About us

Durban Launch for Professionals

Alison Lees About us April 25, 2017

On Wednesday 19th April 2017, Attachment Foundation hosted a Durban-based launch for professionals in the health and child care industry. It was a great success and privilege to have connected with like-minded professionals who are just as excited and passionate about Attachment Theory and Practices as we are.

For those of you who missed it here is a summary of the evening and what the Attachment Foundation is all about:

”Humans are an exquisitely social species, thriving in good company and suffering in isolation. More than anything else, our intimate relationships, or lack thereof, shape and define our lives” (Murphy, 2017)


In the field of psychology, there are many schools of thought that help us understand how individuals function in relationships. Ironically, Attachment Theory is the most rigorously studied however is not very well known to individuals. The vast amounts of information gleaned from Attachment Theory can transform the way individuals function in relationships for the better and can, therefore, have a hugely positive impact on their lives.

Attachment theory focuses on how establishing a secure and healthy emotional bond between an adult and a child can set that child up to become:

  • Secure-autonomous adults
  • Comfortable with emotions, intimacy, inter-dependency
  • Tolerant to relational frustration
  • Trusting that relationships are generally safe and people are generally helpful
  • Optimistic about relationships lasting and being satisfying

Establishing a secure and healthy bond between an adult and child can be a very simple task, however, there are many things that can prevent a secure attachment. Barriers to attachment can be:

  • Trauma, adverse experiences, and toxic stress
  • Previous poor attachment experiences
  • Temperament
  • Sensory processing difficulties
  • Neurological disorders, such as ADHD and ASD
  • Special education needs

Due to some of these barriers, many children are not developing secure attachments and this can have a wide-ranging impact on their adult lives. Attachment difficulties in children and adults have been found to be correlated to:

  • Emotional and biological dysregulation
  • Mental health issues
  • Vulnerability to PTSD
  • Poor sense of self
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Process addictions
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Poor view of the world

IMG_0387Access to information on Attachment Theory is, therefore, vital to the optimal development of individuals. Not only can Attachment Theory prevent the development of mental health and relational difficulties, but it can also repair the damage that may have already been done. Unfortunately, accurate and evidence-based information on attachment is largely inaccessible to everyday individuals. Or if it is accessible it may be full or jargon and difficult to understand. On the other hand, there is a wealth of information that is readily available to individuals but this information may be inaccurate and fall in the “pop psychology” realm.

At Attachment Foundation, we are driven to provide accurate, evidence-based information on Attachment Theory and Attachment-based practices in an easily understandable and accessible way. We would like to leverage technology to broaden the reach of those we can impact and be seen as a trusted source of information to both professionals and everyday individuals. We would like to become thought leaders in the space of Attachment Theory in South Africa and into Africa through educating and empowering individuals online and in person. We will be offering regular free information online and then paid online and in-person workshops and conferences. We are also focused on bringing together multidisciplinary professionals to connect and communicate about Attachment Theory, both nationally and internationally. We have a heart for community outreach and will be offering our services to communities in need.


Allow us to introduce ourselves

Alison Lees About us February 11, 2017

Welcome to the first blog post for Attachment Foundation. We are so excited to see our organisation take its first step into the blogosphere!

 At Attachment Foundation we believe that relationships are paramount. There is a beautiful saying in isiZulu which goes

“Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu”

Translated this means a person is a person because of people. This saying resonates with us because although we are all individuals, we exist in relation to others. Relationships are something that we will be sharing a lot of information on and in the process we trust that you will develop a deep understanding on how to connect to others in a healthy way. Before we do so, we feel it is important for us to develop a relationship with you. So allow us at Attachment Foundation to introduce ourselves.

I’m Alison Lees (on the right) and this is my colleague, Marietjie Strydom (on the left). We both IMG_9707currently live in Durban with our husbands and children and have worked closely together for a number of years. Marietjie is a Social Worker in private practice and has a masters degree in Play Therapy. She lived and worked in England for a number of years where she was exposed to specialised training, and gained great experience in, the field of trauma and attachment. Prior to obtaining my Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology and gaining my professional qualification as a psychologist, I worked in the adult education industry as an Education, Training and Development Practitioner. Empowering individuals through education is something that I am passionate about. Both Marietjie and I are passionate about Attachment Theory and Therapy and this, together with our past experience and love for our country, inspired us to launch an organisation that promotes attachment-based practices in South Africa and Africa.

We founded Attachment Foundation because we know that attachment-based practices can change lives for the better.
Image depicting AF middle ground (1)There is a wealth of research and academic literature on attachment however the everyday person might not have access to this life-changing information. Or if they are able to access the information it might be full of complex language  and neurological or psychological jargon. On the other hand there is plenty of accessible information on attachment-related matters however this information is very often not based on evidence and can be misleading. Pop psychology websites offering information on movements such as “attachment parenting” might, for example, suggest that unless you are co-sleeping with your child and exclusively breastfeeding you aren’t doing a good job as a parent. We would like to offer individuals an informed and safe middle ground. 

Through Attachment Foundation, we hope to provide you with current, understandable information and training on evidence-based attachment theory and practices. If you are raising children, working with children, interested in relationships, or are keen to learn more about yourself, learning about attachment theory is essential. We invite you to join us on a journey of discovery, transformation, security, and growth. Explore our website, subscribe to our blog, and follow us on Facebook. We look forward to connecting with you!

If you’re interested in learning about Attachment Theory stay tuned for our next post: Attachment 101.