The ‘Developing a Secure Self’ Therapeutic Toolkit


The “Developing a Secure Self” Therapeutic Toolkit consists of the 165-page book and all four Imaginal Nurturing CDs at a savings of $28. The CDs provide you with an opportunity to expand the learning from the book to experience Imaginal Nurturing guided imagery yourself. They were developed for clients to use between sessions. I also find that many therapists find them restoring and healing to use themselves.

If you would prefer to have the toolkit with the CDs in MP3 format, please state this on the checkout form in the “Order Notes” window.

For those outside North America, please contact me for practicable shipping options.



Developing a Secure Self Book and 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 handbook or toolkit, a laminated “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.

Imaginal Nurturing CDs

The guided imagery in these CDs connects you with your inner child, a younger part of your self, to facilitate experiences of nurturance, empowerment, and connectedness… to facilitate a new relationship with yourself. Because of the gender-specific nature of our language, there are separate recordings for women and men. They are substantially the same in other respects. Because they induce a state of relaxation and inward focus, these recordings should not be used while driving.

“I have just had an incredibly moving, profound experience. The tears in my eyes are tears of peace, of hope and joy. What an incredible guided imagery you have created. It is absolutely beautiful. Your voice is so gentle, so loving, so nurturing. You have the voice of our Earth Mother.” ~ a 68 year-old male ‘participant’

Páll Einarsson, a psychotherapist in Iceland wrote: “After having listened to the CD about 5 times, I started to feel a connection to my own heart in a way that was very healing for me. I find the CD to be a very good tool to work with early attachment failure and to go along with other psychotherapy methods. Highly recommend it to clinicians and clients alike.”


“I’m So Glad You’re Here!” ~ Imaginal Nurturing for Women
“I’m So Glad You’re Here!” ~ Imaginal Nurturing for Men
Adventuring Spirit ~ Imaginal Nurturing for Women
Adventuring Spirit ~ Imaginal Nurturing for Men

“I’m So Glad You’re Here!”

With these guided imageries, you have the opportunity for experiences of gentle nurturing and connectedness. With my voice leading you, you are able to meet yourself afresh as the infant who came into this world whole and gifted. The infant here is a representation of the core of who you really are. This recording is not about healing the wounded child but rather developing a new relationship with yourself in the present.

There are two imageries provided. In “Getting to Know You”, you are invited through your imagination to hold this infant and to spend time becoming acquainted with each other. “Taking it in” gives you the opportunity to provide nourishment for the baby. In both cases, you have the experience of the infant being held and nurtured as well as that of the nurturing adult. These scripts are interwoven with the beautiful, clear singing voice of Jen Turner. These recordings are especially valuable for self-soothing between sessions for clients who are fragile. They have also been found to be helpful at bedtime for those with insomnia. There is no bilateral stimulation in the “I’m so glad you’re here!” recordings.

The following samples are from MP3 sound files of “I’m So Glad You’re Here!” ~ Imaginal Nurturing for Women.

Click the PLAY BUTTON below to hear a sample of the music
from I’m So Glad You’re Here!

Click the PLAY BUTTON below to hear a sample of the script

From”I’m So Glad You’re Here!”

“I’m so glad you’re here!”

Written and spoken by April Steele
1. Getting to know you (21:52)
2. Taking it in (20:55)

Vocals and guitar: Jen Turner
Listen to my Heart Song (Paramahansa Yogamanda)
Cradling (Jen Turner)
Return Again (Shlomo Carlebach)
Child of the Universe (Anon.)
Honouring (Janey Walters)
I Don’t Have To (Jen Turner)

Producer and Engineer: Jerry Paquette, Raincoast Studio

Adventuring Spirit

These guided imageries take Imaginal Nurturing to the next level by guiding you from the secure base through experiences of exploration and back. In the first imagery, you are invited into the lovely room of a toddler. The secure base is established as you rock with the child, and then observe as the little one is drawn over to the toy shelves across the room. Upon returning and re-connecting, this is repeated with you experiencing it from the child perspective. The second adventure is a trip to the park for you and a three or four year-old. These imageries are rich with sensory experiences that foster curiosity and pleasure away from the secure base as well as feelings of loving security. They were originally created for use to address anxiety and to help empower individuals in asserting themselves. They have also been found to be valuable to help parents understand how their young children experience the world. The Adventuring Spirit recordings incorporate periodic slow, soft, and brief bilateral stimulation.

This series of professionally recorded CDs was developed in response to requests from clients. The imaginal experiences facilitated promote a new relationship with yourself – compassion, caring, respect, and playfulness. For therapists using Imaginal Nurturing as a component of their work, the use of these recordings between sessions allows the client to move forward that much more quickly and solidly in their therapy. In keeping with the principles of Imaginal Nurturing, the participant is guided through the perspectives of both the adult and child, to gain a felt body experience of both nurturing and being nurtured and a sense of connectedness from both perspectives.

The CDs may be used over and over, each time providing a different experience, each time consolidating the new relationship with self. Often people will use the CD daily for a week or two and then set it aside, returning to it some time later. I encourage therapists who are using Imaginal Nurturing without having taken the Developing a Secure Self training to try at least one of these CDs so that you have the opportunity to experience this process yourself.

The following samples are from MP3 sound files of Adventuring Spirit ~ Imaginal Nurturing for Men.

Click the PLAY BUTTON below to hear a sample of Track One
From Adventuring Spirit

Adventuring Spirit

Written and spoken by April Steele
1. “Look at you go!” (22:31)
2. Enjoying the richness (24:52)

Piano and keyboard: Judy Rietveld
Producer and Engineer: Jerry Paquette, Raincoast Studio


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

Additional information

Weight 0.83 kg
Dimensions 39 × 29 × 3 cm