Dr. Gordon Neufeld is a Vancouver-based developmental psychologist with over 40 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 parents, 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.
Lori Abramowitz is a Faculty Intern, an authorized Neufeld Parent Consultant and a Course Facilitator. With a Master’s Degree in Counselor Education, she has worked with youth of all ages through a variety of programs in school, community and inpatient hospital settings. Lori has been studying and applying Dr. Neufeld’s insight since 2009 and is passionate about forwarding the attachment-based developmental approach that has added depth to her work as a helping professional and has enriched her life as a mother of three. Lori currently works as a clinical therapist providing school-based and outpatient counseling services to children, adolescents and families in the Buffalo area.
Hannah Beach is an award-winning educator, author, and keynote speaker. She is the co-author of Reclaiming Our Students: Why Children Are More Anxious, Aggressive, and Shut-Down than Ever—and What We Can Do About It. She has written seven books on movement, drama, and expression which have been adopted by school boards across Canada and are used to support the emotional health of children in classrooms. In 2017, Hannah was formally recognized by the Canadian Human Rights Commission for her work in developing innovative programming that builds social and emotional health for children through experiential education and play. She is a Neufeld course facilitator, delivers professional development services across the country, provides emotional health consulting to schools, and speaks at national and international conferences. Hannah is married and has three children.
Jodi Bergman has spent the last 25 years developing attachments with children as a public and international school teacher, creating individual learning plans for homeschooling families and supporting children and parents in their journey. Currently Jodi works for Self Design, where she provides in-person and online consultation. She lives in the Kootenays with her husband, and together they are consciously integrating their family of seven children based on the threads of connection, relationship, and attachment. Jodi is committed to making sense of the dynamics of an integrated family (the new blended) to support thriving, not just surviving.
Geneviève Brabant is a faculty member at the Neufeld Institute and a clinical social worker (MSW, RSW) with over 15 years’ experience working as a child and family mental health practitioner (therapist) in the Ottawa area. In 2010 she launched her private practice, Le Repère Counselling Services (cflerepere.ca), with her partner and associate Mathieu Lyons, where she offers parent consultation and play-based therapeutic services to children and youth. Geneviève gives talks and presentations across Ontario on different course topics such as Preschoolers, Teachability Factor, The Art and Science of Transplanting Children, and The Science of Emotion. As a mother of three, Geneviève makes it her priority to incorporate her knowledge of the Neufeld paradigm into her daily parenting and relationships.
Robin Brooks-Sherriff is a Registered Nurse in Calgary where she has worked in various capacities with families and clients for over 24 years. Both as a nurse and as a mother of a teenage daughter she has been tremendously impacted by Dr Neufeld’s paradigm since she happened upon it 11 years ago. In particular the Adolescence material has informed her current work with teens and young adults in regards to their sexual health. The insight into the emotionally intense adolescent years gained through Dr. Neufeld’s approach is immensely helpful when offering a guiding hand through the maze our teens and their families face. Robin has completed the two-year Facilitator Training Program with the Neufeld Institute and is now in faculty internship.
Laina Clugston, M.A., is a faculty intern with the Neufeld Institute. She has worked for over thirty years with parents, teachers and young children and is currently a lead teacher in the Infant/Toddler Program at Bowdoin College Children’s Center (BCCC) in Brunswick Maine. Laina serves as a mentor for program and staff development using the Neufeld paradigm at BCCC and throughout Maine. Making sense of children and adults through the Neufeld attachment-based developmental approach and furthering this approach for those caring for young children is the focus of Laina’s work. She creatively weaves together theory and practice to help those who work with children in home and classroom settings.
Eva de Gosztonyi is a psychologist who has worked for over 40 years in schools across Canada. She has been a member of the Faculty of the Neufeld Institute since 2007. Eva also works with the ten English School Boards of Quebec, helping them to understand how best to interact with children with significant behavioural challenges. Eva believes that educators can foster the natural processes of development in their interactions and attachments with students in the classroom and in the school. In her presentations, Eva weaves together theory and practice, learning and behaviour, to help those who work with children apply Dr. Neufeld’s paradigm so that they can effectively help children and youth become the “best that they can be.”
Darlene Denis-Friske is a registered psychotherapist, child and youth worker, and parent consultant. Darlene has worked in a variety of rewarding settings since 1988, including psychiatric hospital, school-based work, community practice, and private practice. Darlene is currently a psychotherapist on staff with a busy Ontario family health team, and also a faculty member with the Neufeld Institute since 2009 where she is Director of Practitioner Programs. She has taken an active role in organizing community talks and professional development geared towards understanding the emotional, developmental, and attachment needs of children and youth.
Colleen Drobot is a registered professional counsellor with a private practice in North Vancouver. She provides therapy for adults and also offers parent consulting using a developmental, attachment-based approach. She also works with school districts and other professionals to help make sense of children and adolescents. She is an educator with over 20 years’ experience working with children in the regular classroom or in special needs settings. She is an adjunct faculty member of the Neufeld Institute and has worked with Dr. Gordon Neufeld for many years. Colleen is a mother of two and draws from her personal as well as professional experience to support parents and professionals in gaining insight, opening their hearts, and leading by their intuition.
Patti Drobot is a registered professional counsellor, parent consultant, and presenter with an educational background in rehabilitation medicine. Her past experience is in psychiatric occupational therapy where she has worked in both hospital and community settings for 20 years. A faculty member of the Neufeld Institute, she currently works as a counsellor in Vancouver. Patti’s greatest professional passion is working with Dr. Neufeld. Her greatest personal passion is being the mother of her two children.
Jule Epp is a psychologist, therapist, parent consultant, and presenter living in Berlin, Germany for the last 26 years. Originally from Vancouver, she was a student of Gordon Neufeld’s at the University of British Columbia, which is how she was exposed to the developmental, attachment approach that became the foundation of her academic and professional work. Her experiences with her own hypersensitive son paved the way for her passion for the field of autism and play. For over ten years she worked directly with children and adolescents diagnosed with autism – in their homes, in schools and kindergartens, and in a regional autism centre. Jule is now in private practice, offering workshops and online consultations to parents and professionals who have children diagnosed with autism in their care.
Heather Ferguson brings compassion, humour and cutting-edge neuroscience to the heroic quest of our time– how to raise resilient children. Through the lens of evidence-based developmental and relationship theory, she guides parents and professionals to a deeper understanding of the roots of children’s challenging and troubling behaviour. Heather is a faculty member of the Neufeld Institute and a Clinical Counsellor who works with adults, adolescents and couples. A steadfast advocate for children and the adults who seek to understand them, Heather has a warm and playful approach. Adults leave her courses, presentations and sessions heartened and ready to lead struggling children towards emotional health and well-being.
Denise Findlay is a Neufeld facilitator and parent consultant, as well as mother to two highly sensitive, intense, and bright boys. She works extensively with parents in the First Nations community, where she shares her insights to empower them to be their child’s best bet and to look to traditional approaches to parenting that focus on attachment and life-long, whole-person development. Denise has experience training educators, parents, social workers, early childhood educators, mental health practitioners, and other helping professionals. She holds a Master’s degree in education from Simon Fraser University, where she focused on contemplative inquiry and approaches in education. Denise also sits on two Vancouver Coastal Health Advisory Committees, where she provides a parent voice in regards to child and youth mental health services.
Marla Klyne Kolomaya is a counsellor and parent consultant. She is particularly drawn to the warmth and intuitive care of Dr. Neufeld’s developmental-relational approach as well as how right it feels to walk alongside parents as they face the many daunting challenges of raising children in today’s culture. As a counsellor, she became passionate about sharing this approach with others who were yearning to make sense of the children and adolescents in their care. Marla’s work is now informed by Dr. Neufeld’s developmental paradigm exclusively. She has found her life’s work in supporting families, educators, and professionals with an enthusiastic and unwavering belief that relationship is the answer for what ails us.
Maria LeRose, M.Ed., is an award-winning television producer, and a producer of Educational Videos. She holds a Masters in Education with a concentration on social and emotional learning and development. Early in her career Maria worked in a variety of Social Service jobs including Youth Worker and Mental Health Worker. She was also Coordinator of the first Child Abuse Prevention program in British Columbia. For 14 years Maria has been an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC. She is a Communications and Education consultant with a variety of organizations including the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education – where she designs and moderates their annual Heart-Mind Conference.
Mathieu Lyons is a Clinical Social Worker registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. He worked within the child and family mental health field for 17 years. In 2012, he became a College Teacher in the field of Social Work. Since 2017, Mathieu is also the director of the Institut Neufeld (institutneufeld.org) where he leads the French team to offer courses, webinars, master classes and case studies in French.
Deborah MacNamara, Ph.D., is a Vancouver-based clinical counsellor and educator with more than 25 years’ experience working with children, youth, and adults. She is on faculty at the Neufeld Institute, operates a counselling practice, and speaks regularly about child and adolescent development to parents, child care providers, educators, and mental health professionals. She is also the author of Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers (or Anyone Who Acts Like One) which has been translated into ten languages and provides a 360-degree developmental walk around the young child. Her first children’s picture book, The Sorry Plane emphasizes the importance of preserving and protecting a child’s caring spirit by not forcing caring performances like saying sorry. Deborah resides in Vancouver, Canada with her husband and two children.
Michele Maurer is a Faculty Intern with the Neufeld Institute and a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist with 30 years’ experience. Michele works as a counsellor and parent consultant in private practice in Langley, BC, and is an instructor for mental health clinicians across BC. Michele previously worked with Fraser Health as a counsellor, supervisor and educator and prior to that, started her career in the non-profit sector working with at-risk youth and their families. Michele earned her Master’s degree in Couple and Family Therapy at the University of Guelph. Married for 20+ years, she and her husband enjoy parenting their two nearly grown children.
David McFall is a Neufeld course facilitator and an experienced in-school administrator with the Western Quebec School Board in Gatineau, Quebec. As a principal of a large urban elementary school, David has committed himself to distilling Dr. Neufeld’s theoretical framework to provide teachers and principals with a unique and transferrable model of re-thinking school organization through the attachment-based developmental lens.
Genevieve Schreierhas worked for the Neufeld Institute since its inception. With an undergraduate degree in sociology and an MA in international relations, she has always had a passion for exploring human connection and uncovering potential. Genevieve has a variety of roles with the Neufeld Institute that include oversight of Institute programs, course delivery and event coordinating.
Tamara Strijack is the academic dean of the Neufeld Institute, where she develops and delivers courses and workshops on child development for parents, teachers and helping professionals around the world. She is the co-author of Reclaiming Our Students: Why Children Are More Anxious, Aggressive, and Shut-Down than Ever—and What We Can Do About It. Tamara has worked with children and adolescents in various roles over the last twenty-five years. Currently, she works as a clinical counsellor and parent consultant. Tamara also facilitates workshops and teaches university courses for teachers and counsellors. Connection, relationship and play continue to be central themes in all her roles, both personally and professionally. Tamara has two daughters and lives on Vancouver Island.
Terry Warburton is a therapist and parent consult who works in southern Manitoba. She is the clinical director of a small counselling agency and enjoys mentoring and supporting other counsellors. She is also a Neufeld Institute faculty member. She believes that thriving is possible for adults and children when the right environment is nurtured. She is passionate about supporting adults and children in their journey of achieving their full developmental potential.
Adrienne Wood is a former High School teacher and lecturer in Human Development. She currently runs her own practice, Heartsync NZ. Heartsync supports New Zealand parents and professionals to understand complex and challenging adolescent behaviour from a Neufeld-informed relational developmental approach. Adrienne continues to learn more about adolescent development daily through parenting her own teens and in her ongoing training with the Neufeld Institute as a Faculty Intern.