neufeldimage3005b15d.tifBefore he retired, Dr. Gordon Neufeld had accumulated more than 40 years of experience as a clinical psychologist with children and youth and those responsible for them. A foremost authority on child development, Dr. Neufeld continues to be an international speaker, a best-selling 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 has devoted the best part of the last two decades to creating courses for parents, teachers and helping professionals. These courses are offered primarily through the Neufeld Institute – an online educational institute and world-wide charitable organization devoted to applying developmental science to the task of raising children. Dr. Neufeld’s life’s work has been to help adults provide the conditions for children to flourish. He is a father of five and a grandfather to seven.

Noteworthy Speaking Engagements at National and International Events


  • Making Sense of Anxiety in Children and Youth (Six Part Series), Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education (over 100K views, Vancouver, Canada, 2012)
  • Parenting through the Pandemic (Six Part Series), Neufeld Institute (over 40K views, Canada, 2020)
  • Emotional Health and Well-Being: Towards Flourishing Children and Youth (Edmonton, 2019)
  • Resilience, Recovery and Relationship: Towards Flourishing Children and Youth (Winnipeg 2018)
  • Resilience, Recovery and Relationship: Towards Flourishing Children and Youth (Calgary 2017)
  • National Conference on Education and Mental Health (Winnipeg, Canada, 2014)
  • National Conference for Canadian Private Schools (Victoria, Canada, 2014)
  • First Nations Schools Conference (Richmond, Canada, 2014)
  • Canadian National Montessori Conference (Vancouver, Canada, 2009)
  • National Canadian Education Conference (Vancouver, Canada, 2006)
  • National Conference of Parent Educators (Ottawa, Canada 2004)
  • First National Symposium on Bullying (Ottawa, Canada 2002)
  • First National Symposium on Youth Violence (Ottawa, Canada, 1994)
  • WONCA World Conference on Family Medicine (Vancouver, Canada, 1992


  • Helping Children in Troubled Times – Presentation for Ukrainian Parents and Volunteers in Poland (March 2022)
  • Address to Teachers in Kyiv School (February 2022)
  • Series of public events in Germany, Switzerland and Sweden (2016)
  • Series of public events in Sweden and Denmark (2015)
  • The United Nations sponsored European Conference on the Family on the 20th anniversary of the UN declared international year of the family. (Stockholm, Sweden, 2014)
  • Series of public addresses and events in Europe and Russia (2014)
  • Seminar on Attention Problems for Swedish Public Television (Stockholm, Sweden, 2012)
  • Address on Children’s Well-Being to a working group at the European Parliament (Brussels, Belgium, 2012)
  • First Global Conference on Home Education to participants from 26 countries (Berlin, Germany 2012)
  • Congress on the Freedom of Education in Germany and Europe – on the invitation of the Friedrich-Naumann Foundation (Berlin, Germany, 2011)
  • European Symposium on Youth Delinquency – at the Federal State Parliament of Saxonia (Dresden, Germany, 2011)
  • Swedish conference on education organized by HARO (Stockholm, Sweden, 2010)
  • International Congress on The Child & Society (Dusseldorf, Germany, 2010)
  • European Commission on the Family – visiting keynotes on Family Relationships and Children’s Well-Being to representatives of the 27 EU countries at the Family Platform EU Conference (Lisbon, Portugal, 2010)
  • Address at University of Bremen on “The Socialization Question: democracy, individuation and parenting” (Bremen, Germany, 2009)
  • Swedish conference on adolescent health and wellbeing sponsored by HARO and opened by the Swedish Minister of Public Health (Stockholm, Sweden, 2009)
  • International Conference on Attachment at the Johann-Wolfgang Goethe University (Frankfurt, Germany, 2007)


  • International Conference on Infants and Toddlers (Tulsa, Oklahoma, 2015)
  • Fourth Worldwide Meeting on Human Values to audience of 7,000 and participants from 116 countries (Monterrey, Mexico, 2012)
  • Series of public addresses and events for educators in Mexico City and Monterrey (Mexico, 2010)
  • California Homeschooling Conference (Sacramento, California, USA, 2006)
  • International Conference of La Leche League (Washington, DC, USA, 2005)
  • Series of public events in Miami (Spring 2019)
  • Series of public events in Chile (Spring 2018)
  • International Counselling Congress (Baltimore, MD, USA 1996)
  • Educational symposium on the developmental approach to education (Portland, Oregon, 1994)


  • International Conference on Education (Astana, Kazakhstan, 2017)
  • Series of public addresses and events in New Zealand (2017)
  • Series of public addresses and events in Auckland and Christchurch (New Zealand, 2015)
  • Educational symposium on the state of education in Japan (Nagano, Japan, 2001)

Overview of theoretical approach and contributions

Dr. Neufeld is widely considered to be a leading interpreter and communicator of the developmental approach. He provides a comprehensive model that has evolved from years of synthesis and distillation. The result is an integrated developmental approach rooted in depth psychology, grounded in the developmental paradigm, saturated in attachment theory, congruent with current neurological research, and honed by over 40 years of professional practice, parenting and personal reflection. In a world of fragmented knowledge, esoteric terminology, strategies divorced from their philosophical moorings, and a smorgasbord approach to treatment, Gordon Neufeld is a welcome relief. His integrated developmental model is a refreshing alternative to the current cognitive behavioural fare as well as to the medical ‘disorder’ approach. His model has clear and profound implications for parenting and teaching as well as treatment. In the words of one fellow psychologist, “the uniqueness of Gordon is that in a day of focusing on the superficial and specializing in the specifics, he goes for depth and the big picture. He leads us to a way of thinking and seeing that penetrates to the very essence of things and then opens doors for change.”

  • developed groundbreaking theories of aggression, counterwill, bullying and anxiety that have received national and international recognition
  • developed a comprehensive theory of attachment that includes six stages in the development of the capacity for relationship, the construct of polarization that explains both shyness and defensive detachment, and an understanding of the alpha/dependent dimension that explains a host of phenomena including bullying and the increasing prevalence of difficult-to-parent alpha children. His model of attachment is universal in both its application (adults as well as children) and implementation (school as well as home). Although this model was inspired by the pioneering work of early attachment theorists such as John Bowlby, Konrad Lorenz and Harry Harlow, it also is informed by other theories of human togetherness as well as by current brain science and the physical sciences where the drive for proximity is also preeminent. Students find Neufeld’s model of attachment highly congruent with their own cultural traditions, providing the conceptual underpinnings to their natural intuition. They also find his model refreshingly devoid of the esoteric language that tends to plague the discipline, often rendering it inaccessible to the adults most in need of a consciousness of attachment and a language of relationship.