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The Nurtured Heart Approach: Relationship transformation to be taught at Evolve

By Staff | Mar 13, 2020

Wendy Baracka, of Shepherdstown, explains the Nurtured Heart Approach in Evolve on March 5. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — A handful of parents and grandparents gathered in Evolve on March 5, to learn about the basics of the Nurtured Heart Approach from Wendy Baracka, a certified NHA advanced trainer.

Baracka, who is also a licensed social worker, works as a counselor at Shepherd University, and spends her extra time partnering with school systems and professional organizations to teach them the NHA concepts.

While Baracka is now confident in her ability to navigate difficult relationships with people of all ages, that was not always the case. According to Baracka, she first started looking into the Nurtured Heart Approach, after Shepherdstown resident Jamie Gregory told her about his experience teaching the approach himself.

“This is an approach that is very dear to my heart,” Baracka said, mentioning that the approach helped her address a major issue in her life. “I was looking for the right approach to developing my relationship with my very spirited child. I needed to learn how to transform our family dynamic.

“I learned the approach first from Jamie Gregory, and then I took it further, realizing how it could be useful to all families,” Baracka said. “This approach is for those of us who struggle with when to say ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ or where to put your energy.”

The meeting on March 5 gave community members to get a glimpse of what they could learn through further immersion in the Nurtured Heart Approach. Baracka will be teaching a series of three in-depth NHA classes in Evolve, on March 17, 24 and 31, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

“The approach was founded by Howard Glasser, the founder of the Children’s Success Foundation. He was recognizing that traditional ways of teaching and disciplining no longer worked, so he began analyzing when kids listened and learned,” Baracka said, mentioning his experience as a difficult child inspired his approach. “He realized that we all need a dose of emotional nutrition, of ways to connect with other people in ways that are impactful.

“What we’ve seen is that with youth, when there are more serious problems with youth, they are labeled as pathology. It’s alarming — about one in 50 boys today are now diagnosed with ADHD. Today, we have more rates of anxiety and depression than were ever diagnosed before,” Baracka said. “There are very conventional ways in relating to one another, particularly for parents — you do a certain level of punishment to elicit a desired behavior. But sometimes, those conventional ways aren’t the answers on how to take responses from ‘good’ to ‘great.'”

The series of classes costs $150 per person. Contact wendy.baracka@gmail.com to register.

To learn more about the approach, visit www.childrenssuccessfoundation.com.