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The Power of Listening

Promoting Health and Wellbeing of Children and their Caregivers

“We learn to listen by being listened to”

Claudia M. Gold MD Portrait
Claudia M. Gold MD

Books by Claudia M. Gold MD

Reviews

“In this lively and riveting book, Claudia Gold and Ed Tronick show us how the successful repair of missteps and failures form the foundation of a graceful and coordinated dance between ourselves and those around us. Even if the roots of our troubles are deep in our early relationships, human connections can heal by engaging us in a new set of moment to moment mismatches throughout life and present us with opportunities for connection as long as we, and those around us, are open to repair and re-connect."
The Power of Discord Book Cover
Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD
Author of The Body Keeps the Score
“A very useful, thoughtful book. It lays out the best thinking of our time to help parents make decisions about nurturing their child’s development.”
Keeping Your Child in Mind Book Cover
T. Berry Brazelton, MD
Professor of Pediatrics, Emeritus Harvard Medical School
"A highly readable text, wise and empathic, that integrates theory, recent research, and vignettes to guide clinicians in... listening thoughtfully to help parents resolve tensions at a very meaningful point in their child's development."
The Development of Early Childhood Book Cover
Michael S. Jellinek, MD
Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
"Drawing on powerful research, as well as the timeless and insightful wisdom of Winnicott, Bowlby, and many more, Gold makes an undeniable case for the simple act of listening, an act that in many cases can be the most potent treatment available."
The Silenced Child Book Cover
Claire Nana
review at Psych Central

Listening to parent and baby together using the Newborn Behavioral Observations (NBO) system

Quotes from My Books

The Power of Discord Book Cover

From "The Power of Discord"

As I shifted from asking questions and giving advice and instead simply listened, I saw families move from anger and disconnection, sometimes through deep sadness, and then to moments of reconnection. A young child would spontaneously run into her mother’s arms to receive a hug. Often I felt a tingling in my arms, and my eyes filled with tears in the presence of rediscovered joy and love.

The Silenced Child Book Cover

From "The Silenced Child"

When we don’t listen, whether as a parent, friend, or professional, most often it is because we are overwhelmed... We want to help, but we feel helpless. We want to “do something.” But without listening, these jumps to action may inadvertently close off, or silence, a child’s communication. When we pause for a moment of human connection and communication, we discover a path to healing.

The Development of Early Childhood Book Cover

From "The Developmental Science of Early Childhood "

When a clinician makes time to listen to the story from an infant mental health frame, clinician and client have an opportunity to understand the behavior in its relational and developmental context. Behavior is a form of communication. When we understand that communication, we discover the meaning of the behavior. The path to healing becomes clear.

Keeping Your Child in Mind Book Cover

From "Keeping Your Child in Mind"

If we as a culture hold parents in mind, that is, instead of telling them “what to do,” listen to them and support their efforts to “be” with their child and understand her experience, we not only will help with “behavior problems,” but we may actually help to promote healthy brain development.

Blog

Child in Mind

Parenting Through Grief: “I’m Her Only Mother”

I refer to this process as "bringing in the baby" in clinical work with parents struggling emotionally around the time of childbirth. While certainly this mother's grief remained front and center in my thinking, my unique role was to support her relationship with her newborn child. I have found that rather than various forms of "talk therapy," the actual baby and their communication often offers the most powerful voice for growth and change.

Peter and the Bear: Finding Hope in Child’s Play

3-year-old Peter and his family were referred to my behavioral pediatrics practice for help with "managing his aggression." In the second session, having taken a full hour to listen to the story from his parents Jonathan and Jalissa the previous week, we are all sitting on the floor. Peter drapes himself across his father Jonathan's lap, wriggling around while drawing with markers on a pad on the floor. His mother quietly observes. There is a long moment when it feels like nothing is happening. I notice in myself that feeling of not knowing what’s going on, but will myself to tolerate the discomfort of uncertainty.
Photo by Aditya Romansa on Unsplash

The Examined Life: Listening to the Baby

No matter how messy the situation in which we find ourselves, this singular focus on the transformative impact of facilitating moments of meeting between parents and their young children brings a sense of calm purpose to the work. Again and again we observe how such moments produce extraordinary changes in families, shifting the narrative from generational trauma and disconnection to possibility for healing and growth.