Karla McLaren

Karla McLaren/Photo credit: Michael Leras Pictures

Photo by Michael Leras Pictures

Karla McLaren, M.Ed. is an award-winning author, social science researcher, and empathy pioneer. Her lifelong work focuses on her grand unified theory of emotions, which revalues even the most “negative” emotions and opens startling new pathways into self-awareness, self-healing, and healthy empathy. She is the founder and CEO of Emotion Dynamics LLC and the developer of Empathy Academy.

Her applied work, Dynamic Emotional Integration® (also known as DEI) is a trailblazing approach to emotions and empathy that helps people develop keen emotional awareness, healthy empathic skills, and emotionally-intelligent mindfulness practices. Since 2015, Karla has taught and licensed DEI Trainers and Consultants around the world, and in 2018, Karla added the DEI Practitioner's track for mental health professionals. 

Karla has also developed the groundbreaking Six Essential Aspects of Empathy model that highlights all of the processes in empathy and makes them understandable, accessible, and attainable. This fully realized model teaches people how to develop and manage their empathy intentionally, and it explicitly welcomes people who have been exiled from earlier models of empathy (such as men, boys, and autistic people).

Karla is the author of The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings are Trying to Tell You (2010), The Art of Empathy: A Complete Guide to Life's Most Essential Skill (2013), the multi-media online course Emotional Flow: Becoming Fluent in the Language of Emotions (2012).

She is also the author (with Janja Lalich, PhD) of Escaping Utopia: Growing Up in a Cult, Getting Out, and Starting Over (Routledge, 2018) – and she is currently in production on two books. The Dynamic Emotional Integration® Workbook will be published this year by Laughing Tree Press, and her illustrated children’s book, Emotions! The Smart Kid’s Field Guide to the Wonderful World of Feelings will be published early next year (Laughing Tree, 2019).

Karla lives in Sonoma County, California with her husband, Tino Plank, a nurse educator working in hospice and end-of-life care. Tino is the co-creator, with Karla, of the Healthy Empathy® training and consulting process.

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