Cultivating Emotional Balance

Cultivating Emotional Balance (CEB) is a 42-hour evidence-based educational intervention developed by Paul Ekman, Ph.D. and Alan Wallace, Ph.D. (Kemeny, M.E. et al., 2012; Ekman and Krasner, 2016).

CEB combines Western psychology education on emotions with contemplative practices, reflective writing, dyad and group exercises to promote greater emotional awareness, resilience and enduring well-being. It cultivates skills for better communication, for reduction of implicit biases, for increased awareness of how we feel and express our emotions, for responding with discernment rather than reacting impulsively, for recognizing that we have choices even when it might feel there is none. Underlying all our actions and the choices that we make is the fact that we care, and central to this training is the cultivation of a genuine sense of caring for self and others.


CEB and CEB-based adaptations have proven effective to address the needs of a wide range of special populations, including – among others – medical students, residents, healthcare professionals, caregivers, educators, and corporations.

Since this is an educational – not a therapeutic – intervention, this course is NOT recommended for anyone who is currently struggling with depression, PTSD, or any other diagnosed psychiatric condition that requires professional help.

Meeting Times

This course meets for two and a half hours per week for 14 weeks, and will be followed by an all-day weekend retreat.


Soares and disneyDebra Disney, MSEd, LCPC, is a certified teacher of Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT) and Cultivating Emotional Balance (CEB); she serves as Clinical Associate for the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria. Ms. Disney’s passion is to provide resources to enhance the resilience, emotional awareness, and compassion of future healthcare providers.

Marcelo Bento Soares, Ph.D. is a certified Instructor of CEB, a certified Senior Instructor of CBCT® (Cognitively-Based Compassion Training), and the developer of BREATHE; he serves as Head of the Department of Cancer Biology and Pharmacology and Senior Associate Dean for Research at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria. Dr. Soares has been working to bring emotional awareness, resilience and compassion training to medical education, to healthcare providers, to educators and to cancer survivors.

Literature Cited

Kemeny, M.E. et al., 2012: Contemplative/Emotion Training Reduces Negative Emotional Behavior and Promotes Prosocial Responses. Emotion 12 (2), 338-350.

Ekman, E. and Krasner, M., 2016: Empathy in Medicine: Neuroscience, education and challenges. Medical Teacher