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Dynamic Emotional Integration®

Welcome! We're glad you're here!

Empathy Academy is the home of the Dynamic Emotional Integration® self-care and licensing courses.

Dynamic Emotional Integration® (also known as DEI) is a non-clinical approach to emotional awareness, healthy empathy, and social-emotional education. DEI is based on Karla McLaren's trailblazing approach to the emotions as vital aspects of intelligence and social awareness.

DEI also incorporates her groundbreaking Six Essential Aspects of Empathy model, which makes empathy easily understandable and manageable for everyone.

The DEI concepts and practices can be used by individuals, couples, families, in schools, and in the workplace.

DEI is a 5-month education and self-awareness program based on the work in Karla McLaren’s books, The Language of Emotions and The Art of Empathy, and there is also an additional  8-month licensing program for people who wish to become DEI Consultants or Trainers.

You can find licensed DEI Trainers and licensed DEI Consultants at our sister site, EmotionDynamics.org.

DEI Course Schedule

Why online?

We've been asked these two questions for years:

  1. Are there any people trained in Karla McLaren's work?
  2. Is there a deepening education process for people who want to study further?

These questions and requests have come from all over the globe, and we're happy to say that we can now answer yes!

Thanks to online education, our Dynamic Emotional Integration® courses are workable for people in any locale. We (Karla McLaren, Amanda Ball, Sherry Olander, and Jen Nate) are very comfortable in the online environment, and we have extensive online education experience (including what not to do!). We've worked to build a supportive online environment for meaningful interactions, which includes a live webinar program for weekly meetings (one hour per week during course sessions).

Though in-person work is very important (and in-person retreats are included for people who can travel), we've also created online retreats for people who can't make it out to California. We're providing a live, interactive, responsive, and empathic program where interaction and community are a part of the curriculum.

The three Dynamic Emotional Integration® learning tracks

The Self-Care and Awareness Track: You can take the first 4 courses for your own emotional health and well-being without needing to go onward into a licensing track. The Self-Care track is a 5-month program.

The Self-Care track includes the courses Learning the Language of Emotions (4 weeks), Deeper Inquiry (4 weeks), Exploring the Art of Empathy (4 weeks), and the Self-Care Practicum (6 weeks).

The 2 Licensing Tracks: If you complete the first 4 courses successfully, you’ll have the option to go forward into the 8-month licensing program in one of these 2 DEI licensing tracks:

  • The Consultant track is an 8-month program for people who will utilize the DEI principles and practices in unique non-clinical consultations with individuals.
  • The Trainer track is an 8-month program for people who will offer individually developed group trainings on emotions and empathy using specific DEI processes and materials.

Course Schedule

Dynamic Emotional Integration® course requirements and overview

Time requirements: The DEI curriculum is built on a graduate seminar model, which relies upon your ability to manage your own time and your own reading schedule. Each DEI course involves 10 hours (per course week) of study, assignments, and exercises that you can complete on your own schedule. You'll also be able to post in the Forum whenever you have questions or ideas to share. These 10 hours include one (1) required 60-minute live weekly webinar (per course week) that will be offered at different times and days so that people with heavy work schedules or people in different time zones can attend.

Prerequisites: Students need to have read The Language of Emotions and The Art of Empathy or listened to the audio learning programs before the first course (LoE100: Learning the Language of Emotions) begins. Students should have a working understanding of the concepts and the Empathic Mindfulness practices, and comfort with the emotional skills. This is not a read-along course; it is a deepening and interactive inquiry into the "grand unified theory of emotions" model and the Empathic Mindfulness practices that Karla McLaren has developed over the past four decades.

What each course entails: Each online course includes text and video instruction, assigned reading, and regular live weekly webinar group sessions (of one hour per course week) with Karla McLaren, M.Ed, Amanda Ball, MS, Sherry Olander, Jen Nate, and licensed DEI Trainers and Consultants. There are also extensive written forum interactions with your learning cohort, Q&As, and opportunities for deeper inquiry. This is a live and responsive program focused on your well-being, your empathic awareness and skill, and our learning community.

Online learning awareness: The first three courses in the DEI curriculum deepen and expand your understanding of the material in The Language of Emotions and The Art of Empathy. The reading and response requirements are not difficult, but they require comfort with (or the willingness to learn) online navigation and communication. The fourth course, Self-Care Practicum, brings all of your learning together into practice and application, and includes a 3-day online retreat. You need to be comfortable online, able to read and write for content, willing to engage with your learning community, and willing and able to put new skills and ideas into practice in your own life.

Course Intensive Retreats: There are 3 scheduled intensive retreats in the DEI program. The first is an online-only weekend intensive in course 4 (Self-Care Practicum), and the next 2 intensives are offered as in-person or online options. All in-person and online intensives begin on Friday evening (in each person's time zone) and end after lunch on each person's Sunday afternoon. Each in-person retreat is all-inclusive, including food, lodging, and learning materials. The in-person retreats are held in Sonoma County in Northern California. Local airports are San Francisco, Oakland, and Santa Rosa, California.

Duration: The Self-Care track is a 5-month program, and the 2 DEI Licensing tracks are 8-month programs. DEI cohort 3 started in June 2017 and is already underway. Cohort 4 will begin in October of 2018.

Course Schedule

DEI Reading List

These books will become touchstones as we move more deeply into learning, and each is wonderful, concise, and pertinent.

Most of the links below are to Amazon in the U.S., not because you need to buy them from Amazon (these books are almost certainly available at your library), but so you’ll know which books they are:

Before course 1, Learning the Language of Emotions

Before course 2, Deeper Inquiry

Before course 3, Exploring the Art of Empathy

Before course 4, the Self-Care Practicum

Before Course 5, Deeper Empathy

Before course 6, Peer Consulting & Training

For courses 6 through 8

If you also want to read books for specific situations or specific populations, see the Suggested Reading sections in The Language of Emotions and The Art of Empathy.

Happy reading!

System Requirements

For DEI online curriculum and Forum interactions

  • The most recent version of Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, or Microsoft Edge.
  • Javascript and cookies must be enabled for the site to work properly.
  • A broadband internet connection (25 Mbps or greater download speed), or 4G cellular data plan. 3G will work, but might be unacceptably slow.
  • A computer, phone, or tablet capable of the above with at least 1GB of RAM

EmpathyAcademy.org is made to adapt to almost any display size, however extremely small screens might experience some display issues.

For the Zoom live webinars

For PC users

  • Operating System | Windows XP or higher
  • Processor | IDual Core 2Ghz or Higher (i3/i5/i7 or AMD equivalent)
  • At least 2 GB of RAM
  • Stable and reliable internet connection
  • Graphics | 64MB of graphics memory
  • A webcam and microphone

For Mac users

  • Operating System | OS x 10.8.5 or later
  • Processor | Intel core duo 2.66 GHz + Memory
  • At least 2 GB of RAM
  • Stable and reliable internet connection
  • Graphics | 128 MB of graphics memory
  • A webcam and microphone

For more information, visit the Zoom website.

If your computer can't manage Zoom on its own, you can also visit the web for a live session that includes audio and video of the participants (but not video of you), or you can call in for an audio-only session.

How to apply for Dynamic Emotional Integration®

If you would like to be considered for future DEI cohorts, please send us a statement of interest that includes:

  1. Your name, contact information, location, and time zone.
  2. Your experience with Karla McLaren's work.
  3. Your chosen learning track (which can shift and change as you do).
  4. Your experience with online learning.
  5. Your plans for implementing Dynamic Emotional Integration® in your life and practice.

DEI cohort 3 started in June 2017. Cohort 4 will begin in October of 2018.

Course Schedule

Note: In 2003, Karla McLaren made a sea change in her work, and left her previous spiritual and metaphysical beliefs behind. Her current work -- and DEI -- is focused on emotions, empathy, sociology, anthropology, neurology, and the neurodiversity paradigm. If you would like to learn more, Missing the Solstice chronicles her transition, while KarlaMcLaren.com chronicles her current approach.

Cancellation Policy

If, for any reason, we cancel a DEI course you've already paid for, you will receive a full refund of your course tuition, or you'll have the option of transferring your tuition amount to another course.

If you cannot attend a DEI course you've already paid for, and you notify us at least two weeks before the course start date, you'll receive a refund minus a $100 processing fee. There will be no refunds after this date, as we plan our staffing budget based upon the attendance numbers for each course.



Karla McLaren, M.Ed. [ Instructor ]


    Amanda Ball

    Amanda Ball, MS [ Instructor ]


      Sherry Jean Olander [ Instructor ]



        Tino Plank, MA, MSN, RN [ Instructor ]


          Learn about the entire Empathy Academy Team

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