Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Sharyn DeZelar


Social Work


“Relationships as a form of energy exchange” is a concept used by Howard Glasser’s Nurtured Heart Approach to explain the relationship dynamics between children and their adult care givers. This energy exchange can sometimes lead to challenging behaviors in a child when their energy is too intense for the child to regulate independently, or for the parents to moderate through traditional parenting approaches. The concept of relationships as an energy exchange is written about by Howard Glasser in regards to the Nurtured Heart Approach, a parent training and behavioral modification program used to treat children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Brenner, Hektner, Brotherson and Hansen (2016) challenged the concept of relationships as an energy exchange as an unproven theory in a comparative study of theories used to garner evidence for NHA. In particular, the inability to substantiate the theory was made in application of the discipline of Human Behavior Theory. This paper lays out evidence for relationships as an energy exchange by looking beyond human behavior theory and into social and physical sciences for support of Glasser’s important concept. This article looks at the areas of mirror neurons, attachment theory, neuropsychology, social baseline theory, neurobiology, and neurosociology for support. This literature review looks at studies, articles, and books that demonstrate how it is possible to claim relationships as an energy transaction how this concept can be used successfully to moderate and redirect the problematic behaviors of “intense” children.

Included in

Social Work Commons