Developing a Secure Self Book and Therapeutic Toolkit

Developing a Secure Self: An Attachment-Based Approach to Adult Psychotherapy presents an approach that evolved out of my search to find a focused way in which to directly address the needs of my clients that are rooted in early insecure attachment relationships. Please go to the “Developing a Secure Self” page for more information about this method and for responses from therapists using it.


The 165 pages of this book include principles, dozens of clinical examples, sample Imaginal Nurturing scripts and organizational tools. It is in a convenient spiral-bound format. When you order the book or toolkit, a “Talk to the Child” bookmark with reminders of the Imaginal Nurturing guided imagery process will be tucked inside. This may help you begin to be comfortable working with Imaginal Nurturing and make the shift to using this approach responsively and spontaneously. There is also a laminated balanced affect scale and VoC scale for the ease of your clients.


About the Author iii

Preface iii

List of Tables vi

List of Figures vi

Abbreviations vii

Introduction 1
Background 1
Developing a Secure Self Components 5
Imaginal Nurturing Concepts 6

Attachment, Exploration, and Intersubjectivity 11
Concepts 11
Attachment Research 13
Clinical Indicators of Insecure Attachment 18
Continuum of Organized Attachment 21
Attachment and the Therapeutic Relationship 24

Organizational Tools 35
Attachment-Focused History 36
Therapy Lifeline 40
Client Sheet 42
Nurturing Messages Sheet 44
Balanced Affect Scale and Validity of Cognition Scale 46

Imaginal Nurturing 49
The concept 49
Who’s who in Imaginal Nurturing 49
Principles of Imaginal Nurturing 53
Language 66

Imaginal Nurturing in Practice 67
Memory-Based Imaginal Nurturing 67
Inspiration-Based Imaginal Nurturing 81
Abbreviated Inspiration-Based Imaginal Nurturing 90
Exploration Imagery 92
Incorporating I-N and DSS into therapy 97

Problems That May Arise in Imaginal Nurturing 101

Emotional Skills 111
Enhancing Skills Through Working With Structure 111
The Imaginal Home 114
Emotional Skills Techniques 117

In Conclusion 129

Bibliography 131

Appendix: Sample Scripts 135

Appendix B: Clinical Forms
Attachment-Focused History
Nurturing and Encouraging Messages Sheet
Therapy Lifeline
Client Sheet

Laminated Balanced Affect Scale

Laminated Bookmark

The Therapeutic Toolkit

The Developing a Secure Self Therapeutic Toolkit consists of the book as described above and all four Imaginal Nurturing CDs: “I’m so glad you’re here!” and Adventuring Spirit (each for men and for women respectively). It provides you with an opportunity to expand the learning from the book to experience Imaginal Nurturing guided imagery yourself. The CDs were developed for clients to use between sessions and can be loaned, given, or sold to them. I also find that many therapists find them restoring and healing to use themselves. Information about the CDs and audio clips are available on the CD page of this site.

Response from purchaser

“I’ve been studying and using the DSS materials you sent last month, and my clients are simply loving the I-N work. It fits in perfectly with my theoretical base of the attachment relationship between client and therapist….. Anyway all this to just say this is terrific, deep sophisticated work and the clarity of your presentation in written form is truly amazing. I’ve been a therapist now for 24 years, and this discovery has been nearly as fruitful as learning EMDR. That says a great deal about the power of your creation, April.” ~ Mary Kay Neumann, LCSW

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