Cultivating empathy and other social and emotional skills can have a profound impact on every measure of school success.

For example, a Harvard study found that cultivating empathy among students is linked to positive peer relationships, better communication skills, and fewer interpersonal conflicts.

In addition, “Threat Assessment in Schools,” a guide by the US Secret Service and Department of Education, calls connection the “critical emotional glue” and “a central component of a culture of safety and respect.”

Teaching empathy and creating connection is at the core of the Connection Practice. While integrating the Connection Practice into the school day takes 10 to 15 minutes, it makes teachers’ jobs easier by improving behavior, preparing children for learning, creating more cooperation and teaching children how to handle conflict themselves.

Dr. Laurie Porter of St. Rita School in Fort Worth, Texas, evaluated the results of implementing the Connection Practice in 2012: “Overall, based on my interview with the principal and the teachers’ written responses, the Connection Practice methodology was  an effective tool for counseling  students, creating a harmonious classroom atmosphere and helping  students to feel calm and focused before tests, as well as giving the students themselves tools to help understand and take charge of their emotions.”

Here’s what one teacher had to say: “I used it with a student who was quite distressed, sad, isolated, frustrated, and upset, and he was transformed to peace and clarity in about five minutes using your steps.  It was GREAT!!!!  He was super relieved.  As well as being able to identify his feelings and unmet need, he went inside and got near instant insight about how to move forward from here.  What a gift!!!”

These results have been seen over and over in Costa Rica, where the Connection Practice has been taught to almost 1,500 teachers, impacting more than 40,000 students.

Heart-Brain Coherence

Heart-brain coherence, which plays a major role in the effectiveness of the Connection Practice, has been thoroughly researched by the Institute of HeartMath®.

At least three HeartMath studies have been recognized by the National Registry of Effective Prevention Programs (NREPP) for having met their criteria as evidence-based research.

For example, a study funded by the U.S. Department of Education showed a statistically significant connection between reduced test anxiety and improved test performance. 

Some of the results were:

  • Seventy-five percent of the students experienced lower levels of anxiety during tests.
  • The test scores improved on average by 10 to 25 points.
  • Students experienced less fear and frustration, and made fewer rash decisions.  They participated more in class activities and demonstrated emotional connection, humor, persistence and empathic listening.

In addition to K-12 classrooms, the Connection Practice is an effective tool for after school programs, day and overnight camps, and university courses.

The Connection Practice:

  • meets American School Counselor Standards
  • has been approved for college credit and for continuing education credit for educators in many states in the U.S.

See the Research and Articles page for abstracts of the cited research. For more information, send an email to

This is Anabel, a “Connection Practice pro” at age 12.

The evening before midterms. she did feelings and needs on her own, then insight twice. She fell sound asleep on the second insight. Click on the picture and look at the cards she worked with!

The Connection Practice envisions a world where generational pain is transformed into generational peace.

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