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Unread May 21st, 2005, 02:03 PM
April Steele April Steele is offline
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Nanaimo, BC
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Default Imaginal Nurturing

This is in response to some old postings I just came across on the EMDR forum while surfing the net, and so I am responding here. Carol Ann Rowland had heard that Imaginal Nurturing (I-N) is “very soothing” but asked “if it might also be destabilizing for some, if they have a lot of fears around nurturing and feeling ‘need’.”

Sandra Paulsen responded “You nailed that one. Imaginal Nurturing is a procedure that will run afoul of many people's intrapsychic structure, because it will tangle with introjected perpetrators of highly dissociative clients, in many cases.”

Having spent the past five years deepening and fine-tuning the Developing a Secure Self approach (of which I-N is one component), I would like to respond. This is a way of working that I developed to complement EMDR trauma work to address the attachment aspect of clients’ experience. I have trained hundreds of clinicians in Imaginal Nurturing and have not heard of a single case of a client being destabilized by it. This is in spite of the fact that often people complete training workshops and use the approach improperly. On the contrary, clinicians have reported that it is valuable in stabilizing their fragile clients. I now have a book on this method which is included with the workshop to provide greater understanding and be a reference resource. (It can also be purchased separately.) In fact, far from “running afoul of people’s intrapsychic structure”, it helps to strengthen the structure in clients in whom it is inadequate and to soften the defences and strengthen the underlying fragile structure in clients who are highly defended. Sandra’s comment that it “relies upon adult ego strength to fill the gaps” reflects a basic misunderstanding of the process, as it is the therapeutic relationship (an attachment relationship) that is drawn upon to foster the developing ego strength of the client.

Carol Ann’s concern was around fears that a client might have about nurturing and feeling need. This is precisely what I-N can address. So often in the past such clients were assessed as being not ready for inner child work, when in fact this is what they could greatly benefit from *if* the therapist knows how to work with these fears and moves forward in as small steps as needed. Referring again to Sandra’s comment, I would say that the majority of clients are not highly dissociative, most of those who are can benefit a great deal from this approach, and if introjected perpetrators of highly dissociative clients intrude, ego state work is incorporated into the therapy at that point. Using the Developing a Secure Self approach does not mean dropping other approaches, but is rather a systematic way in which to weave experiences of nurturing and connectedness into the therapy to help the client develop a new relationship with self.

Last edited by Sandra Paulsen; August 1st, 2005 at 12:01 AM. Reason: Phrase deleted. Advertising not permitted.
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