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.
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.
Humans are social beings, and our bodies really benefit from learning to fall asleep in the calming presence of someone who loves us.
As we grow, and throughout our lives, our interactions with each other are informed by our approach/avoid reflex: we either approach or avoid someone as a result of repeated positive or negative interactions with them.
In order to have a social response to a person, you first have to notice them. That is why we call the orienting reflex the foundation of our social reflexes. We orient when any of our five senses detect something significant in our environment. And that includes each other.
Expressing our emotions—even (and perhaps especially) the negative ones—is an essential part of building strong connections, supporting a baby’s development, and protecting mothers from postpartum mood disorders. Here, Drs. Welch and Dumitriu sit down to talk about the science behind emotional connection and how it impacts a mother and baby’s health and resilience.