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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.
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.
We’re all dealing with big fears and challenges right now, and maintaining emotional connection is more important than ever. When we don’t connect with others, our brains can’t develop optimally, or function well. One-on-one time can help: here’s how.
In 2020, the Nurture Science Program will reach milestones in research on Family Nurture Intervention in the NICU, Family Nurture Intervention for preschool families, and studies on the use of WECS and WECS+.
The Columbia Nurture Science Program has been studying Family Nurture Intervention with preschool families to understand how supporting emotional connection can help address emotional and behavioral problems. Follow up assessments and data analysis are ongoing, but there has already been positive feedback from parents and Head Start staff.
Intuitively, we recognize that emotional connection touches the heart. New research findings bring together Polyvagal Theory and the Calming Cycle Theory to better explain how our bodies are affected by our experiences and our relationships.