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 pioneering educator whose empathic approach to emotions revalues even the most “negative” emotions and opens startling new pathways into self-awareness, effective communication, and healthy empathy. She is the founder and CEO of Emotion Dynamics LLC.

Karla’s lifelong research has focused on the creation of a grand unified theory of emotions, which presents every emotion as an essential aspect of intelligence, self-awareness, communication, and empathy.

Her applied work, Dynamic Emotional Integration® (also known as DEI) is a leading-edge training program and consultation process that helps people develop keen emotional awareness, healthy empathic skills, and emotionally-intelligent mindfulness practices.

Karla has also developed the groundbreaking Six Essential Aspects of Empathy model that highlights all of the processes in empathy and makes them easily understandable, accessible, and attainable. This fully realized model teaches people how to access, develop, and manage their empathy intentionally. It also 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), and the children's book Emotions! The Smart Kid's Field Guide to the Wonderful World of Feelings (in press, 2018). She is also the author (with Janja Lalich, PhD) of Escaping Utopia: Growing Up in a Cult, Getting Out, and Starting Over (Routledge, 2018).

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 program.

Amanda Ball

Amanda Ball

Photo by Tia Gavin

Amanda Ball, MS is the reason Dynamic Emotional Integration® exists as a unique program. As a dedicated reader of Karla's work, Amanda proposed the idea of basing her postgraduate studies and internship on the work in The Language of Emotions and The Art of Empathy.

DEI was born from her vision and dedication, and Amanda now has her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. She is a lead instructor of the Dynamic Emotional Integration® licensing program, and she is double licensed as a DEI Trainer and DEI Consultant. 

Amanda is also the administrator of Emotion Dynamics LLC, and develops curriculum and programs on emotions (including the Emotional Genius for Teens curriculum), empathy, and addictions/distractions.

Amanda's professional background is in nonprofit volunteer management, adoption and foster care recruitment, and community disaster-response implementation. She has also worked as a school mental health counselor and has taught numerous programs on social and emotional awareness to high school students.

Amanda's professional interests include emotions & empathy, addiction & distractions, neurodiversity, trauma healing, and gender & sexuality. She divides her time between Northern California and New England.

You can learn more about Amanda at her website, Emotional Brilliance.

Sherry Jean Olander

Photo of Sherry Olander by Liz Schenker

Photo by Liz Schenker

Sherry Jean Olander, LMT impressed us here at Empathy Academy in her first days as a student. Sherry’s questions were deep and complex, and she displayed a grounded working knowledge of the DEI skills and concepts. We are so lucky to be able to work with her!

Sherry is double licensed as a Dynamic Emotional Integration® Trainer and Consultant, and she is an Assistant Instructor of the DEI education and licensing program. She is also the creator of the Elemental Balance course.

Reading The Language of Emotions was a life-changing experience for Sherry, and she is thrilled to now be able to teach this work to others. Sherry has been a practicing massage therapist for twelve years, and she brings a deep understanding of healing, embodiment, humor, and empathy to her DEI teaching practice.

Sherry’s professional interests include emotions, empathy, elemental balance, bodywork, creativity, and ritual. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, and plays traditional Irish music on the wooden flute.

You can learn more about Sherry at her website, Quintessence Living.

Jennifer Nate

Jennifer Nate became a licensed Dynamic Emotional Integration® Consultant in June of 2017, and she is an instructor in the DEI Licensing program. She came to Empathy Academy during a period of deep reflection about her past choices and re-evaluation of her future goals. While reading The Language of Emotions, she quickly realized that she had to deepen her knowledge of emotions and empathy so she could help bring this novel approach to more people.

Incorporating DEI into her life has been an awakening that continues to surprise her and take her toward paths that she wouldn’t have considered in the past. She considers it a privilege to be invited into another person’s emotional world and she finds the work of guiding others toward their emotions, in consultations and classes, deeply rewarding.

Jennifer has a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and has worked for a variety of non-profits in marketing and communications. Her specialties in DEI include hyper-empathy, depression, anxiety, and working with the emotions to navigate mid-life challenges. She is also passionate about artistic expression and you will often find her covered in paint or ink, making cards, working with clay, or knitting.

Jennifer lives in Alberta, Canada and enjoys spending time with her two young nieces, who help her see the world in new ways and remind her to stay young at heart.

Anchen Texter


Anchen Texter, BA, LMT, is the creator of Befriending Anger and Befriending Sadness, the first two courses in an introductory series for each of the emotion families, which include anger, sadness, fear, and of course, happiness!

Her path to becoming a double-licensed Dynamic Emotional Integration® Trainer and Consultant first began when she experienced strong emotion during massage sessions – emotions which turned out to be those of her clients! She discovered The Language of Emotions to explain what she was feeling, and The Art of Empathy to tell her how (it was emotion contagion, one of the Six Essential Aspects of Empathy).

Informed by her own journey to establish a deep, experiential understanding of how to set boundaries and work with all of her emotions, Anchen specializes in teaching others to work with anger to gain the gifts it brings, and to develop effective and fun self-care routines. Her experiential approach to teaching supports students in not only understanding, but also experiencing key concepts.

Anchen has also created courses for preventing empathic burnout (from too much emotion contagion, among other things), and coping with stress. She teaches online at Empathy Academy, and holds workshops and classes in person in Oregon, where she lives with her husband and adorable daughter.

You can learn more about Anchen at her website, Emotion Alliance.

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