Relationships form the fundamental pillars of our emotional life. Yet, as US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has declared, we are facing an epidemic of loneliness and isolation that is harming human health and well-being. In our divided society, fraught with high rates of anxiety, the stressors of over-busy personal and work responsibilities, the isolating effects of technology, and more people are struggling to connect. Kindness and empathy are in short supply, and relationships face unprecedented challenges. Yet happy and healthy relationships are more necessary now than ever to help people have a sense of belonging and to live healthy, happy, and fulfilling lives.
Drawing on her decades of work as a family therapist and early childhood education specialist, Dr. Kathryn Smerling’s Learning to Play Again offers a blueprint for establishing meaningful connection first at home with loved ones, and then with extended family, friends, and colleagues.
From reminding ourselves about the value of “Please” and “Thank you” to learning the joy of parallel play, to building a support system through kindness and empathic communication skills, Dr. Smerling’s new book invites readers to focus on personal attunement and how things like individual self-esteem can lead to greater resilience and success in relationships.
Kathryn Smerling, PhD, is a psychotherapist with advanced degrees in early childhood education, social work and family therapy, specializing in creating healthy and meaningful relationships for children, adolescents, and adults in all stages of life. She is currently a clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Hospital in the department of OBGYN and serves on the Dean’s Council at the New York University School of Social Work. Previously, she was on staff at Columbia University’s Department of Psychiatry and was an instructor at Fordham University in the department of Early Literacy. At the Northside Center for Childhood Development in New York City, she worked as a family therapist, where she utilized play therapy with children and their families, while coordinating access to community resources. At the Institute for the Development of Human Resources Dr. Smerling wrote 25 parenting booklets in English and Spanish. She is a national contributor for CBS,CNN, HLN, and Fox News, as well as ABC News in New York, USA Today, and Vanity Fair. She was a panelist on the Kimberly Guilfoyle Show (FOX) for two years and served as Rosie Pope’s therapist on Bravo’s Pregnant in Heels.