Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN)


What is CEN?

(more info coming soon)

How do I know if this applies to me?

Some indicators that you may have experienced CEN include:

  • Inability or difficulty identifying how you feel, or only being able to identify when you feel intense anger

  • Difficulties making decisions, even simple ones such as choosing an entree at a restaurant or a movie to see

  • Struggles with self-confidence/insecurity

  • Difficulties identifying your likes/dislikes, wants/needs

  • Profound sense that you don’t really belong anywhere/no one really knows you, and struggles with getting close to others/letting others in

  • Feelings of emptiness/nothingness

  • Struggles with remembering large parts of your childhood, or a sense that things were good/fine but not very memorable

  • Often feel down/irritable/unhappy for ‘no apparent reason’

    For a complete list of CEN signs, feel free to complete the Adult Survivor of Emotional Neglect Questionnaire

How can therapy help?

Therapy can provide you with the necessary validating environment, psychoeducation and practical guidance necessary to help you gain confidence in yourself and connect with others.

what does CEN therapy consist of?

CEN therapy with me starts with a thorough assessment of your early childhood relationships (particularly with caregiver/s) and their quality, and childhood experiences. Since many people who have experienced CEN are not fully aware of what happened to them (due to the fact that certain things pertinent to healthy emotional development simply just didn’t happen and therefore no memories were created), psychoeducation is vital for understanding ‘what should have happened’; in other words, we cannot know what we were missing as a child and heal from it unless we know what healthy human development looks like and what, specifically, is required to foster it. Learning about emotions, and how to connect with, name, and cope with them effectively is the next part of therapy, followed by exercises designed to help increase awareness and learn more about yourself. Finally, additional topics such as self-care, communication, assertiveness and boundary setting may be covered as they all support your ability to live your life with intention and congruency with who you are. Tangible skills and exercises you can do outside of session will be taught in order to help you through this entire process. If necessary, other therapeutic interventions may be used to help you process and heal from past experiences that may be negatively impacting or interfering with your ability to move forward the way you would like.