Building on the foundations of the Intensive I, this course sheds light upon the profound impact of separation on a child's personality and behaviour. Special attention is given to the problems of aggression, resistance, oppositionality, bullying, distractability, impulsiveness, anxiety, alarm problems, alpha problems, attachment problems, and more. This course is a prerequisite to entry into all the Neufeld Institute's support programs.

Revised in 2016, this course is structured into 15 sessions. In the continuing education version of the course, each session contains 60-75 minutes of instructional video by Dr. Neufeld.


The prerequisite for Neufeld Intensive II is Neufeld Intensive I: Making Sense of Kids which can be taken either as a Scheduled Online Class (when available) or via Self-Paced Study.

Course Description

Most problem behaviour is rooted in instinct and emotion and is therefore unresponsive to conventional forms of discipline or behaviour management. When the developmental antecedents are understood, the path to effective intervention becomes clear. The key to accurate analysis is an understanding of the dynamics of attachment, vulnerability and maturation. These conceptual keys are provided in the Level One Intensive and then used in Level Two to unlock the mysteries of aggression, bullying, resistance, oppositionality, anxiety, obsessions, addiction, suicidal impulses, agitation, impulsiveness, distractibility, and much more.

Dr. Neufeld’s wealth of clinical experience with the most troubled populations of children and youth provide the basis for his insightful analysis and proven interventions. His ability to unravel the most perplexing problems to reveal the contributing dynamics, renders the troubling behaviours not only understandable but surprisingly treatable.

organizing thesis construct

After a life-time of putting the puzzle pieces together, Dr. Neufeld has discovered that when diverse childhood problems are traced to their very beginnings, the inevitable triggering experience is usually some form or variation of separation - anticipated or real. There is no other single experience that has more impact on our emotions, our instincts or our defensive systems. An understanding of separation and its impact prepares the way for making sense of a myriad of symptoms and then paves the way for change.

about the Model

The model is the result of years of synthesis and distillation and is rooted in depth psychology, grounded in the developmental paradigm, saturated in attachment theory and congruent with current neurological research. It has also been honed by over thirty-five years of professional practice, parenting and personal reflection. The model has been used effectively in a wide variety of venues and settings: parenting, classroom, special behaviour programs, alternate education settings, therapy, correctional settings, aboriginal communities, adoption, counseling, and the foster system.

about the Approach

The approach is distinctly developmental and thus in contrast to the current cognitive behavioural fare as well as to the medical disorder approach. Many find it a refreshing alternative to today’s smorgasbord approach to treatment and to the presentation of strategies divorced from their philosophical moorings. The developmental approach is usually somewhat inaccessible because of the esoteric terminology, confusing constructs and fragmented theorizing that tends to characterize it. Developmentalists do not generally have a reputation for being able to make themselves easily understood; Dr. Neufeld is a notable exception in this regard.

access to video recordings of the Intensive II

The video recordings of this course are available through videostreaming via our virtual campus. DVD sets are not available to be purchased. Members of the virtual campus who have taken this course are given complimentary access to the video material for study and review at any time.


The course is primarily addressed to those who are professional involved with children but is open to (and well attended by) parents who are seeking to make sense of their children. No previous background or formal education in the social sciences is required although the ability to handle university-level instruction helps. Although the focus is primarily on children and those responsible for them, the intensives have also been found useful by adult therapists and marriage counsellors. Participants include educators of all kinds, parents and grandparents, behaviour specialists, counsellors, therapists, art therapists, psychologists, pediatricians, university professors, psychiatrists, family physicians, nurses, social workers, youth workers, ministers, care providers and foster parents. This course is applicable to all settings and venues involving children but will be especially useful to those involved with children who have trouble learning and behaving. The course is particularly recommended for anyone involved or wishing to become involved in parent consulting or parent coaching, and is required for those seeking authorization as Neufeld Parent Consultants. The material applies to children of all ages as well as to adults, although the focus of the course is children and adolescents.

The prerequisite for this course is Neufeld Intensive I: Making Sense of Kids.

Formats & Fees

This course is available in the ONLINE CAMPUS COURSE format only. See Course Format Options for format delivery, access, and content details.

The prerequisite for this course is Neufeld Intensive I: Making Sense of Kids.

Tuition includes an eight-month Virtual Campus study pass. See More On Online Campus Courses for further information on our two campus course formats (Self-Paced Study and Scheduled Online Class). Visit the course details page to register. If there is an upcoming Scheduled Online Class it will be posted directly above the Self-Paced Study button on the left-hand side.

Groups of ten or more receive extra faculty support if this can be arranged.


primary objective

The primary objective of the Level Two Intensive is to uncover the deep emotional and developmental roots of the most challenging problems of childhood and thus prepare the way for effective and long-lasting intervention. Both the behavioural and the disorder approaches fail to provide explanations and as a result, also fail to provide effective suggestions for getting to the root of the problem. The prevailing focus on symptom management and incident management leaves the root problems unaddressed and behavioural changes short-lived. Insight and understanding is pivotal to effective and lasting change.

topics covered

  • Separation as the epicenter of troubling behavior of all kinds
  • Three systems of defense against separations that are intolerable
  • Three pronged approach to address the underlying issue of separation
  • Pursuit in the face of separation and the accompanying problems of insecurity, depersonalization, and neurosis
  • The anatomy of alarm; including perceptions, feelings, impulses, emotions, physiology, and chemistry
  • Understanding and addressing anxiety based alarm problems, including obsessions, compulsions, neurotic behaviors,
  • Understanding and addressing agitation and adrenalin based alarm problems, including attention problems, reckless behavior, delinquent activity
  • Attention problems rooted in neurological impairment and attention problems rooted in defendedness; and how to address each type of attention problem
  • Seeing frustration at the root of depression and aggression problems
  • How to address aggression problems and why conventional discipline backfires
  • Behavior problems that result from being stuck in alpha, including bullying, aggression, eating problems, counterwill and alarm
  • Understanding and addressing detachment and counterwill problems
  • How to help adults with the children in their care

Course Outline

The Separation Complex

Session 1: The Separation Complex Introduced

Session 2: Facing Separation

Session 3: Problems Rooted in Separation - Triggered Pursuit

Problems Rooted in Alarm

Session 4: Making Sense of Alarm

Session 5: Making Sense of Alarm Problems

Session 6: Addressing Alarm Problems

Problems Rooted in Frustration

Session 7: Making Sense of Frustration

Session 8: Addressing Aggression Problems

Addressing Separation

Session 9: The PANACEA: Reducing Separation

Problems Rooted in the Attachment Defences

Session 10: Defensive Re-Attachment

Session 11: Defensive Dominance

Session 12: Defensive Detachment

Problems with Multiple Roots in the Separation Complex

Session 13: Attention Problems

Session 14: Counterwill Problems

Session 15: Conclusion

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