Making Sense of Anxiety
to Jun 11

Making Sense of Anxiety

The escalating level of anxiety in our children begs for an explanation as well as a solution. Dr. Neufeld sheds light on this age-old problem, paving the way for natural ways of responding that can actually get to the root causes as opposed to just managing symptoms. This course brings a fresh and promising perspective to one of our most troubling and perplexing human problems. Although the focus is on children, this enlightening material will benefit anyone suffering from anxiety.

Course Description

The time has finally come to be able to answer the problem of anxiety. What makes it possible now is that we currently have enough pieces of the puzzle to create a coherent picture: a mastery of attachment theory, an understanding of human vulnerability, a working knowledge of attention, and the discoveries of neuroscience. Possessing the pieces are not enough however. It takes a theorist’s mind to put the pieces together and a seasoned therapist’s wisdom to test this model against human experience.

Neufeld has been uniquely positioned, not only to answer this question but also to understand the implications for our children. The picture that emerges from his integrative synthesis resonates with current research as well as natural intuition. The resulting solutions are surprising, not in that they are counter intuitive but rather that they run counter to the prevailing practice.

The focus of this course is the anxiety of our children and what we can do about this, both as a society and as the adults responsible for them. The dynamics and insights however apply to all ages.

Course Delivery

The instructional video serves as the ‘textbook’ for the course and is shown as part of the workshop but this is only the part of the learning adventure. The course is delivered as an interactive workshop in a group setting over 4 weeks in 2 hour sessions. 

Location and Dates: Tuesdays May 14, 28, June 4 & 11 (no class May 21) from 6-8pm in the Library of Argyll Centre School 

Cost: $80 per person. To register send an email and payment by email transfer or paypal to


This course is designed for all those involved with children and youth: parents, teachers, helping professionals. Although the focus is children, the dynamics and insights apply to individuals of any age. In fact, although most participants come for their children, they end up with significant insights about their own anxiety and how to best deal with it. Helping professionals will learn how to treat the anxiety of children effectively and without depending upon medication. Helping professionals also learn how to work through the parents in addressing the anxiety of their children. Teachers will gain insights about their own role in the anxiety problem and what they can do to reduce the anxiety of their students. Parents will learn how to address the roots of the issue and so reduce the symptoms of anxiety.


Topics addressed include:

  • the anatomy and working model of the human alarm system

  • how to recognize anxiety in all its various manifestations

  • an updated and insight-based working definition of anxiety

  • how anxiety-based problems are related to agitation-based and attention problems and adrenalin-seeking behaviour

  • appropriate and inappropriate ways we alarm our children

  • the role of the prefrontal cortex in anxiety

  • the role of attachment in anxiety

  • why some children cannot see their dragons and treasures simultaneously

  • the three natural outcomes of alarm and how to foster them

  • seven common themes in our obsessions and compulsions

  • why we tend to feel anxious instead of alarmed

  • why what alarms us can also blind us to the source of alarm

  • the role of the brain’s limbic system in anxiety

  • how emotional and perceptual defenses lead to alarm-system dysfunction

  • how the alarm system is meant to work

  • why anxiety is increasing in our children

  • why alpha children tend to be much more anxious

  • why current discipline methods are alarming our children

  • why some children are conscientious, careful and concerned and others are reckless, careless and without fear

  • the relationship of courage and anxiety

  • effective ways of addressing the roots of anxiety without relying on medication

  • what parents can do to help their anxious children

  • what teachers can do to help their anxious students

View Event →
6:30 PM18:30

Into the Heart of Kirtan: Intentional Sound Healing Concert

Kirtan is musical call and response group chanting. This practice combines the power of intentional sound with ancient Sanskrit mantras and English songs and affirmations to calm the mind, move emotions and create connection and well-being. Come as you are, no experience necessary.

About the Host:
Tiffany Sparrow Grace, BMT, MTA is an accredited music therapist, singer-songwriter, educator and yogi. Sparrow works in hospital settings, providing music and mindfulness for pain reduction, emotional balance and neurological functioning. She has performed with several well-known kirtan artists such as Dave Stringer, Karnamrita Dasi, Jai Uttal, and Shimshai and studied yoga and mantra in Canada and India, obtaining her 500hr yoga teaching certificate in Akhanda Yoga through Yogrishi Vishvketu. Currently completing her MA research on the health benefits of musical group chanting (kirtan), Sparrow is passionate about sharing through experience and lecture what she has learned so far about the therapeutic impact of intentional sound.

This event is free to attend but attendees are encouraged to make donations at the event to directly support the artists involved.

View Event →
6:30 PM18:30

Bedlam Cafe- Open Mic re: Mental Health

Bedlam was the nickname given to Bethlem Hospital in London for the mentally ill in the 17th century. Over time, the name became synonymous with uproar, pandemonium, commotion, mayhem, confusion, unrest and upheaval. It is a stigmatized word referring to those with mental illness. We hope to reclaim the word in acceptance and celebration of neurodiversity where the uproarious have a space to be heard and seen in sharp contrast to the original bedlam.

Alternating between informal round table discussions and an open mic format, participants will have an opportunity to share stories, spoken word, poetry and/or songs about their experiences with mental health within the healthcare system and otherwise. Everyone is welcome including those directly affected by mental health challenges, family members, concerned citizens and professionals working within social services and healthcare organizations.

Be prepared to move others and be moved by our shared humanity.

This event is free to attend but attendees are welcome to make donations at the event to help support this and future similar events in the Edmonton area.

View Event →
to Apr 10

Into the Heart of Trauma Conference

Eventbrite - Into the Heart of Trauma

Making Sense of Resilience

Keynote Address

Resilience is a remarkable construct – an overarching metaphor that touches on the arenas of stress, neural plasticity, emotional health, recovery, healing, mental illness, adaptation, defendedness, and therapy. It is relevant to everyone in most every role and regardless of age: teachers, therapists, youth workers, parents, support workers, etc. Fresh understandings are coming to the fore as we glean more working knowledge of the brain as well as the nature of emotion. The implications for working with children are profound, never mind the implications for dealing with stress in our own lives and in the lives of our loved ones.

Making Sense of Hypersensitivity

Full Day Workshop Following Keynote Address

New understandings of how the brain works, when viewed through a comprehensive appreciation of attachment, human vulnerability and the developmental process, hold great promise for unraveling some of the most confounding mysteries of childhood. Evidence is mounting that the neurological condition of sensory overload may very well be the root cause and common denominator of a myriad of diverse manifestations and syndromes, including autism, some types of attention problems and even a form of giftedness. The huge diversity of symptoms results from both the degree of severity of the neurological condition as well as the domino effect on a child’s attachments, emotions and resulting development. If understood and properly addressed, sensory overload issues can usually be compensated for and much of the secondary domino effect can be reversed. Dr. Neufeld will discuss the most promising interventions, including the cultivating of strong attachments, the priming of the human adaptive process, and the harnessing of true play as Nature’s own remedial and corrective process.

About Dr Neufeld

Dr. Gordon Neufeld is a Vancouver-based developmental psychologist with over 40 years of experience with children and youth and those responsible for them. A foremost authority on child development, Dr. Neufeld is an international speaker, a best-selling author (Hold On to Your Kids) and a leading interpreter of the developmental paradigm. Dr. Neufeld has a widespread reputation for making sense of complex problems and for opening doors for change. While formerly involved in university teaching and private practice, he now devotes his time to teaching and training others, including educators and helping professionals. His Neufeld Institute is now a world-wide charitable organization devoted to applying developmental science to the task of raising children. Dr. Neufeld appears regularly on radio and television. He is a father of five and a grandfather to six.


Trauma as Medicine – the Conversation Begins

It is through the transformation of our deepest suffering we discover our humanity, for seeing ourselves in another allows us to choose compassion over hate, understanding over anger, and forgiveness over judgment.

Sarah Salter Kelly leads us through her journey of healing in the aftermath of her mother’s homicide. She encourages us to consider that in the heart of our greatest wounds lay our greatest strengths and teachings. Her presentation details with the individual process of moving from me to we as she leads us down a path of seeking the humanity of a perpetrator and exploring the collective source of cycles of violence. Because her mother’s perpetrator was First Nations, this includes awareness of the colonial wound and compound trauma in Canada.

Sarah is joined by Marilyn Brighteyes, a First Nations woman from Saddle Lake Cree Nation. Marilyn shares her story of healing the violence and trauma of her upbringing, overcoming substance abuse, and managing under the FASD umbrella.


Sarah Salter Kelly is a writer, healer, and spiritual teacher with a private practice in Edmonton and Pigeon Lake, Alberta. She is adept at supporting people in healing trauma and creating restorative practices for their day-to-day lives. As a public speaker she has presented all across Alberta at Women’s Conferences, First Nations Organizations, the Women’s Prison, and Health & Wellness events, sharing her story of healing homicide and reconciling with the family of the man who murdered her mother. For more information go to her website:

Marilyn Brighteyes is an addictions counselor for the Boyle Centre in Edmonton. She uses her life experience to support people with trauma-based upbringings or those struggling with addictions.


Using Story to Heal Trauma

In 2010, the al Rabeeah family left their home in Iraq in hope of a safer life. They moved to Homs, in Syria — just before the Syrian civil war broke out.

Abu Bakr, one of eight children, was ten years old when the violence began on the streets around him: car bombings, attacks on his mosque and school, firebombs late at night. Homes shows the strange juxtapositions of growing up in a war zone: horrific, unimaginable events punctuated by normalcy — soccer, cousins, video games, friends.

Homes is a remarkable true story of how a young boy emerged from a war zone — and found safety in Canada — with a passion for sharing his story and telling the world what is truly happening in Syria. As told to her by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, writer Winnie Yeung has crafted a heartbreaking, hopeful, and urgently necessary book that provides a window into understanding Syria. Join Winnie and Abu Bakr as they share their insights on the tremendous healing power of story. 


Abu Bakr al Rabeeah is currently a high school student. After three years of living in Canada, he enjoys his life here but he also dreams of a future where he can return to help rebuild Iraq and Syria. 

Winnie Yeung has been an English Language Arts teacher for ten years. Homes is her first book. She lives in Edmonton, Canada, with her black pug, Zoe. 


Healing After Birth - A Trauma Informed Perspective in Postpartum Health

Jennifer Summerfeldt, Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology (MACP), has nearly two decades of experience in maternal health and psychology. In addition to being a counsellor, Jennifer has also been a childbirth advocate, maternal educator, doula, midwifery apprentice and published writer. She is the founder and creator of the Healing After Birth program, where she uses her expertise and voice to help advance the dialogue on motherhood, mental health, and healing. To learn more about Jennifer, visit


Transforming Trauma: Renegotiating Our Relationships with the Archetypes

If there’s one thing our mainstream culture lacks it’s the support to come back, or integrate, after experiencing something difficult or even traumatic. Many traditional cultures knew the value of support, ritual and ceremony in order to usher its members into life’s new stages, whether it be for rites of passage or after a trauma had occurred. Inspired by the work of Carl Jung, mythology and after more than 15 years of study with traditional Blackfoot elders Joe and Josephine Crowshoe, Shanon Harwood created The Archetype Project, an interactive tool for healing and for assistance coming back into a harmonious relationship with the forces of creation.


Walking in Two Worlds: The Healing Journey of a Lifelong Learner

Ernestina Malheiro has experienced tremendous post-traumatic growth by following her passion for learning. Her curiosity engaged her in a process of understanding the factors that led to her recovery from complex developmental and adult trauma through years of diligent experimentation with various modalities when Western medicine seemed to have little to offer her. During grad school she reclaimed herself by drawing connections between trauma research and her experience as a lifelong learner. Ernestina has walked back and forth between trauma and healing through self-directed learning with Indigenous Elders and embarking on an 8-month trip through Central and South America, the South Pacific Ocean, and Europe with only her backpack. In this presentation, she will share personal stories to contextualize key findings from her graduate research about the epidemiology, risk factors, and psychoeducation outcomes she has utilized to help her walk out of trauma and into the world of resiliency with post-traumatic growth.

ernestina new photo.jpg

Sing, Pray, Heal: The Therapeutic Impact of Intentional Sound

Kirtan, a group chanting practice where music meets yoga, is gaining popularity in modern culture.  What is kirtan? Why are people drawn to this practice? What effect is it having on participants’ health and well-being? Could this be considered therapeutic? In sharing some of her qualitative fieldwork research with kirtan participants in Australia and North America, Tiffany Sparrow Grace will discuss how kirtan contributes to perceived emotional, mental, physical, social and spiritual well-being. 

Tiffany Sparrow Grace, BMT, MTA is an accredited music therapist, singer-songwriter, educator and yogi. Sparrow works in hospital settings, providing music and mindfulness for pain reduction, emotional balance and neurological functioning. She has performed with several well-known kirtan artists such as Dave Stringer, Karnamrita Dasi, Jai Uttal, and Shimshai and studied yoga and mantra in Canada and India, obtaining her 500hr yoga teaching certificate in Akhanda Yoga through Yogrishi Vishvketu.  Currently completing her MA research on the health benefits of musical group chanting (kirtan), Sparrow is passionate about sharing through experience and lecture what she has learned so far about the therapeutic impact of intentional sound.

IMGP8960 - Sparrow Grace.jpg

Into the Heart of Suicide

Eugena Maguire is a social worker, former “struggling” foster parent and creator of the Parenting Human Beings (PHB) podcast. Limping into adulthood and trying to make sense of her own childhood and mother’s suicide, Eugena fatefully stumbled upon the work of Dr. Gordon Neufeld, among others. She was deeply inspired, which brought her into her current role as helper, healer, facilitator, and curious journey companion to parents, educators and any adults who care about kids. Through years of deep inner work and play, hitting the books, and healing, Eugena has discovered what drives us as human beings: our need for connection.


Speaking Schedule

Monday April 8, 2019

8:30-9 Conference Opening

9-10:15 Dr. Gordon Neufeld - Keynote Address: Making Sense of Resilience

10:15-10:30 Morning Break

10:30-Noon Dr. Gordon Neufeld - Making Sense of Hypersensitivity Part 1/3

Noon-1:30 Lunch Break

1:30-3 Dr. Gordon Neufeld - Making Sense of Hypersensitivity Part 2/3

3-3:15 Afternoon Break

3:15-4:15 Dr. Gordon Neufeld - Making Sense of Hypersensitivity Part 3/3

4:15-4:30 Closing

Tuesday April 9, 2019

8:30-8:45 Opening

8:45-11:45 Sarah Salter Kelly and Marilyn Brighteyes - Trauma as Medicine - the Conversation Begins (with 15 min morning break at approximately 10:15)

11:45-1:15 Lunch Break

1:15-2:45  Ernestina Malheiro - Walking in Two Worlds: The Healing Journey of a Lifelong Learner

2:45-3 Afternoon Break

3-4:30 Winnie Yeung and Abu Bakr al Rabeeah - Using Story to Heal Trauma

Wednesday April 10, 2019

8:30-8:45 Opening

8:45-10 Jennifer Summerfeldt - Healing After Birth - A Trauma Informed Perspective in Postpartum Health

10-10:15 Morning Break

10:15-11:45 Eugena W. Maguire - Into the Heart of Suicide

11:45-1:15 Lunch Break

1:15-2:45 Shanon Harwood - Transforming Trauma: Renegotiating Our Relationships with the Archetypes

2:45-3 Afternoon Break

3-4:15 Tiffany Sparrow Grace - Sing, Pray, Heal: The Therapeutic Impact of Intentional Sound

4:15-4:30 Conference Closing

Eventbrite - Into the Heart of Trauma
View Event →