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Professional Development for Teachers and Helping Professionals

I provide education and consulting to help professionals make sense of the children and adolescents in their care. Based on the work of Dr. Gordon Neufeld, intervention is aimed at understanding the roots of a problem rather than simply throwing consequences at symptoms. Emphasis is placed on understanding children from the inside out, and creating attachment friendly, developmentally sound practices to support change.

If you are a teacher or a helping professional involved with children (school counsellor, paediatrician, social worker, child psychiatrist, psychologist, etc.) and are interested in understanding how the Neufeld approach can be applied in your context, please contact me.

“It is not so much what we do, but rather who we are, to our students that matters most.” Dr. Gordon Neufeld

Enjoy a Custom Workshop

Do you have a specific interest or training need for your child and youth facility or school? I am happy to work with you to design a custom training to best meet your professional development and continuing education needs. Contact me here or at info@heatherfergusonconsulting.com to explore the options for your team.

Or, choose from one of my established trainings for helping professionals below:

The Teachability Factor

continuing-education-children-and-youth-professionalsTeaching doesn’t always result in learning and this discrepancy seems to be widening. This, despite the fact that students have never been smarter, teachers have never been better trained, our curriculum has never been more honed, and our technology has never been so advanced. According to Dr. Neufeld, the problem has to do with the diminishing teachability of our students. The teachability factor refers to those determinants of learning that are psychological in nature: developmental, relational, motivational and emotional. Cultural change has altered these factors, making the teacher’s job much more difficult than it used to be or needs to be. According to Dr. Neufeld, the teachability factor is the most overlooked, least understood and potentially the most promising of the factors in the learning equation. Current educational methods and curriculum assume teachability, setting teachers up for considerable frustration when this assumption is not realized.

The Teachability Factor was developed by Dr. Neufeld with the purpose of making sense of students to the teachers, administrators and supporting professionals responsible for them. It is an insight approach bringing the best of attachment-based developmental science to bear on the issues and challenges of educating our young. This course focuses on the two most significant factors in learning and behaviour: developmental stuckness and the student-teacher relationship. Interventions flow logically and directly from an understanding of these factors.

The video material for the course is divided into eight 1-hour sessions, and is supported by 4 discussion groups. The course is relevant to all educators and supporting professionals.

Interested in this course?

letmeknow Click on the Let Me Know button at left to receive notification when a new group is scheduled.

Alpha Children: Reclaiming Our Rightful Place In Their Lives

A growing number of children and youth are presenting as demanding, prescriptive, bossy and controlling. A disturbing number of these alpha children are turning into bullies as well. Alpha children can be challenging to manage and, by their nature, are more likely to present with troubling behaviour. This is making the child-adult dance much more difficult than it used to be or needs to be, despite the plethora of advice-giving and strategies available today. Internationally renowned developmental psychologist Dr. Neufeld uncovers the surprising roots of the alpha complex and in doing so, opens the doors for lasting change: in the family, in the classroom and in society. This course is designed for all those involved in raising, teaching and working with children. Learn More…

Interested in this course?

registerClick on the Let Me Know button at left to receive notification when a new group is scheduled.

Bullies: Their Making and Unmaking

Once we understand how bullies are made, our attempts to unmake them can be truly effective and long-lasting. Most prevailing approaches to this problem assume that bullying is either learned behaviour or the result of failure to acquire social skills. In contrast, Dr. Neufeld dissects the bully syndrome to reveal its deep instinctive roots in the dynamics of attachment and vulnerability.

Making Sense of Discipline

This is a video course and discussion group created by internationally renowned developmental psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld. Discipline is one of the biggest challenges faced by parents and educators. We all want good behaviour from our children, but as a culture we have fallen to instant fixes and one minute answers without weighing the costs on our child’s well-being. When the challenge is to impose order on behaviour without putting in jeopardy healthy attachment and development, many are at a loss of how to proceed. This course equips parents and teachers with a solid methodology that is not only much more effective but also much less risky than the usual fare.  It not only answers the questions of what to do when problems arise but does so without sacrificing a child’s emotional health and sense of security for short-term gains in behaviour and performance. Learn More …

Interested in this course?

letmeknow Click on the Let Me Know button at left to receive notification when a new group is scheduled.

Neufeld Intensive I: Making Sense of Kids

Not everyone grows up as they get older. The construct of psychological immaturity is not new, but only recently has developmental science advanced to the point where the idea of developmental arrest can be spelled out and employed as a powerful explanatory tool for problems in learning and behaving. Once kids are stuck, the usual ways of dealing with behaviour – including sanctions, consequences, and time-outs – actually make things worse. This flagship course, organized around the constructs of maturation and stuckness, provides a grounding in the conceptual foundations of Dr. Neufeld’s formulation of the attachment-based developmental approach.

Neufeld Intensive II: The Separation Complex

Most problem behaviour is rooted in instinct and emotion and is therefore unresponsive to conventional forms of discipline or behaviour management. Building on the foundations of the Intensive I, this course sheds light upon the profound impact of separation on a child’s personality and behavior, with special attention given to the problems of aggression, resistance, oppositionality, bullying, distractability, impulsiveness, anxiety, alarm problems, alpha problems, attachment problems, and more. When the developmental antecedents are understood, the path to effective intervention becomes clear.

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


What Clients are Saying

"Wise, compassionate, skilled... Heather's skilled guidance offered us new insights and practical tools to better support our growing boys."


Locations and Contact

All classes and counselling services for individuals, couples and families are based out of the beautiful Matraea Centre in Duncan, BC. Professional consulting services available to teachers and helping professionals on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.

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“The secret of parenting is not in what a parent does, but in who a parent is to their child.” – Gordon Neufeld