Developing a Secure Self Training

This online Developing a Secure Self training is a continuing education program for psychotherapists working with adults.

Imaginal Nurturing, Ego States, and Attachment:
An Integrated Approach to Early Deficits

This Developing a Secure Self training presents an ego-state approach that provides an attachment context for EMDR, but can also complement other types of therapy. As an infant and/or child, the client may have missed out on the attuned and loving presence and responsiveness from care-givers needed for healthy development. These deficits may lead to problems such as low self-esteem and confidence, depression, anxiety, and shame, and if there is a history of trauma, to complex PTSD and dissociative disorders. With Imaginal Nurturing, the client has the opportunity to develop a new relationship with themselves over time, through the externalization of younger parts of self.

This approach is based on an ego-state conceptualization of the client and the therapy, but is focused on addressing deficits unlike most other ego-state approaches which tend to be trauma or pathology based. It’s not a protocol or intervention, but rather a means of grounding younger parts in the present, and capitalizing on opportunities to interweave experiences of connectedness and nurturance into and through the therapeutic process in the context of a secure or becoming-secure therapeutic relationship.

Imaginal Nurturing is a natural complement to EMDR work and leads to more gentle and easier trauma processing, as well as being valuable in and of itself.

In the training, you will have the opportunity to view segments of a number of sessions with a client who generously allowed some of her therapy to be videotaped to foster the learning of other therapists in this approach. Many other clinical examples are given throughout the training. There are also two experiential segments so you have some personal experience of what you will be asking clients to do. A 50+ page manual is included with this training.

April Steele and her dogs

Mother and Child

About the Training


The distance training is in digital format and consists of:

  • links to the video of each chapter of the training
  • a pdf file of the manual and clinical sheets
  • mp3 files providing an experiential segment
  • the CEU test and course evaluation will be emailed to you.

Continuing Education Hours

The program is approved by EMDRIA (approval #2001-DL18 ) for 13 hours for those who have completed an EMDRIA-approved basic training in EMDR.

In order to receive a certificate of completion for this program, you must have purchased the program and completed the test with a grade of at least 75%.

Training Program Contents

The program is divided into video chapters ranging from 20 to 48 minutes. This will allow you to easily make use of the program in convenient blocks of time. You will be provided with a link to each chapter plus mp3 files for the experiential component.

The accompanying 53-page manual, in pdf format, includes the Nurturing and Encouraging Messages sheet and the Therapy Lifeline which may be copied for clinical use.

Chapter 1: Introduction (26 min.)
Chapter 2.: Early Research and Attachment Classification (28 min.)
Chapter 3: Attachment and Self Structure (26 min.)
Chapter 4: The Therapeutic Relationship as an Attachment Relationship (33 min.)
Chapter 5: Therapy and the Child (31 min.)
Chapter 6: Imaginal Nurturing Introduction (28 min.)
Chapter 7: More Principles of Imaginal Nurturing (31 min.)
Chapter 8: Still More Principles of Imaginal Nurturing (21 min.)

Experiential Component (mp3 files)

Track 1: Suggestions
Track 2: (Women) Experiencing Imaginal Nurturing with the Child
Track 3: (Men) Experiencing Imaginal Nurturing with the Child

Chapter 9: Basic Imaginal Nurturing 1 (29 min.)
Chapter 10: Basic Imaginal Nurturing 2 (36 min.)
Chapter 11: The Retrieval, Traumatic Memories as Movies, and Straight Talking (48 min.)
Chapter 12: Introduction to Newborn Imaginal Nurturing (40 min.)

Experiential Component (mp3 files)

Track 4 (Women) Experiencing Imaginal Nurturing with the Infant
Track 5 (Men) Experiencing Imaginal Nurturing with the Infant

Chapter 13: Newborn Imaginal Nurturing Example (28 min.)
Chapter 14: Infants and Attachment Imagery (31 min.)
Chapter 15: Attachment Processing (20 min.)
Chapter 16: Exploration Imagery (39 min.)
Chapter 17: The Relationship to EMDR – Phase 1 (38 min.)
Chapter 18: The Relationship to EMDR – Phases 2-8 (25 min.)

Responses from Therapists to this Distance Training

April Steele’s training has been absolutely invaluable in my work with my clients. There have been several clients who may not have bee able to resolve their trauma so quickly and flawlessly had it not been for her training. EMDR, as we all know is robust, wonderful and as some clients describe it “like magic.” April’s approach works alongside EMDR for amazing outcomes. The attachment perspective has been key along recognizing and filling in the deficits.

April Minjarez

PhD, EMDRIA Approved Consultant

Thank you for the wonderful training. I’ve been using I-N for the past week and a half, and have had incredible results. My clients are reporting feeling profoundly touched and changed by the experience. In a couple of cases, some things have happened that can only be described as miraculous. Thanks for putting this training together so that those of us who live far from you can bring the help and relief to our clients.

This presentation has been the most enlightening training I have ever taken. It has given me a lens to see my clients from an attachment approach and a method to attend to these needs of the younger parts of my adult clients in all stages of therapy, including trauma processing. I truly appreciated understanding characteristics of my own attachment style in relation to the client’s and how this can be used as a guidepost for establishing more secure therapeutic relationships. Gradually incorporating these new understandings has already greatly enriched my practice. The manual also, is in itself an excellent reference guide that I will keep handy in my office. I highly recommend this training. Thank you, April!

Karole Holtkamp


Responses from Therapists to the earlier In-person Training

An amazing workshop in every respect! April’s work, to me, represents a very skilled approach to ego state therapy…. As a clinician/psychologist practising for almost 20 years, I can count on one hand the workshops that have changed my practice. April’s is now one of them.

Hilary Searles


I enjoyed your workshop and have recommended it to many people. The materials and the concepts were fabulous. You seem like a master clinician as well…. Thanks again for the great workshop. (Just to put this in perspective, I have never written a thank you after a workshop and I have been doing them for 30 years.

Carol Lindquist


Thank you for your independence of thought, your creative vision, focused on the client’s needs. The presentation reflected discernment, intelligence, and integrity, plus a grounded self-awareness as a basis for safety in the therapeutic environment….The material, and the affirmation of the total client, as well as resourcing the therapist with tools which impact the self-awareness of the client with empowerment and love, well, as you know, this is few and far between….” and six months later “I have been consistently pleased by the sustainability, the endurance, of the outcomes….”

Paul Albert


You have made an incredible contribution to our field. Thank you!

Sherri Gonzales


Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this program.

Training questions

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