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 2020 edition of this book, which was originally published in 2004, is now available. The 174 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 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 balanced affect scale and VoC scale for the ease of your clients.


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 22
Attachment and the Therapeutic Relationship 24

Organizational Tools 35
Case Conceptualization Guide 36
Attachment-Focused History 38
Nurturing and Encouraging Messages Sheet 42
Therapy Lifeline 44
Client Sheet 46
Balanced Affect Scale and Validity of Cognition Scale 48

Imaginal Nurturing 51
The concept 51
Who’s who in Imaginal Nurturing 51
Fundamentals of Imaginal Nurturing 55
Language 66

Imaginal Nurturing in Practice 73
Introducing Ego State Work 73
Memory-Based Imaginal Nurturing 73
Inspiration-Based Imaginal Nurturing 86
Variations of Inspiration-Based Imaginal Nurturing 95
Exploration Imagery 98
Incorporating I-N and DSS into therapy 104

Problems That May Arise in Imaginal Nurturing 107

Emotional Skills 117
Enhancing Skills Through Working With Structure 117
The Imaginal Home 120
Further Emotional Skills Enhancement 123

In Conclusion 137

Bibliography 131

Appendix A: Sample Scripts 143

Appendix B: Clinical Forms 163
Attachment-Focused History
Nurturing and Encouraging Messages Sheet
Therapy Lifeline
Client Sheet

Balanced Affect Scale


The Therapeutic Toolkit

The Developing a Secure Self Therapeutic Toolkit consists of the book as described above and all four Imaginal Nurturing recordings: “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 recordings were developed for clients to use between sessions and can be shared with them (without violating the copyright). I also find that many therapists find them restoring and healing to use themselves. Information about the guided imageries and audio clips are available on the Guided Imagery 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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