We’re all dealing with big challenges right now. Stress levels are high, and many of our support systems are disrupted - disconnecting us from family, friends and colleagues.

Nurture Science Program research has shown that when we don’t connect with others, our brains can’t develop optimally, or function well. That makes us more likely to have conflict, behavioral problems, anxiety and depression.

But there are things we can do to establish and maintain emotional connection during this difficult time. We are sharing tips and exercises to strengthen emotional connection, to help calm your body and mind.

We’re all dealing with big challenges right now. Stress levels are high, and many of our support systems are disrupted - disconnecting us from family, friends and colleagues.

Nurture Science Program research has shown that when we don’t connect with others, our brains can’t develop optimally, or function well. That makes us more likely to have conflict, behavioral problems, anxiety and depression.

But there are things we can do to establish and maintain emotional connection during this difficult time. We are sharing tips and exercises to strengthen emotional connection, to help calm your body and mind.

The Nurture Science Program at Columbia University Medical Center is a unique research program rooted in a new, evidence-based understanding of the critical role emotional connection plays in healthy child development.

Our multidisciplinary team is committed to rigorous research, and continues to develop and test nurture-based therapies that support emotional connection to help children and families address, and even avoid, emotional, behavioral, and developmental challenges.

THEORY

Emotional connection and autonomic
co-regulation drive behavior and development.

RESEARCH

The power of nurture is evident from molecular biology to clinical research.

PRACTICE

Translating research findings to evidence-based care can help children and families everywhere.

What We Hope to Achieve

Millions of children suffer from emotional, behavioral, and developmental disorders that can be addressed or prevented. Current treatment strategies often are not effective. The Nurture Science Program’s work can help children and their families.

Over the past 10 years, the Nurture Science Program has amassed considerable evidence to support interventions that advance the child-family emotional connection that is critical to healthy child development. Imagine the possibilities when all children and families have this kind of support.

Connecting in Times of Crisis: Eye Contact

Eye contact can establish connection, but it can also be a by-product of connection. When two people are emotionally connected, they love to look into each other’s eyes. In the NICU, we have observed that when a mother expresses deep emotions to her baby, the baby reciprocates by making eye contact, often for the first time.

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Martha G. Welch, MD, Promoted to Professor of Psychiatry in Pediatrics and Pathology & Cell Biology

Dr. Welch is a researcher, neuroscientist, and professor, and has been a thought leader and pioneer in the treatment and understanding of emotional, behavioral, and developmental health throughout her clinical and academic career.

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Connecting in Times of Crisis: Smell

Smells that evoke emotional connection can calm us deeply, even therapeutically, especially during stressful separation. During this prolonged period of social distancing, we can find creative ways to use smell to connect.

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Connecting in Times of Crisis: Touch

Though touch with loved ones is irreplaceable, we can use what we know about touch and emotional connection to give our bodies a much-needed boost even when we are not together. This can help offset the stress of separation. So how do we get the most benefit?

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