Making Sense of Attachment: Neufeld’s Comprehensive Model for All Ages and Applications

New! Filmed Spring 2021

Presented by Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D.

On Demand | Available Now


6 Hours  |   Pre-approved for 6 CEUs


This On Demand course and will be available after purchase. Participants can watch, pause, and re-watch the sessions at their convenience.

All course content (certificate, videos, quiz) will be available until February 24, 2022. Extensions cannot be granted under any circumstances. 

Registration will close on February 10, 2022

The science of relationship currently exists in fragmented bits and pieces all over the empirical map: biology, sociology, embryology, ethology, epigenetics, neuroscience, psychology, medicine, psychology, and so on. The irony is that we have never known more about the relational context required for parenting, teaching and treatment, and yet this knowledge is failing to inform our everyday practice and policy. According to Neufeld, this failure of implementation may stem from the current lack of theoretical coherence as well as the esoteric language typical to these fields of inquiry. Neufeld’s unique contribution is to put the puzzle pieces together to create a coherent model of attachment, using language that is accessible to all. His theoretical giftedness has been well-grounded in professional practice and well-rounded from a lifetime of teaching.

Neufeld’s model of attachment is based not only on a solid knowledge of spontaneous developmental processes but also upon current understandings of instinct and emotion gleaned from brain science. It offers a refreshing alternative to more restricted typology models of attachment as well as to the prevailing non-attachment models of learning and disorder. Many have found that his comprehensive model of attachment will resonate with their intuition as well as generate both insight and guidance for intervention.

Models of human behaviour are evaluated not only upon a lack of conflicting evidence, but also upon their power to explain and predict, and the clarity of implications for practice. This model has received high praise on all accounts. The implications for implementation are certainly clear and in many cases surprisingly opposite to current practice. In addition, this model of attachment sheds light on various dynamics and phenomena that have puzzled experts for years.

Dr Neufeld is a lively and engaging speaker (even on screen), receiving endorsements by professionals and parents alike for his ability to make sense of complex issues.

This six-hour course is divided into four sessions of approximately 1.5 hours each.


Session 1 – The WORK of Attachment

There is no way of truly making sense of attachment – and what can go wrong – without having a sense of its purpose in our lives. In this session we uncover the foundational role of attachment in survival, in caring, in stress and in the spontaneous unfolding of human potential. We also look to how attachment does its work, via instinct and emotion, identifying the primal instincts and emotions involved.  Among the topics discussed are the nature of the essential threat in stress and the makings of a perfect psychological storm. The separation complex is introduced as a syndrome that underlies most troubling problems in childhood and adulthood.


Session 2 – The NATURE of Attachment

There are three basic properties of attachment that must be understood to truly make sense of human behaviour: its developmental nature, its hierarchical nature, and its polarized nature. When the focus is on early experience and attachment types, these fundamental attributes are often overlooked. In this session Dr. Neufeld will present his six roots of attachment – a developmental model that is extremely helpful when working with children. He will also shed light on the archetypal attachment dance of alpha and dependence as well as the dynamics of shyness and defensive detachment.


Session 3 – The POWER of Attachment

Attachment is the most powerful force in the universe. This is obvious when thinking of the physical forces of attachment: gravity, fusion and magnetism. This is less obvious when invisible in human relationships, but no less true, for better or for worse. Attachment has the power to wound but also to heal; to block learning and influence as well as to facilitate it; to empower adults or to render them relatively impotent. The challenge is to harness the power of attachment in benevolent way in order to fulfill our responsibilities as teachers, therapists, caregivers, parents and grandparents.


Session 4 – The INSTRUMENTS of Attachment

A viable model of attachment should not only provide insight into ourselves and others, but also have clear implications for implementation and practice. In this session we discuss three effective instruments of attachment that can be used in any setting or venue, regardless of the attachment history of the person one is working with. We will also discuss the special challenges involved in dealing with resistance to attachment or where troubling syndromes exist.

  • the essence of threat in the stress response
  • the emotional impact of facing separation
  • the nature of the separation complex and how to recognize it
  • the role of attachment in anxiety and aggression
  • how attachment becomes sexualized and what can go wrong
  • the nature of emotional turbulence and its role in mental illness
  • the construct of counter will as an instinct of attachment
  • the role of shyness in attachment
  • how the quest for sameness is a derivative of attachment
  • how the capacity for relationship is developed
  • how relationship is the intended answer for holding on when apart
  • how the quest for significance is a derivative of attachment
  • the phenomenon of peer orientation and its impact
  • how social media is a derivative of attachment
  • how attachment becomes depersonalized into fixes and fixations
  • how bullying can result from alpha attachment instincts
  • the role of defensive detachment and shyness in reactive attachment disorder

Education and Clinical Professionals: K–12 Classroom Teachers, School Counsellors/Psychologists, Learning Assistance/ Resource Teachers, School Administrators, School Paraprofessionals including Special Education Assistants, Classroom Assistants and Childcare Workers. All other professionals who support students including but not limited to: Nurses, Social Workers, Psychologists, Clinical Counsellors, Family Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Language Pathologists, Addiction Counsellors, Youth Workers, Mental Health Workers, Probation Officers, and Early Childhood Educators.

Parents, Caregiver, Foster Parents, Grandparents, and Extended Family raising a child.

Dr. Gordon Neufeld is a Vancouver-based developmental psychologist with over 45 years of experience with children and youth and those responsible for them. A foremost authority on child development, Dr. Neufeld is an international speaker, a bestselling author (Hold On To Your Kids) and a leading interpreter of the developmental paradigm. Dr. Neufeld has a widespread reputation for making sense of complex problems and for opening doors for change. While formerly involved in university teaching and private practice, he now devotes his time to teaching and training others, including educators and helping professionals. His Neufeld Institute is now a world-wide charitable organization devoted to applying developmental science to the task of raising children. Dr. Neufeld appears regularly on radio and television. He is a father of five and a grandfather to six.

RegistrationEarly bird FeeRegular Fee
Individual Enrollment$249.00N/A
Full-Time Student$199.00N/A

All fees are in Canadian dollars ($CAD).

For group and/or student rates please view our Terms & Conditions and contact for more information and registration. 

  • Canadian Psychological Association
    The Alberta College of Social Workers (ACSW) and the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Social Workers (NLASW) accept CPA-approved continuing education credits