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Neufeld talks and seminars


Schools, parent groups, and family service organizations often contact me with requests for Professional Development events on these hot topics. Neufeld-created seminars (as opposed to talks), include access to the Neufeld Institute's virtual campus, where multiple resources and online discussions forums have come together to create a wonderful place for further learning of this material, and support in practical application.  

Shorter talks:

These talks work best for break-out sessions or evening presentations of 1.5 - 2.5 hours.  If one of these topics strikes your interest for a full day seminar, please contact me to custom-create a presentation for you.

These talks work best for break-out sessions or evening presentations of 1.5 - 2.5 hours.  If one of these topics strikes your interest for a full day seminar, please contact me to custom-create a presentation for you.

Heart Matters
What to do with a child's feelings

Constructs like emotional intelligence, self-regulation, emotional well-being and emotional-social learning are being bandied about like never before.  Emotion, long dismissed as a nuisance factor, is now confirmed to be at the core of development and well-being.  What are the implications for raising children? How do we teach our children the language of the heart?  Should we be discouraging 'negative emotions' and helping our children to calm down? With this Neufeld-created talk, Pamela brings insight into this popular and concerning topic.

Cultivating Caring Children
making sense of the roots of social responsibility

Parents and teachers all want to raise caring and considerate children,  but there is much confusion about how to get there. This Neufeld-created talk addresses the developmental roots of these highly held virtues, the negative effects of some of our prevailing practices, and suggestions for cultivating these characteristics and social responsibility as a whole.  

Hold On To
Your Kids

Our kids can seem so distant from us that we often assume they don’t need us.  This presentation makes clear the pivotal importance of children's and teens' relationships to those responsible for them and opens our eyes to the widespread impact in today's society of competing attachments with peers.  A number of effective strategies for preserving and restoring the child-to-parent relationship will be offered. This Neufeld-created talk provides refreshing natural alternatives to popular contrived methods of behaviour control.

Too Much to Handle
making sense of sensitive kids

Many of us find life to be a bit overwhelming at times, but for children born with high sensitivity levels it can be incredibly stressful, leading to emotions that are simply too much to bear or contain. Understanding what is going on for such children, and having an appreciation of the defenses they may have developed as a result of the intensity of their experience, is the first step to helping them live in their world. In this presentation, Pamela created this talk using Dr. Neufeld's material, enriched with the insight which comes from her years of consulting with parents of sensitive children, and from her own experience as the mother of three sensitive red heads.

Helping Children Flourish

We all want our children and students to thrive – to become all they were meant to be – but how is this to be accomplished?  What conditions are required for optimal functioning?   What experiences are essential to the unfolding of human potential?  In this Neufeld-created talk, Pamela will reveal some rather surprising answers to these quintessential questions of human development.  A consciousness of the irreducible needs of children is a much- needed antidote to a society that has become driven, and a culture that has lost its intuitive wisdom.

Relationship Matters

By spelling out the science of relationship in an engaging and easily grasped way, Pamela Whyte reveals why it matters so much how and to whom a child attaches. Pamela discusses common behaviour problems that result from relationship difficulties and presents strategies for dealing with these problems without risking the relationship between children and the adults responsible for them.  This Neufeld-created talk applies to children and teens of every age, and is of interest to both parents and professionals.

Keeping Children Safe in a Wounding World

Signs of alarm are skyrocketing in our children and bullies seem more numerous than ever. Peer interaction - the primary source of wounding in today’s world - is now only a click away and seems  never-ending for many children. In the aftermath of recent teenage suicides, legislators are scrambling to pass laws and social activists are calling upon the social media to police themselves. But laws won’t address the existence of a mean streak and the social media have yet to demonstrate a conscience.  If we cannot change the world around them for the better, how do we protect our children without heading for the hills or locking them up? In this Neufeld-created talk, Pamela addresses these and other timely concerns.

The Trouble with Time-outs

Time-outs have become a popular practice for dealing with problem behaviour. The issue is not that it works when it does, but why it works, what happens when it stops working, and what it costs in the long term. Once assumed to be safe practice and still recommended as the discipline of choice, we must now become conscious of the serious risks of such discipline. In this Neufeld-created talk, Pamela will make sense of the inherent risks, and introduce relationship and development friendly options.


These Neufeld-created seminars work best as full day events.  Some are best delivered over two days, when possible.

Making Sense of Play

Play - at least the kind that builds brains and forwards development - is becoming an endangered activity among those who need it most.  Part of the problem is the premature pressure on children to learn and to become socialized.  Another factor is the amount of time that children spend engaged in screen time.  The most significant factor of all is our failure to provide the conditions necessary for the kind of play that helps children realize their true potential. From a developmental persective, play is not an optional activity.

Participants of this Neufeld-created seminar not only learn what kind of play is most beneficial but also how to support this activity in children. This material applies to children of all ages although the primary focus is on young childhood. 



When will they learn?
making sense of discipline

Imposing order on children’s behaviour is never particularly easy; imposing order on their minds is even more daunting. When the challenge is to impose order without putting in jeopardy healthy attachment and development, many are at a loss as to how to proceed.  Making Sense of Discipline not only answers the question of what to do when problems arise but how to do so without sacrificing a child’s emotional health and sense of security for short-term gains in behaviour and performance. In this Neufeld Seminar, Pamela will help parents and teachers come to the place where answers will come from their own understanding and insight.  Her goal is to help them find the inner confidence to handle both small stuff and more challenging issues. Participants of this Neufeld Seminar will have the opportunity to subscribe to the Neufeld Institute virtual campus for further information, resources, and support in this approach.

Why Children Say "No"
making sense of counterwill

Counterwill is a name for the instinctive reaction of a child to resist being controlled. This resistance can take many forms: opposition, negativism, laziness, noncompliance, disrespect, lack of motivation, belligerence, incorrigibility and even antisocial attitudes and actions. It can also express itself in resistance to learning. Despite the multitude of manifestations, the underlying dynamic is deceptively simple - a defensive reaction to perceived control or coercion.  Counterwill is undoubtedly the most misunderstood and misinterpreted dynamic in adult-child relations. Understanding the role of counterwill in the developmental process is the key to knowing how to handle it. Pamela will present Dr. Neufeld's three-pronged approach to safely defusing counterwill and to handling the resistant child or adolescent. 

their making and unmaking

There are two main ways that bullies are treated in our schools and programs.  First, sensitivity programs are attempted.  "tell the bully how you feel!"  the bullied children are told.  This backfires terribly as the bullies act conciliatory in front of the adults, and then turn around and use their new knowledge to cause deeper pain and humiliation.  The second standard method is to consequence the bully.  A "zero policy" stance is taken in many places - the bully is suspended, expelled, timed-out, and suffers from the removal of privildges and the imposition of sanctions.  Neither of these approaches has proved sucessful in changing the bully's natural inclination to exploit.  This Neufeld-created talk presents a fresh perspective in making sese of bullies.  How can we reverse the dynamics that caused bullying in the first place?  There is hope here for every bully - as long as there is an adult who is willing to take responsibility to make a difference.

Tempers, Tantrums & Attack
making sense of aggression

None of us wants an aggressive child, but too often we try to stop children’s outbursts, rather than understanding where they spring from.  This presentation explains the roots of aggression in all it's different forms.  From hitting, fighting, tantrums and  biting, to name calling, sarcasm, and mocking, aggression is all around us every day.  When we understand the roots of this behaviour it will significantly inform our reactions to it, and will help us to respond to it in ways that will preserve our place in our children’s life, and enable them to grow into non-violent mature adults.  Participants of this Neufeld Seminar will have the opportunity to subscribe to the Neufeld Institute virtual campus for further information, resources, and support in this approach.


Why Worry?
Making Sense of Anxiety

There is currently an epidemic of anxiety affecting children of all ages.  Differing estimates suggest that one in five to one in eight qualify for an anxiety disorder diagnosis, making this the most common diagnosis in children.  Anxiety can take many forms, including obsessions, compulsions, phobias, panic, as well as a host of perplexing seeking and avoidant behaviours.  Various strategies are emerging in an attempt to treat anxiety problems, but most interventions are hand-me-downs from adult treatment and are questionable in their appropriateness for children.

We cannot treat something that we do not understand; making sense of anxiety is foundational to its cure.


Dr. Neufeld has put together the pieces of the anxiety puzzle to reveal roots deep in separation alarm. This comprehensive model of attachment provides new meaning to the construct of separation and lays the foundation for effective treatment and cure. In mapping out the separation complex, Pamela will reveal the relationship of anxiety to other common childhood issues including dominance, aggression and attention problems. Participants of this Neufeld Seminar will have the opportunity to subscribe to the Neufeld Institute virtual campus for further information, resources, and support in this approach.

The Teachability Factor

What are the requisite conditions in order for children to learn?  Why do some children seem to learn more readily than others, even though each has the same general level of intelligence?  How can we serve both the most mature and independent student, and the student who has trouble learning and behaving?  This Neufeld-created seminar gets to the root of these questions, addressing the three factors that are core to our children's capacity to be taught.  And if the child is immature and  unteachable?  Never fear, there is a fourth, fall back measure through which we can reach most any child...


The Art and Science of Transplanting Children

Dr. Neufeld created this course for those who care for or work with foster, adopted, and step children. How does early or frequent separation impact a child, what might we expect to see, and how can we ameliorate those effects?  Why does the step-parent naturally tend to be seen as "wicked", and why do foster or adoptive children often yearn for their birth parents even if they are in a good situation and were rescued from a terrible one?   How do these attachment forces affect our children, and how can we work with these forces to provide for these vulnerable children what they need?  This seminar addresses these questions and more.  Pamela works with many parents of adoptive and foster children, as well as with couples that include a step parent, and has found this material to be invaluable in each of these contexts.


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