emotional Neglect and other topics join my Free CEN Breakthrough Video Series!

Therapists, I invite you to join my CEN Newsletter For Therapists. If you take either my 2 CEU therapist training, Identifying & Treating Childhood Emotional Neglect, or my 12 CEU Fuel Up For Life therapist training you can apply to be listed on my Find A CEN Therapist Page. I will send you referrals.

To learn more about Childhood Emotional Neglect, see my first book Running on Empty 


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below
alive1 - September 14, 2020 Reply

Hi, I’d like to ask about something about this article too.

“Your CEN client needs lots and lots of feedback. When you notice something about your client, feed it back to him, both positive and negative — with plenty of compassion and in the context of your relationship with them, of course. This might be, “I notice that you are a very loyal person,” “You are honest, almost to a fault,” or “I see that you are very quick to give up on things.” Your CEN client is hungry for this self-knowledge and you are in a unique position to provide it.”

This is true and I had no idea just how true this is before, but my problem is it all just seems like random compliments, not serious. So I don’t take it seriously myself either. The only thing that has ever really worked me so far was me tuning into what I am like from the outside, like how someone sees me when they are able to comment about me like that. And this is really hard to do tbh. I just recently got some short moments of it randomly but it’s pretty surprising when it happens. It’s usually positive stuff I notice. It is kind of always so disbelievable, that WOW this is actually positive, I actually have this positive thing about me!. But I do try to believe it hahah because it feels so good lol. It just happens really rarely still and only for a short moment. But I want to hope that it keeps building up an image of what I am really like and in a positive way too, not just negative. Because I spent years trying to see the negative, and the negative only. Because I was gaslighted in a relationship of mine so I kept thinking that I was at fault for everything and that thus I needed to fix these negatives.

You can imagine how damaging that would be.

Anyway yeah I have no idea why it just feels like random compliments from others, it was like this even before the toxic relationship stuff. So because it feels that way I’m not able to absorb the positive comments from others. I still am not really able to. I mean recently my mother’s new husband (they married a couple years ago) did make a positive comment and I actually was open to taking it in for the first time forever but I was also like, I was kind of not believing that he is making this positive comment when we never really talked like that before. And I did pay for it bad, because the next day or so, he made some bad comment too at me in an otherwise small conflict and it was really bad. It would not have felt so bad if I hadn’t been open to the positive comment before. I’d have been more neutral as my default is. But this way it really crashed me for a while, his negativity. And I can’t remember anymore exactly how it got fixed but I think it did involve me expressing anger eventually. I think I vented it a bit to my mother. She kind of made a funny expression about it all to me, I can’t remember exactly what it was or how it was funny but it felt good. Afterwards I think I was fine again. But I don’t think I was open to her husband again like that and he also did not make another positive comment or if he did I didn’t notice. He doesn’t mind me though, I know that. Just this emotional connection thing was too much for me in my state as it is now.

So how do you prepare your CEN clients for such challenges and obstacles on the road? Or is my experience not that common when trying to fix CEN?

I’m glad that I’m at least able to describe this, with enough emotion words, or more than I had before, anyway. I really lack in those for sure where they would be useful to describe situations with people, i.e. not my own emotions, but the emotions of the outside situation. That is also an extra challenge to me, would you say it’s typical of CEN?

Also I had a thought on the example where Dr. Simmons is supposed to ask how Abby felt in the situation. I would not expect a severely CEN person to just really know that, obviously, and so maybe what would help instead is asking them to recall other situations where they experienced the same thing. And try to find connections between the situations that are emotionally connected in such a way. And that can help with identifying the feeling, assuming the person with such severe CEN is able to see and experience the feeling enough in the first place. And it also assumes that the CEN person was able to tune into the (unidentified) feeling in the first place. Even able to notice it at all, that there IS something emotional, that there is something emotional that then has to be found. (Which is absolutely the very first step before you can try to tune in to get aware of it. Call it step zero.)

Martha - June 9, 2020 Reply

I can relate or understand humm’s comment about needing to have others describe my feelings even tho they often don’t get it right as far as how I am feeling. But if they are open to letting me say then how I actually am feeling then it feels like we are connecting. I wish I could personally correspond with humm.

    humm - September 14, 2020 Reply

    Hey Martha:). I don’t know if you check back to see the comments here, probably not… but if you do, I’m up for talking sure. I can post my email in that case. Feel free to let me know. (I also write my comments on here under the alive1 nick now.)

Judith - June 8, 2020 Reply

I am aware I CEN but I find the same thing happens between me and my eldest daughter. She isn’t good with emotions her own or others more specifically mine. I don’t feel part of her family, feel I need to be mindful of what I say to her. She will call on me if she needs practical help but I am reluctant to ask her for help. She sees me as strong and I should find my own support. Not that I need support from her at the moment but some emotional support would be nice. I get the impression she is way too busy and everything else is far more important then even a phone call. Mainly I find her attitude hurtful and I suppose it goes back to my own CEN. No idea how to deal with this and I don’t want to come across as needy.

    Jonice - June 8, 2020 Reply

    Dear Judith, you describe a classic CEN mother/daughter relationship. There are things you can do to heal this! I encourage you to read my second book, Running On Empty No More. It will walk you through the decision-making and steps to take. All my best to you and your daughter.

humm - June 7, 2020 Reply

Some of this was interesting. With the first tip, I would like to add something. It talks about being seen emotionally. YES this is important, to not be “faceless” but to actually have a sense of your own person emotionally and in a personal way.

I would say, the recommended method would have to be adjusted for some people though. For me definitely it would have to be. If I am asked what I was feeling in a situation or what I am feeling now, I would “draw a blank”. I just can’t respond on the spot like that. I’ve found the only thing that works for this is talking with someone who keeps telling me about emotions related to every utterance of mine, telling me how I seem to be feeling and ofc validating all that constantly. They may get it wrong as to how I am feeling, but I would still have a chance of picking up about emotions more that way. And I can over time understand and see more emotions. This is what has worked for me the best so far. I would never get anywhere with the usual method of being asked how I am feeling. I have asked therapists repeatedly about what they think people would feel in the situation and I would always get the noncommittal and useless answer that everyone feels differently. … To put it another way, what seems to work is someone reading my emotions on the spot and conveying them to me. Then I have a chance to read them better myself, over time. Especially if the validation is also instantly added to whatever emotion they’ve read off of me. I agree that that does make them feel real to me “in a way that they never have before”. I liked that phrasing. With the 3rd tip, this is exactly what I mean, I need feedback on how I am feeling, I need to be actively being read emotionally by the other person and then mirrored/told about it.

Did this make sense?

    Jonice - June 8, 2020 Reply

    Yes, it does make sense. It’s good that you know this about yourself so that you can let others know, especially any therapist you may have now or in the future.

Nicole - June 2, 2020 Reply

Hi Dr. Webb! This article was truly needed for me. I left therapy for the third time last fall and was (again) left with a feeling like I failed to get out from under my emptiness. It’s like for years of journal writing I’ve been screaming about this threshold I cannot cross — thinking all the while it is the therapist I must not trust to emote past a certain point with. They can see I am on my island (behind my wall 😉 but each time I tried to explain why I am there, they never could get me farther along. After reading your book and joining your program I know now I had constructed a wall of safety so I did not dare to have an emotion in my family. I kept trying so hard to answer the question “How did that make you feel?” and I never had words. I still have such a shallow grasp on my emotion words — trying each day to expand on my emotional vocabulary. I realize it wasn’t so much me that wasn’t able to get off my island, it was more that my therapists were uneducated in CEN and how to help me. I’m so glad you put this article together so if/when I consider trying again I have bouncing off points to help me with the conversation I really need to be having to get a much better therapeutic fit. You have changed the face of my entire life’s problems by finally helping me find words to name my emotions. You have helped me start to peel back layers of wall that I have carried for nearly 50 years. The spot light finally went on that shows me the work that needs to be done — it confirmed what that black hole inside of me finally was — a lifetime of repressed feelings that I “wasn’t allowed” to feel. I am incredibly overwhelmed with the amount of feelings I kept pushing down. The work is unbearable sometimes and I am still terrible at the IAAA, but I know if I just keep at it I will unburden myself and possibly find out for the first time in my life who I am and what I want. Your program is a God-send and I am grateful.

    Jonice - June 3, 2020 Reply

    Dear Nicole, I am so glad you are finding so much help and support in the Fuel Up For Life Program. Thanks for sharing your story and progress with us! Keep up the good work 🙂

Penny - June 1, 2020 Reply

What if CEN plus violence but actually you’re in tune with emotions? Abbey feels saddened and more by missing in her family emotional awareness, emotional validation, and meaningful conversation. It seems generally that is missing in most folk most of the time. Vacuous, surface interactions are meaningful enough to many folk? It is sad, alienating and off-putting.

Amy - June 1, 2020 Reply

Your work validates the work I started in my teens and continue to work on. The abuse coupled with neglect in my family was obvious to me starting at age 7. I could do nothing about it until I was old enough to seek help and leave my family. It was very difficult. I had zero support for many years and lived in a bubble of confusion while I attempted to reclaim my personhood. Learning to feel again was monumental. Learning to separate my feelings and perceptions from others was just as, if not more difficult. I had become so trained to shut down my reality and have others define me. Being raised by mentally ill, abusive and neglectful parents took a toll. In finding my way out of the quicksand, I have gained strengths I could never have imagined. My heart is full. Thank you for your work.

    Jonice - June 3, 2020 Reply

    What a wonderful description of your progress, Amy! Thanks for sharing!

Corinne - May 31, 2020 Reply

This article was helpful for me to see my progress over the past 2 years. I’ve been working with a therapist and she has been very helpful with feedback and acknowledging my feelings as important. I think having someone validate the importance of feelings is a biggie for me. I’m going to be 62 soon and only away from the neglect of my parents for 12years. I feel proud of the progress I’ve made, but still have much work to do. I wanted a home and close family but don’t expect to find a happy marriage at this point in my life. Focusing on time for me and open to new, more emotionally healthy people in my life.

Loretta - May 31, 2020 Reply

Dr. Webb,
What about alexithymia? I’ve been in a 20 year relationship and I feel like a complete fraud. I’ve read as much as I can
from what you have written, but really wonder if just learning skills will be able to help my husband understand the hurt I feel and the hurt I have caused him by my emotional vacancy.
I’m about to start counseling and don’t want to waste any more time not getting to some actual solution. This feels like a life sentence.

    Jonice - June 1, 2020 Reply

    Dear Loretta, the silver lining here is that it is not a life sentence at all. But you do need to do the work to heal yourself. Consider finding an individual CEN therapist too; and/or take the Fuel Up For Life program to help you target the problem and make faster and better progress. All my best wishes.

Fan (Linda) Wu - July 5, 2019 Reply

I kind of feel like no matter what your mental diagnosis or problem is, the common thread of every mental problem has to do with the feeling that it’s hard to be a winner, to be a solution seeker and not the noticer of problems, wanting to solve problem after problem. It’s like how I wanted to be a peace maker because I notice the fighting, the pain, the things going wrong, but is it really there? Is it okay to fight, to not be okay, to have life be messy? Unconditional love means you don’t expect anything in return. That means we need to be skilled, right? We need knowledge enough to not feel helpless in a difficult situation; otherwise how would we give unconditional love while being helpless? When we are helpless, we start relying and blaming. So where is our source of power is the ultimate question.

    Jonice - July 5, 2019 Reply

    Dear Wu, why are you so concerned about unconditional love? That is meant only for parents toward their children and is not healthy in other relationships. I suggest you focus more on yourself and seeing, knowing, valuing and loving yourself.

Fan (Linda) Wu - July 4, 2019 Reply

Hello. I have read and reread this article. And something is like jumping out at me. I realize right now that I am not good at expressing emotions with everyone. I wonder how would I ever accept my boyfriend’s feelings for other girls, since I know he has a history of being somewhat of a player. It’s like I have to take a step back and not get personal. Something about unconditional love where I am not the center of attention, but more of a guide. Perhaps real virtue is unconditional love. Except things get personal with a lot of people and they want to force me to be a certain way. I’m wondering where is the line between making myself feel validated emotionally and helping someone else. Seems like I can’t do both. My boyfriend is an extreme CENed person. My feelings for him are so involved that I need to be validated sometimes. But he needs it more. It’s like with my CEN parents and CENed boyfriend, traditional roles are nonexistent. I have to make up an altogether new role. Like being a maverick or thinking outside the box. I’m not just a girlfriend or daughter and they’re not just a boyfriend or mom or dad. There seems to be a pattern of CEN or CENed people, same thing, not being able to be consistently being in their role and it mixes my roles up.

Tess - June 30, 2019 Reply

Hi Jonice,

First, thank you so much for all the articles you write and your books about CEN. They have already made so much difference in that I now understand what is going on with me and what has made me who I am.
Your story above about Abby rings so true for me. My mother is probably a ‘well meaning but emotionally neglected herself’ parent and very low on empathy and sensitivity. We live a few hundred miles apart and my weekly phone calls with her are draining, as it feels like she doesn’t really take an interest in my life and what I say, and instead our ‘conversation’ is her giving me a full run-down of her week. I reach the point that I have no energy to tell her about my week even if I get the opportunity, as what I say meets with little emotional response or validation; she just moves on to the next thing she wants to say.
My husband says I should talk to her about the way she is as he can see it upsets me, but I’ve tried to explain how I feel in the past to her and she just gets very upset and actually doesn’t understand… to the point of denying there is an issue. As far as she’s concerned she loves me so what’s the problem? So, I feel it’s better and far less stressful to just say nothing and suck it up.

So my question is: In your experience is it ever worth talking to parents about CEN?

A heart-felt thank you!

    Jonice - July 2, 2019 Reply

    Dear Tess, I think there may be more going on with your mom than CEN. CEN people tend to take up little space, and it sounds like your mom takes up a lot. Please get a copy of Running On Empty No More, and read it. It has come very helpful guidance for you in your situation.

      Tess - July 2, 2019 Reply

      Thanks for replying Jonice; I will do that!

      katie - May 31, 2020 Reply

      Hi Jonice! Thank you so much for this newsletter. I also experience the same situation as Tess with my mother (she takes up a lot of space). Would you be able to specify which section would be helpful in your book?

        Jonice - June 1, 2020 Reply

        Hi Katie, it’s the second section of Running On Empty No More: Transform Your Relationships. It’s all about your relationship with your CEN parents and includes an example similar to your description.

Aish - June 26, 2019 Reply

Hi, Jonice.

I discovered I had CEN like 2 to 3 years ago and was able to manage it through your book. But something happened last week where I still couldn’t understand why my mind reacted that way and my inability to handle it.

I worked in a typical fast food restaurant and was stationed to serve the customers during peak hours. Because I have CEN, I need to TAP and FEEL my emotions constantly and be intuitive about customers needs.

I was stationed there for one and a half months and boom. Suddenly my brain pulled out all of its wires and if it can emit a sound, it will sound like an alarm of a spaceship going down. The indescribable feeling was so intense that I was in lockdown mode – fetal position. I was trying to protect myself really, and others too. I am afraid I could harm my colleagues.

But the intense feeling don’t end there. When I went home, it doubled and my body couldn’t take it anymore and wanted to shut down. But my spirit to live won’t let me. For 3 days I was in constant struggle trying to take control of something I could not understand. whatever that feeling is, it tried to kill me. It was scary and I went to see a therapist.

I’m still trying to understand what the hell happened to me back then. I suspect me trying to connect with customers causes my brain to fry because the wire that taps onto emotions is not there, or very frail. And I think stationed there serving food for customers during peak hours really did damage to me.

Thankfully the management understand and pull me out. The next question is, how do I connect to people if my emotions are tuned way took low to even feel anything. I can feel my feelings yes. I just don’t force my feelings to come out just so that I can connect to people. I’m sorry I’m just confuse at myself right now….

    Jonice - June 27, 2019 Reply

    Dear Aish, the process of CEN recovery requires consistent and regular attempts to get in touch with your feelings using the Identifying & Naming Technique. It’s described in the book Running On Empty and if you were to join my online program, Fuel Up For Life, I will walk you through it. It’s important to deal with your walled off emotions in a controlled way and with support and help.

      humm - June 7, 2020 Reply

      Let me add, Aish’s experience is familiar. It’s just a different brain compared to people who have a more emotional brain. I would say the methods do have to be adjusted for such people, even though CEN is still a valid concept for them, and yes emotional awareness is still a useful skill. This is what I was going on about in other posts (I used the Notaddingup nick for another comment thread on your website). I did suggest one change for methods in another post. Of course, it’s a suggestion based on my experiences only, but I hope it can be eventually helpful. Thanks for reading.

Suzie - June 25, 2019 Reply

Finding your work has opened up my eyes to why I have continually been stuck in the loop of destructive patterns and beliefs. As a therapist myself I can’t wait to share it with others who have also felt like they are separate and outside looking in most of their life like me. It all makes so much sense now. Thank you so much Jonice – just starting on your second book now.

    Jonice - June 27, 2019 Reply

    I’m so glad Suzie. I hope you enjoy Running On Empty No More: Transform Your Relationships.

Anonymous - June 25, 2019 Reply

Your emails and discussions on CEN have helped me tremendously to realize That feelings are important and central to who we are as people and how we relate to other people. Thank you. I am so glad and feel relief to know it’s OK to have feelings…and to realize I had CEN…

Lori Crockett - June 24, 2019 Reply

The feelings I had at family gatherings were definitely those you listed, but also feelings of betrayal, distrust, anger, and feeling less than and not good enough. I was a walking emotional target for more hurt, neglect, and being dismissed.

    Jonice - June 25, 2019 Reply

    Dear Lori, I am sorry that happened to you. I hope you have taken, or will take, the steps to heal your trauma and neglect.

Sue - June 24, 2019 Reply

Your research has been extremely helpful in figuring out past behavior and connecting that to current issues. Thanks for all of that! Any plans to frame things for those of us in the dating world? I am dealing with CEN, am long since divorced from a husband who also has CEN, but never knew or acknowledged it. I struggle with being open to new relationships, and really don’t have a clue how to proceed in a healthy way. Your 2nd book deals with relationships, but not so much with finding potential/new relationships. Any way to look for what is good for me and not fall into the same behaviors?

    Jonice - June 27, 2019 Reply

    Dear Sue, that is a good question! I’ll need to think about how to answer that and will try to write a blog on that topic soon!

Patricia - June 24, 2019 Reply

Dear Janice, I came across your email.about CEN about a year ago. I thought wow ! This is the main neglect, abuse I have suffered. Was like a neon light being switched on. As my 2nd husband is American and I am Australian, we are apart a lot due to finances and our marriage hasn’t been too good lately as we haven’t seen each other for 18months.I definitely saw CEN in him too. We’re in our70,s now and thought we would be together, and a bit more peaceful life, but no not like that. Anyway I can’t find a CEN Counsellor bin Australia and know it would be expensive. Thank you so much for your information. Helps a lot . Patricia.

Patty Bonomo - June 24, 2019 Reply

I have an incredibly gifted, compassionate, sharp and sensitive therapist. I sent it to her so that she could also be available to others. She certainly has the ability.
You have brought answers for so many, Jonice!
I no longer ask myself “what’s wrong with me?”


    Jonice - June 27, 2019 Reply

    Dear Patty, I’m glad you shared this article with your therapist. Keep up the good work!

Gwyn - June 23, 2019 Reply

Dr. Janice,
Thank you!!!! I just left my last therapist due to all you said! And this and the work you are doing is a gift from God!!!! You are a big blessing! I will show these great tips and more to my next therapist!!! God bless you! Gwyn Gilmore

    Jonice - June 23, 2019 Reply

    I’m glad to be of help, Gwyn!

Janie Maria De Vries - June 23, 2019 Reply

Dr. Jonice: The timing of this email couldn’t have been better!! I believe as an older adult, and not being aware of CEN in my life until, probably 2-3 years ago, each day that passes by, I am fully aware of the messes that need cleaning up, and not a significant support system. The affirmation I feel this morning regarding your post; 5 unique things…. is such a source of encouragement. I have a new therapist currently, 5 sessions so far. I cannot criticize her character, or her trying to help me, but I do not think our therapy time is helping me. I’ve been trying to put my finger on it, and this is what I come up with. Probably sounds silly, so I wonder if my subconscious is driving this. Because I had 0 connection with my mother, 0 attachment, especially as an infant, I feel the need for my therapist to be a little bit fluffy with me in her approach. It’s almost like I wished she was a little chubby and spoke slow and impeccable listening skills. Not Gramma like, but nurturing. This particular therapist is sharp, smart, skinny, and a little jovial. She “seems” to get me, but when I leave, I feel dissatisfied. She’s organized, meticulous in her attire, and quick moving.
(Maybe this sounds exhaderated). Where’s spell check? 😉 Am I being too demanding? I feel my pain just sits and brews. My prayer today, you could please take a minute and comment on my feedback. I know I would feel affirmed. I believe it’s your heart’s desire to help those of us who are suffering, to help us live out the remaining of our limited lives with purpose and ability to share with those still suffering or worse yet, unaware of their CEN. Thank you Jonice for your timely email today. May God bless you, and raise up therapists that have the same determination that you do. With this sort of disorder, we need special attention and most assuredly understanding. Thank you.
Jane De Vries
I do not want to die with potential.

    Jonice - June 23, 2019 Reply

    Dear Jane, I hope you will ask your therapist to read Running On Empty and/or this article, and talk with her about what you need from her. That is Step 1!

Halee Roberts - June 23, 2019 Reply

Great article Dr. Webb! I enjoy them all but especially this one. Thanks for all your work. I’ve been doing your CEN therapy for over a year now and having clients read your book and sometimes your second book as well when I see couples. Thanks for all you do.

    Jonice - June 23, 2019 Reply

    I’m so glad to hear that, Halee! Thanks for your comment.

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