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 October 1, 2021. Extensions cannot be granted under any circumstances.
Registration will close on September 1, 2021.
We all want our children to be kind and considerate, sensitive to the needs of others. But how do we get there? Is it a matter of inculcating values? training social skills? regulating emotions? rewarding right actions? Is it something that is learned or does it need to be developed? Are there things that we should be doing as parents or teachers to get the results we are looking for? Are there pitfalls we should be concerned about in the process? Are there tell-tale signs when children are at risk for failing to develop empathy? The attachment-based developmental approach has much to say to all these questions.
Studies indicate that empathy is on the wane, at least in our children and youth. Parents and teachers are increasingly concerned about the meanness between siblings and between classmates. This loss of empathy can be sensed among adults as well – in the meanness of much of today’s music and entertainment, in the perverse reactions to victims on the internet, in the insensitive rhetoric of some of our leading politicians, and in the increasing triumph of greed over generosity in our society.
So what can be done? How can we as parents, teachers and helping professionals reverse this tide? How can we help children who feel like being mean to find their caring concern once again? What are the keys to raising children who reach out with compassion to the wounded and will ultimately become the caring and considerate adults our world needs?
We cannot truly address a problem we do not understand. Empathy, it turns out, is not simply an attribute that can be taught, a value that can be inculcated, or a skill that can be trained. Rewarding behaviour associated with empathy will actually corrupt its authenticity, turning medicine into poison. The good news is that the development of empathy is natural and spontaneous, BUT ONLY if the developmental antecedents are in place and if conditions are conducive. This course is about recognizing those antecedents and cultivating the conditions that forward spontaneous development.
Dr. Neufeld traces empathy to its natural roots in attachment, feelings and development. After years of putting the pieces of the empathy puzzle together, he presents his two-factor model for the development of empathy. The model has clear implications for any venue – school, home or treatment – and can be implemented to support development or used remedially where empathy is lacking.
While the situation may be somewhat dire, there is much reason for hope in turning the situation around, both individually and in our communities. Insight is key however, and that is the object of this course.
The six-hour course is divided into four sessions of approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes in length, plus a curated Q&A session.
Session One – Neufeld’s Two-Factor Model for the Development of Empathy
This session begins with revealing the inherent flaw in current definitions of empathy. When caring is restored as the heart of empathy, existing knowledge from the fields of attachment, development and emotion can be applied. The two-factor model provides insight as to what is happening in our society in general as well as to what is going on with any particular child or youth. The model has profound implications for application in any venue – home, school, program or treatment.
Session Two – The Attachment Factor in Empathy
Empathy’s deepest roots are meant to be in the attachment dynamic. In fact, attachment has always been the natural delivery system for care. The deepest and most powerful interventions in the development of empathy involve cultivating the right relationships to optimize caring and empathy.
Session Three – The Feeling Factor in Empathy
Feeling plays a pivotal role in the development of empathy, especially feelings of attachment and caring. The problem with feelings is their fleeting nature, their fragility and their vulnerability. This is especially true of the caring that is meant to mature into empathy. Fortunately, a few leading neuroscientists are forging the way into this uncharted territory, with fresh understandings of what feelings actually are and how they work. These insights also have profound implications on how we approach the development of empathy in children.
Session Four – Towards Empathy: practices for intervention and remediation
This session begins with an overview of the main interventions involved in a developmental approach to empathy. Although the interventions are deep and powerful, they are not intrusive, do not require specialized training, and there is no need for the children or youth to be aware. These interventions can be implemented individually or in a family, program, classroom or school. Dr. Neufeld also presents an approach to assessment and remediation when empathy is lacking, helping adults identify which of three root problems are most relevant and in need of being addressed.
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.
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