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Providing an atmosphere of extraordinary safety to promote secure attachment

28 September 2017

Case study on Lefika la Phodiso - the Art therapy Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa... Dr Hayley Berman at the 2017 Attachment & the Arts conference



Hayley will describe the project of Lefika la Phodiso - the Art therapy Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, ( as a case study of providing an atmosphere of extraordinary safety to promote secure attachment.

Lefika train’s Community workers as ‘Community Art Counsellors’, a new profession lodged with Health Profession Council of South Africa to address the mental health deficit within a traumatised society. It is based in the inner city and provides a therapeutic resource for children and adults who self refer.


Dr Hayley Berman will present at the Attachment & the Arts conference on 6th October 2017


Dr HAYLEY BERMAN is an art psychotherapist, artist and social entrepreneur and currently is Programme Leader for the MA in Art Therapy at Hertfordshire University. Her longstanding research interest seeks to inform and develop methodologies that assist in creating long -term psychosocial change. Her thinking is informed by psychoanalytic theory as applied to practice. Hayley’s writing, image making and practice reflect an embodied manifestation of her approach. Essential aspects of her work include the facilitation and replication of safe spaces; the presence of an ethical empathic other; art materials within a holding space – all within an applied psychoanalytic frame. This work takes place in private practice with individuals - curious about their internal worlds - and in large groups as a process of creatively deepening internal and social group dynamics. This group work has been implemented within research, training, organizational, governmental and NPO contexts.

Methodologies include social dreaming matrices and role analysis sets utilizing analytic group art psychotherapy. Hayley started a Non- Profit Organisation: Lefika La Phodiso in Johannesburg ( She remains an active Board member and is exploring collaborative opportunities with UH. It continues to address the deficit in mental health services and the extraordinarily high levels of trauma due to the complexity of colonialism, apartheid, implicit hierarchical social and economic privilege, poverty, unemployment and violent crime. She is a member of the South African Psychoanalytic Confederation and the Institute of Psychoanalytic Child Psychotherapy. Her work has been applied in informal NPO’s and charities, within Government structures, schools and community centers. She has trained over 200 students as Community Art Counsellors.


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You can also follow the conference live on 6th October 2017 on Twitter using #AttachmentArts