Neufeld Institute Conference 2024

About Our Conference Theme

What’s happening to our kids? How is it that, in this time of relative prosperity, with children being more educated than ever, with knowledge now at our fingertips, children are becoming increasingly more troubled? How is it that, in an age when children are finally being seen and heard, when parenting is more child-centered than ever, when schools are finally prioritizing the well-being of children, their suffering is increasing? We have never had more mental health professionals, more advocacy and literacy around mental health, or more mental health services available to us. What are we missing here?! Do we just need to try harder with what we are doing, or do we need to rethink the problem and change our approach?

In this year’s conference, we will unravel this alarming epidemic, tracing the symptoms back to their developmental roots. Only when we understand how troubles evolve can we even begin to hope to address their roots, whether it is individually or societally. We have largely been battling against symptoms with little insight to guide us, led by the prevailing doctrine of disorder paradigm and its league of practitioners. The battle has been earnest but has nevertheless proven futile in stemming the tide of unwellness. Never has a fresh new approach to mental health been more needed. 

Our team of presenters this year will attempt to do just that. They will share their insights when looking through the lens of the attachment-based developmental approach. Gordon Neufeld will begin the conference with an address on what’s happening to our kids. Deborah MacNamara will follow with presenting the case that the dysfunction we are witnessing is more a function of defendedness than disorder, and is reversible when addressed as such. Tamara Strijack and Genevieve Schreier will trace the loss of well-being to unfinished business emotionally, a perspective with profound implications for how we approach and resolve these issues, both in ourselves and in our children. 

This current crisis of well-being was the catalyst for adding a brand-new chapter to Hold On To Your Kids. This new edition is being released this spring on the twentieth anniversary of the book’s publication and just in time for our conference. In the last session of the day, Gordon will reflect on the journey of the book and share some thoughts on why it is finding more readers than ever, now in more than 35 languages. He will be joined by a panel of Neufeld Institute Faculty to discuss the pertinence of the themes of the book to the topic at hand: the current crisis of well-being.

Conference Highlights

  • Online conference using Zoom webinar platform
  • Presentations by Gordon Neufeld, Deborah MacNamara, and Tamara Strijack & Genevieve Schreier, each followed by a curated Q&A
  • Final session will include a presentation by Gordon Neufeld, followed by a panel discussion with Neufeld faculty
  • Suitable for parents, educators, and helping professionals
  • Includes post-conference access to all recordings until May 31, 2024
  • Easy-to-remember schedule, with sessions beginning at 9 & 11 am, 1 & 3 pm PDT

This conference is the annual fundraiser for the Neufeld Institute, a non-profit, registered charitable organization, whose mission is to use developmental science to make sense of children to the adults responsible for them. We thank all presenters who have generously donated their time and expertise, and we also thank all attendees for their support.