Reaching Troubled Kids

New! Filmed Summer 2020

Presented by Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D.

On-Demand | Available Now


6 Hours  |  Pre-approved for 6 CEUs


This is an On Demand course. Participants can watch, pause, and re-watch the sessions at their convenience.

All course content (quiz, certificate, videos) will be available until July 1, 2021. Extensions cannot be granted under any circumstances. 

Registration will close on June 1, 2021.

Studies indicate that our children and youth have more troubles, get into more trouble, are more troubled, and can even be more troubling, than before. There certainly are more labels as well as less reticence about using them. With each new label, we create yet another cadre of experts with their label-specific advice. Could it be that this explosion of fragmented information has actually blinded us to a common cause at the core of all these troubles? Might it be that our focus on symptoms and syndromes has eclipsed a simpler and singular reality that holds the key to understanding and to intervention?

Fresh insights regarding emotion and the brain have paved the way to seeing troubled kids with new eyes, thus opening doors for change that are full of possibility. These insights also help to bring troubled kids back into the hands of those directly responsible for their care and education, with helping professionals where available to guide the way.

This approach to troubled kids is Dr. Neufeld’s synthesis and distillation of the relevant theory and research, honed by 45 years of clinical practice involving troubled children and youth.  This insight model provides a refreshing alternative to the more common behavioural and cognitive approaches, as well as to the medical ‘disease’ or ‘disorder’ approach. The attachment-based developmental approach has clear and practical implications for parenting, education and treatment, regardless of one’s arena of involvement and venue of application. This approach also applies to adults, as the dynamics of trouble are the same.

The six hour course is divided into four sessions of about 1.25 hours each,  plus curated Q&A sessions.

Session OneThe Hidden Stories of Troubled Kids

Beneath the diverse symptoms of troubled kids are three common stories,  typically eclipsed by our focus on behaviour and diagnoses. These are not the expected stories of troubling events and adverse childhood experiences, but rather of what is missing in their emotional lives. In this session we explore a significant stuckness that lies at the root of most troubling symptoms and the common theme that permeates throughout.


Session TwoProblems Rooted in Primal Emotion

In this session we flesh out Walter Cannon’s fight-flight reaction to stress to uncover the three primal separation emotions that lie at the root of most troubling symptoms. We explore the underlying emotional conditions that give rise to troubled symptoms, paving the way with understanding to correct this condition.


Session ThreeProblems Rooted in Basic Instincts

In this session, a multitude of diverse manifestations are traced to two very basic but little-understood attachment instincts – displacement and counterwill. In addition, we uncover boredom not only as the experience most troubled kids have in common, but also as providing some clues to a natural cure given a supportive culture.


Session FourReaching the Hearts of Troubled Kids

Based on a foundation of understanding and equipped with the conceptual keys to make sense of troubled kids, we explore ways to make a difference in the lives of troubled kids, regardless of the nature of our involvement with them.

  • why today’s children are more troubled and troubling than ever before
  • the signs of immaturity that are common among troubled kids, and why
  • the surprising emotional condition that underlies most troubling symptoms
  • why the story of troubled kids cannot be told in terms of what has happened to them
  • how language holds the key to understanding how emotion works
  • what Walter Cannon missed when constructing the flight-fight theory
  • why stuckness is pervasive among today’s children and youth
  • how to cultivate safe relationships with troubled kids
  • why boredom is the bane of troubled kids and yet holds some promise
  • how the attachment instinct of displacement underlies a continuum of syndromes including the demanding child, eating problems, narcissism and bullying
  • how to understand anxiety, including obsessions and compulsions, as an emotional problem rooted in alarm
  • how to use emotional playgrounds to address the underlying emotional problems of troubled kids
  • why alpha problems are so pervasive among children and youth today
  • how to make sense of the natural instinct to resist and oppose the will of others, and what to do with this
  • how to understand adrenalin-seeking behaviour, including cutting and burning, as an emotional problem rooted in alarm

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