Featured Speaker
Holly van Gulden

Holly van Gulden is co-author of Real Parents, Real Children: Parenting the Adopted Child, and The Dance of Attachment. Since 1985, Holly van Gulden has been training adoptive and foster parents and professionals throughout the United States, England, Scotland and Canada. In addition, for over fifteen years, Holly has co-directed Adoptive Family Counseling Center. Holly earned her B.S. from the University of Chicago and is completing her Master’s Thesis for St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Holly is herself an adoptive parent she grew up in a multi-racial, international family comprised of six children born to the family, four adopted children and several foster brothers and sisters.

Friday March 24th, 2017 – Professionals’ Day

To Have & To Hold: Understanding Children’s Ability to Maintain Attachment
Holly van Gulden

Professionals working with adopted and foster youth and their families sometimes notice that traditional mental health and social work interventions only scratch the surface. Children who have experienced loss, neglect, abuse, or trauma, missed some building blocks that are essential to a resilient sense of self. They need providers who understand the essence of normal child development, and can help their families provide missed experiences to develop the necessary skills to navigate life. Holly van Gulden’s training can help you help the families you serve achieve a deeper, more lasting change. She will provide practical tools to help children and their parents develop healthy attachments in a way that is nothing short of revolutionary. Participants will improve their skills in teaching parents about attachment, as well as providing parents with in-the-moment interventions they can use to strengthen permanency and constancy, two cornerstones of healthy attachment. Professionals and parents can work together to build up a resilient sense of self in the child, strengthening their capacity to receive, hold and offer to others a sense of safety, comfort, warmth, value and joy.

Saturday, March 25th, 2017 – General Conference

To Have & To Hold: Understanding the Attachment Journey in Adoption and Foster Care
Holly van Gulden
Just because children are “grown” doesn’t mean we can ignore attachment, in fact it may be more important than ever. Between peer and outside the family relationships, internal conflicts and children’s need for independence (or fears thereof); focusing on how to solidify attachment so that children can eventually launch in safe and successful ways is essential to their healthy well-being. Holly will provide insight and guidance for all family members – adoptive and first/birth – about ways they can better understand the attachment needs of adoptees and foster youth. Holly will address ways adopted adults and foster alum can improve their sense of secure attachment.


  • To Have & To Hold: Continue the discussion
  • Preparing to Launch: Leaving Home Again Not for the First Time

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