The International Resource Center for Emotional Neglect


Take the Emotional Neglect Questionnaire

Want to know if Childhood Emotional Neglect applies to you? Sign up for my Free Newsletter and I’ll send you the Emotional Neglect Questionnaire and my Tips For Emotionally Attuned Parenting, right away.

  Learn More About CEN


Share Your Questions/Comments about Childhood Emotional Neglect

I want to hear what you have to say! Do you have a question about CEN?** Would you like to share your story with others? Request a blog post on a certain topic?  Post your anonymous question or comment here! Only your entry into the “NAME” field will show in your comment. Feel free to enter Anonymous.

Please share


Running on Empty – The Book

“Jonice Webb has written a terrific book about what you didn’t get in childhood. What wasn’t there that should have been: guidance, attunement; in some cases, love. The damage caused by Emotional Neglect and what to do to heal it are the subjects of this exciting, readable, and potentially life-changing work.”

–Terrence Real, Internationally Known Bestselling Author of I Don’t Want to Talk About It and regular contributor on Good Morning America and ABC News

Check it out

About Dr. Jonice Webb

Dr. Jonice Webb has been interviewed on NPR and over thirty radio shows across the United States and Canada about the topic of her book, Emotional Neglect, and has been quoted as a psychologist expert in the Chicago Tribune. She writes the popular Childhood Emotional Neglect Blog on

Dr. Webb has been a licensed psychologist since 1991, and has worked in a variety of different settings over the course of her career, including a psychiatric emergency service and substance abuse programs.  She has been the Director of several large outpatient clinics.  For the past eight years, she has been enjoying her private practice in Lexington, Massachusetts, specializing in the treatment of couples and families.

Over two decades of practicing psychology, Dr. Webb gradually started to see a factor from childhood which weighs upon people as adults.  This factor is extremely subtle.  In fact, it’s so difficult to see that it goes virtually unnoticed while it quietly saps a person’s joy in life, causing him or her to struggle with self-discipline, or to feel disconnected and unfulfilled.  Dr. Webb gave a name to this invisible factor from childhood.  She calls it Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN).™

As I became aware of the power and pervasiveness of Emotional Neglect, I felt compelled to draw awareness to it.  My goal is to bring this unseen force from childhood out of the darkness and into the light.  To make people aware of it and it’s effects upon them.  To give them the words to talk about it and the tools to fix it.

Dr. Webb’s book, Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect, was released on October 1, 2012. To learn more, see THE BOOK page.

Share your comments and questions about CEN with Dr. Webb and readers by posting an anonymous comment HERE.

If you would like to arrange a meeting with Dr. Webb, please visit the PRIVATE PRACTICE page of this website to learn how to set one up.


Childhood Emotional Neglect: A parent’s failure to respond enough to a child’s emotional needs.

As a mental health professional, how often have you heard the term Childhood Emotional Neglect used on its own; that is, not followed by the words “and abuse.”  I scoured the databases of the APA, and used google and other search methods. I talked with colleagues, and looked through every self-help book that looked promising. Virtually every time the term “emotional neglect” is used, it is either mixed with, or used as a misnomer for, some type of physical neglect or some type of emotional abuse. This was the final factor which drove me to write a book about it. This is the driving force which has had me speaking and writing about Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN) for the past three years.

During twenty years of practicing psychology, I gradually became aware that CEN, a tremendously powerful childhood factor, is being overlooked. Why? Because CEN hides. It dwells in the sins of parental omission, rather than commission. It’s the white space in the clinical picture, rather than the picture itself. It’s what was not said or observed or remembered from our patients’ childhoods, rather than what was.

Read More

Readers’ Comments About Running on Empty

Here is a sampling of the comments I have received from readers of Running on Empty. To add a comment about the book, type it into the Comments below. To remain anonymous, type a pseudonym into the NAME field.

I heard an interview on NPR today with the author, and it was like someone lifted the blinders off my understanding of myself. I just got off the phone with my wife. I love her very much, but, I always joke around with her and tell her I want a divorce. This is a joke, but now I know where comments like this come from. I have major CEN and my parents died, yes I was there for the burials, but I never felt a sense of loss or anything. Now for the first time I know why. My parents DID NOT KNOW ME, AND I DID NOT KNOW THEM. It’s a miracle I turned out semi OK.

Read More

Private Practice


Couples Therapy

Individual Therapy

Family Therapy

Supervision of Licensed Mental Health Professionals

Sorry, no Skype Therapy 

Insurance Coverage and Payment Options

Self-pay fee for in-office therapy or CEN consult:

50-minute session is $250.00 per visit.

If you are a Mental Health Professional and would like to consult with Dr. Webb in person, or by phone or Skype: $250.00 per 50-minute consult.

Credit cards are accepted.

If you have a PPO type of health insurance, or if you have insurance with an out-of-network benefit, you can be reimbursed for your sessions. Dr. Webb will be happy to provide you with billing statements as needed.

How to Set Up an Appointment:

You can contact Dr. Webb to arrange an appoint by calling her office at: (781) 652-0162

Or Email at: ** Email Appointment Inquiries Only Please.

To ask a CEN question or comment to Dr. Webb, please post HERE.


Mondays 1:00p.m. – 7:30p.m.

Tuesdays 8:15 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Wednesdays 8:15 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Thursdays 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Fridays 8:15 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Contact Dr. Webb (Appointment Inquiries Only Please)

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  1. Kay

    When I was about 5-6 my alcoholic father found it very entertaining to tease/pinch poke me over & over until I would cry. Then he would laugh at me. He would make the rest of my family laugh at me and call me names. My crying became great fun for everyone. I was always a baby for crying. I stopped crying eventually.

  2. Ila

    Hello Ma’m…!
    I recently read ur book ‘Running on Empty’….Thanksss a llllot…..for writing this book… becoming mother within a week…and I am more confident about being emotionally healthy mother….!! 🙂

    Dr….my husband is emotionally neglectful….and he is not aware of it….I tried my best……but he is not understanding the stuff….am afraid it will have adverse effects on my child….wt to do Ma’m??

    • saif

      I have also read Dr. Webb’s book and it is extremely helpful for me. But I also feel the need to share with others of similar experience. If you want to share please email me :

  3. Nicole Murphy

    Hello! I just ordered your book as well and I’m excited to read it. Over the years I’ve struggled with relationships and doing what’s best for me and I truly believe that I came across your website it was when I was ready to accept it and learn about it. You get to a point where you cannot function as a human anymore and need help. I’ve been in many situations in my journey, but am looking forward to creating the situations I WANT to be in. As an adult I can’t afford to not heal. The world needs people who care and I want to lead them to their success. I believe your book will be the missing puzzle piece to connect with myself fully and experience love. We all have a journey to fulfill, but I believe we can all be better than we are today by being human and enjoying ehat we do for others! Do you accept Veterans Choice program Jonice?

  4. Anonymous

    My mother has complained about my behavior as a child for YEARS. When I was little, she says I “always wanted to be held,” and was “so dramatic” as a teen, acting out to get attention. I was nearly held back in Kindergarten for lack of social skills; I hadn’t been around children my age regularly until then. In occasional situations with peers, she reports that I clung to the wall.

    She was faithful to pass along my father’s criticisms, because he rarely spoke. He had no friends and didn’t participate in social activities. He was hospitalized this January, and my mother didn’t even tell me! He passed away 3 weeks after I found out he was sick. I have no tears; I barely knew him. He hasn’t been gone 6 months and the house I grew up in is already on the market.

    Perhaps they assumed that if their kids were fed, clothed, sheltered, and in school, their work was done. My mother said once that it never occurred to her that she should be teaching her children to take care of themselves. We were her job.

    I’ve struggled for over 50 years to find my strengths, and am scared and frustrated to be without a career (or job) at an age when most people are preparing for retirement.

    It does help a little to know WHY I’ve struggled, but I resent her complaints and criticisms because she and my father essentially created the situations I was reacting to.

  5. Dinsdale Piranha

    Dear Dr Webb,

    The subject and the timing of this article is most apt for me as I have been dealing with this issue within the last couple of weeks. I will save this article so that I can refer back to it frequently (daily?).

  6. Debbie Williamson

    I’m not certain how I ran across your website and the subject of CEN today, but all I know is that I have been suffering from CEN since I was about 4 yrs old. I am currently 56 now. WOW! I’m going to order your book. After all the years of me trying to diagnose myself with all kinds of books & doctors, I believe that CEN has been the ROOT of my emotional problems all this time. Thank you for the information and the way in which you explained it in your short video. <3 😀

  7. Anon.

    What head-exploding insight! My college-educated late 1950s mother read all the bestsellers on child raising and responded to the EMOTIONS and NOT to the child having them! It took me 30+ years to finally start developing a real sense of “observing self” and discernment of emotion “vs” thought(actually, a workshop on EI two years ago). Then “Running,” your website and etc. Thank you thank you thank you Dr. Webb.

    All you “Adult Survivors of Childhood” out there: Never give up! Never surrender!

  8. Milton

    Are there any online support groups for people with CEN? I like hanging out on reddit and psychcentral. Anybody else with CEN hanging out there?

    • Jean

      Hi Milton

      Did you find any online support groups please? I’m new here and new to the idea of CEN. I’m not good with groups of actual people and normally avoid them like the plague but I definitely want my life to change and I am prepared to fight myself for it. An online group seems like a good place to start

      • Milt Haynes

        Hi Jean, I found a group on, but it had already gone defunct. I’m having more luck finding support groups on psychcentral. I read Running on Empty and got a lot out of it. I wish I had read it years before when I was raising my 6 children. But I’ve been blessed with 10 grandchildren, so I still have time to practice the techniques!

        I’m always looking for new online buddies. I read a book called Boundaries that emphasized the need for a support group. So if you want to connect, please do. We can compare notes.

        PS: Kudos to you for mustering the courage to want to do things differently. I’m 63 years old and it wasn’t until this past year that I finally decided to stop blaming my dysfunctional family for all my ills. There is light at the end of the tunnel!

  9. Bonnie

    Dr. Webb, thank you for instigating my search in what makes me tick!I have always felt out of place and no where to turn! My parents, too, were reared in an emotionally neglected family! They were busy w/ careers and educational aspirations while I was growing up. I still have moments when I don’t know how to love someone. I have never been in a loving relationship! I keep on, keeping on! I love your book! Please continue with your good work!

  10. Matteo Orinam

    Hello, I bought your book, thank you so much for creating it! Are your free videos still online somewhere? (the ones linked on your recent Psychcentral blog posts) Thanks, best regards!

  11. Christy

    Hello Dr.Webb,
    I’ve finished reading Running on Empty and it really stuck a chord with me on many levels. Thank you for writing this book and explaining how to repair ourselves and to repair our relationships with our children. My concern is how to apply these changes to my children who are young adults now, and living on their own. I can take responsibility for mistakes I’ve made and admit them and work on changing myself. But, how can I repair damages from the past when I’m not living with them?

  12. Martha Johnson

    I am listening to your book on tape right now but cannot find the change sheet on this sight. I admit it might be right in front of my eyes. Could you help me find it? Please and Thank you. And thank your for such an insightful work!!

    • Jonice Webb

      Hi Martha, go to the About the Book tab and you can download all the change sheets and the Feeling Words List from there.

  13. Brandi

    The link to take the survey simply links to a page for buying the book.

    • Jonice Webb

      Hi Brandi, actually it goes to the About Emotional Neglect Page. To take the ENQ, just sign up for the newsletter and it will be sent to you, along with my parenting tips, immediately. Thanks for your question!

  14. Paul

    It may be interesting for you to know hat I have years of written diaries, audio diaries and video diaries relating to emotional neglect. Im sorry this does not relate to an appointment but you are the first reachable person Ive found on the internet after years of misdiagnosis and anti-psychotic drugs that did not help. Contact me via email if you are interested in the diaries.

    • Jonice Webb

      Dear Paul, that’s great that you’ve documented your experiences. It’s a healthy way for the invalidated to validate themselves. Very smart. Now that you know what’s really wrong, you can start on the road to healing. All my best wishes.

  15. Susan Jacobi

    Dear Dr. Webb,
    My name is Susan Jacobi, author of How to love yourself: The hope after child abuse, radio show host of Conversations That Heal, speaker and coach. While scanning amazon, your book, Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect, attracted my attention for a possible guest interview on Conversations That Heal.

    Conversations That Heal is dedicated to providing useful tools for survivors of childhood trauma. As a survivor of child abuse, I know how important it is to replace the negative internal conversations we have swimming around in our heads. Most often, the destructive self talk was planted long ago and is nothing but lies. CTHRadio is a place where healing experts offer a replacement to the inner chatter, introducing healthy thoughts which tend to lead to healthy feelings and result in positive actions.

    After researching your book and website, I would like to invite you for a conversation to see if you would be interested in being a guest on CTHRadio and if your agenda would be a good match for the direction of my show.

    This is the rss feed for CTHRadio.
    After you have listened to a show or two, let me know if you feel CTHRadio would be a good place to deliver your message. If you would like to accept my invitation to talk about your possibilities on CTHRadio, you can reach me at I hope you enjoy the shows and look forward to hearing from you.

    Susan Jacobi

    P.S. CTHRadio is also on iTunes and Stitcher.

    • Jonice Webb

      Thank you Susan for your kind offer! I will listen to your show and will get back to you.

  16. Beth Hayes

    Thank you for your work. I just ordered your book. I can’t wait to read it. From professional and personal view point. I am a Certified Addiction Counselor but also suffered extreme emotional neglect. Thank you, again.

    • Jonice Webb

      Hi Beth, thank you for your comment! I hope you enjoy Running on Empty. Take care!


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