In this course Dr. Neufeld unfolds each of the six ways of attaching that are core to his comprehensive model of attachment. There are two focuses: one a deeper theoretical understanding of the material and the other the personal integration of the material. Becoming Attached is also a journey through Dr. Neufeld’s earlier theoretical development which created the puzzle pieces that ultimately came together in the six roots of attachment.

This Advanced Intensive is only available in a live format with limited registration so as to ensure the maximum benefit for each registrant. There are fifteen sessions in total spread over five days. We begin at 8:30am in the morning and end at 1:30pm in the afternoon to allow participants to spend time with their families, or to utilize the time for reflection and contemplation. The prerequisite for this Advanced Intensive is the Neufeld Intensive II which can be taken either live in Vancouver in the summer or online via our scheduled classes or through self-study. Becoming Attached is typically fully registered shortly after registration opens. Student satisfaction has been outstanding.

Course Description

Attachment is absolutely fundamental to who we are and what we do. It follows then that understanding the dynamic of attachment would provide the keys to self-understanding. It also follows that our self-understanding is only going to be as good as the model of attachment we are using. Dr. Neufeld’s six-stage theory of attachment provides a comprehensive model that is universal in its application. Each way of attaching is explored to reveal a treasure trove of insights with the power to explain perplexing phenomenon as well as our own inner experience. Each way of attaching is also embedded in the psychological literature that points to it. The last way of attaching - via ‘self-disclosure’ - is also explored as the catalyst for growth through the life-span. 

Each of the six ways of attaching are unpacked to understand what the various dynamics look like through that lens: alpha instincts, shyness, alarm, depersonalization, wounding, defensive detachment. We also explore the purpose of each form of proximity, the relationship with other forms of connection, and the temptations involved in each way of pursuing closeness. Issues of exclusiveness in, and the sexualization of, each mode of attachment is examined. Besides making sense of ourselves and our children, this material can be used to make sense of any attachment relationship, including marriage, friendship and the relationship to one’s God.


This course is universal in its application. There is not a profession or venue of application that is not informed by an understanding of attachment. People from all occupations, cultures and religions have been equally engaged by the material in this course. The best way to take the course is to come for oneself. 

No previous background or formal education in the social sciences is required, although the ability to handle university-level instruction helps. This course is highly recommended for therapists and is part of the core curriculum for our internship and practitioner programs. Participants have included parents and grandparents, educators of all kinds, behaviour specialists, counsellors, therapists, art therapists, psychologists, pediatricians, university professors, psychiatrists, family physicians, nurses, social workers, youth workers, ministers, care providers and foster parents.


Objectives of this course:
1. The primary purpose is to foster a deeper understanding of each of the six ways of attaching and to recognize these dynamics in oneself. 

2. A secondary purpose is to expand on the theoretical origins of the main puzzle pieces that make up this model of attachment.

3. A third objective is to introduce topics, questions, primers for reflection, that can be pursued on one’s own in order to bring more consciousness to this arena.  

Some themes and issues:
• how our first sense of identity forms via the quest for sameness
• how self-esteem derives from the quest for significance
• how the quest for significance results in irresistible temptation
• how the attachment conscience is formed
• the role of self-disclosure in attachment and personal growth
• the impediments to true intimacy 
• the dangers of self-disclosure when out of relational context
• guilt and attachment
• growing up across the life-span
• how depression can result from attachment 
• the nature of rest and security in attachment
•  what wounds and alarms in each way of attaching
• what the sexualization of each way of attaching looks like
• what phenomena each modality of attachment explains
• where the topics exist in the psychological literature
• what the alpha and dependent stances look like in each way of attaching
• recognizing these attachment dynamics in marriage and religion

Course Outline

Session 1: Overview of the Intensive
Session 2: Attaching via the Senses
Session 3: Attaching via Sameness
Session 4: Attaching via Identification
Session 5: Attaching via Belonging & Loyalty
Session 6: Attaching via Significance
Session 7: Influencing the Verdict
Session 8: Significance and Self Esteem
Session 9: Conscience and Attachment
Session 10: Attaching via the Heart
Session 11: Attaching via Self-Disclosure
Session 12: Impediments of Intimacy in Adulthood
Session 13: Growth via Self-Disclosure
Session 14: Attachment and Depression
Session 15: Finding Release

Registration Details

This course is currently only available in live format. It is not available through Continuing Education. Please check the Events page for future offerings.

Course Coordinator

Tamara Strijack has been a member of the Neufeld Institute Faculty since its inception. She comes to this role with a strong academic background, experience in university teaching, and a professional involvement in treatment and parent consulting.

© 2018 The Neufeld Institute
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