In this four-session course (available in seminar format only), Dr. Neufeld outlines the steps that need to be taken to get to emotional maturity and well-being, whether one is a child, a student or a supposed grown-up. This developmental knowledge is especially important as immaturity has become epidemic and most approaches make the mistake of attempting to address the symptoms of immaturity rather than getting at its root. This model is easy to follow, whether a parent, teacher or therapist.

Course Description

We have finally realized that emotional maturity and well-being should be priorities for all - our children, our students and ourselves. In the meantime, emotional immaturity has become so epidemic in our society that we have lost a sense of what true maturity even looks like and especially how to get there. We know that calling out immaturity doesn't work, no more than telling our children (or spouses or political leaders) to grow up. School programs aimed at addressing immaturity are typically based on the assumption that maturity is a skill that can be taught rather than a basic human potential that will be realized spontaneously if conditions are conducive.

In this four-session course (available in seminar format only), Dr. Neufeld outlines the developmental steps that need to be taken to get to emotional maturity and well-being, no matter what one's age, role or diagnosis. This knowledge can help to avoid the most common pitfall of battling against the symptoms of emotional immaturity while failing to address its root. This model is surprisingly easy to apply and provides a clear map for parents, teachers and therapists who have made emotional maturity and well-being their priorities for the children and adults in their care.


These insights and resulting practices are applicable to every venue – home, school and treatment, as well as every age group – infancy through old age. As always, Dr. Neufeld focuses on how problems develop in childhood and adolescence as a way of creating a foundation for healing and treatment throughout the lifespan. Although the course is addressed primarily to helping professionals and educators, the material is very helpful to parents, as well as for self-understanding and healing.


• the role of primal emotion and how it differs from secondary emotion
• the role of emotion in anxiety, depression, aggression and addiction
• the role of the prefrontal cortex in emotional development
• the role of attachment in emotional expression
• the tell-tale signs of emotional immaturity
• the nature of emotional turbulence and its role in mental illness
• the stress and resilience responses as emotional phenomena
• the three basic laws of emotion
• how to use the five steps as a roadmap to emotional maturity
• how empathy, courage, patience and self-control are the fruit of emotional maturity
• how to remove the impediments to feeling one's emotions
• how impulsiveness can be cured
• the role of emotion in adaptation, healing and recovery
• the role of emotional playgrounds in emotional health and development
• how inner conflict is the engine of higher development
• how the quest for happiness can backfire
• the early warning signs of a child or adolescent in emotional trouble
• the emotional common denominator of troubled behaviour and syndromes

Course Outline

This six-hour course is divided into four sessions of approximately 1.5 hours each.

Session 1 – Emotion as the Heart of the Matter
In the first session, Dr. Neufeld puts emotion back into the centre of our considerations as the core dynamic that underlies most troubling behavior, syndromes and diagnoses. Looking through the lens of emotion sheds significant light on the nature of stress, resilience, spontaneous development, adaptation, troubling behaviour and even mental illness. These understandings confirm that emotional health and development should indeed be our primary focus and objective. The five steps to emotional health and maturity are introduced.

Session 2 – Back to the Beginning: getting the first step right
Surprisingly, it is the failure of emotion to find safe expression that thwarts both emotional health and the process of maturation. The symptoms of this failure inevitably divert the focus to behaviour, cognition and disorder, typically eclipsing the underling emotional problem. When attachment and emotion are at odds, the perfect storm results for troubling behaviour and symptoms. The two basic ways of resolving this core systemic conflict should serve as the foundation for all remedial measures. The objective of this session is to appreciate the developmental foundations of emotional health and maturation, so that retreating to the beginning becomes our informed response.

Session 3 - Towards Fully Feeling: addressing the impediments
In this session we discuss the role of feelings in emotional health and development – both having them and recognizing them. For the purposes of this discussion, we first differentiate feelings from emotion – an insight that derives from today's neuroscience. Since feelings are several steps removed from emotion, we discuss what can go wrong and how this can be corrected. From this perspective, it becomes clear that the primary dynamic in the stress response is 'more emotion but less feeling'. Feeling one's emotions is absolutely essential to moving forward towards emotional health and maturity.

Session 4 – Supporting the Final Steps AND The Five Steps as a Template for Treatment
In the first part of this session, we discuss the role of felt inner conflict in becoming fully human and humane. including the capacity to reflect upon our emotions and to take up a relationship with them. Also discussed is how to foster the kind of tempered experience and expression that is the hallmark of emotional health and maturity. In the last half of the session, the Five Step Model is presented as an alternative to the 'talking cure' and as a template for treatment across the ages and in a variety of settings, including working with adults and couples and treating students within the school setting.

Registration Details

This course is available in what we call our seminar format – filmed lectures or presentations that can be streamed or downloaded without having to access our virtual campus.

The tuition fee for Neufeld's Five-Step Model of Emotional Maturation is $120.

Register via our Seminars & Webinars page.

© 2022 The Neufeld Institute