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What is Smart Love?

Smart Love  is an innovative approach to child development, counseling and parenting that is based on a well-established theory called "Intrapsychic Humanism." The basis of this theory is that everyone is born happy and with a desire for well-being and positive relationships and that there are specific ways to foster this innate well-being and avoid the pitfalls of negative life choices.

The Smart Love Principles

Our principles are the cornerstone of all we do and are based on the following findings:

  • Everyone is born with a capacity for happiness and inner well-being.

  • Children have a natural desire to copy the care they receive from their parents and will seek out relationships and experiences that make them feel the same way throughout her life.

  • Seeing the world through a child’s eyes helps parents, caregivers, and teachers understand the meaning behind a child’s behavior and respond in a way that ensures his safety while maintaining a close, positive relationship with him.

  • Acknowledging and accepting a child’s feelings helps her grow up treating herself and others with compassion and respect.

  • Feelings of being accepted and understood are crucial in order for children to develop the ability to care for their bodies, work productively, have stable inner happiness, and sustain enjoyable relationships.


Why Smart Love?

The Smart Love approach focuses parents’ attention on maximizing their positive influence on their child by focusing on the long-term effects of parenting instead of only on their responses to their child’s current behavior. Smart Love helps parents guide children away from missteps without adding to their unhappiness or interfering with their positive and loving feelings about themselves or their relationship with their parents. This gives children a strong foundation of self-esteem and resiliency that ultimately leads to making positive life choices and reaching their full potential in life.

Smart Love’s Origins

Smart Love was developed by two of the country’s top parenting and child psychology experts, Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D. and the late William J. Pieper, M.D. Based on their research, the Piepers developed a theory called "Intrapsychic Humanism." From this theory, they developed an approach—or "how-to"—that can be used in the real-world. When counseling clients, Smart Love Family Therapists trained in this theory apply it using an approach called "Inner Humanism." When educating and nurturing children, early childhood education teachers, parents, and caregivers apply the theory using an approach called "Smart Love." For Drs. Piepers' complete story on their discoveries that led to the development of Intrapsychic Humanism and Smart Love, click here.

How Smart Love Works

Instead of viewing unhappiness and inner conflict as an inevitable aspect of human nature, Intrapsychic Humanism offers a more compassionate, optimistic, and attainable goal—one that helps people take charge of their moods and feelings and their everyday choices and decisions. By doing so, people can enjoy more fulfilling lives and healthy relationships with loved ones and peers.

About the Piepers


Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D. 
is an author and psychotherapist who works with children and parents, and serves as a consultant to agencies and other mental health professionals. She is a founding board member of Smart Love Family Services, for which she provides ongoing consultation and insight to the clinical and early childhood education staff. She also serves on the Board of the Intrapsychic Humanism Society. Both of these non-profit agencies are based on Intrapsychic Humanism, the comprehensive psychology of child development, psychopathology and treatment developed by Dr. Pieper and her late husband, William J. Pieper, MD.

Dr. Pieper authored two best-selling, award winning children's books, Mommy, Daddy, I Had a Bad Dream! and Jilly's Terrible Temper Tantrums: And How She Outgrew Them. And she co-authored with Dr. William Pieper the best-selling parenting book, Smart Love: The Comprehensive Guide to Understanding, Regulating, and Enjoying Your Child; the popular adult self-help book, Addicted to Unhappiness: How Hidden Motives for Unhappiness Keep You From Creating the Life You Truly Want, and What You Can Do (2nd Edition); and Intrapsychic Humanism: An Introduction to a Comprehensive Psychology and Philosophy of Mind. She has written and presented on Inner Humanism® psychotherapy, and also on applications of the theory of Intrapsychic Humanism to teaching, parenting, foster care, the question of free will, and children’s dreams and fantasy life, among other topics.

For more information about the Piepers and Intrapsychic Humanism, please visit:


Smart Love Publications 


The Piepers have written a number of books on Intrapsychic Humanism, Inner Humanism, and Smart Love as well as books for children. To learn more about their publications or to order your own copies, please click here

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