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Unread August 12th, 2004, 07:35 PM
Carol Ann Rowland Carol Ann Rowland is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Ontario
Posts: 31
Question Imaginal Nurturing

Does anyone here have experience with Imaginal Nurturing?

I am wondering how people find it. I have heard it is very soothing even for those clients who are very traumatized and/or dissociative but I wonder a little if it might also be destabilizing for some, if they have a lot of fears around nurturing and feeling "need".

Anyone have experience with this?

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Unread August 13th, 2004, 12:51 AM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Location: Bainbridge Island WA
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Default Re: Imaginal Nurturing

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.

Imaginal Nurturing, coined by April Steele, is a means to have the adult self provide the nurturing to the inner child that was missing in the client's development. It relies upon adult ego strength to fill the gaps.

I like it, but I like better the original method offered by Landry Wildwind in the early 90's with EMDR, which involved remediating those internalized representations of parents, or introjects, so the child gets what they were always waiting for, Mom's (or Dad's) love. Of course, this internal exercise doesn't change the external parents in any way, who may even be in the grave. However, the brain doesn't mind this detail much, and soaks up with great affective intensity the longed for provision of love and respect and mirroring.

In no circumstance should either procedure be attempted for the highly dissociative without the practitioner being trained to treat the highly dissociative.

I get quite cranky when good methods like Imaginal Nurturing or other resource building procedures are exported to the highly dissociative without regard for how destabilizing this can be.
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Unread August 13th, 2004, 11:12 AM
Carol Ann Rowland Carol Ann Rowland is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Ontario
Posts: 31
Default Re: Imaginal Nurturing

Yes...I wondered a little.

I can't comment on Imaginal Nurturing - the things I have heard about it are quite good. I am going to try it myself as a client and see how I find it (I have some pretty impressive introjects to contend with myself ), and if it feels ok I am going to consider training in it. However, I did buy the DNMS manual (though I did not take the training workshop) because it was touted as being non-destabilizing even with severely dissociative clients.

I was skeptical, but did try the technique a few times with clients who were somewhat dissociative but I do not believe to be DID. I am quite experienced and comfortable with highly dissociative clients, and also very experienced with EMDR...yet remain leary of using EMDR with DID clients because of the potential risks involved - I tend to use energy work which carries less risk of destabilization, generally speaking. I know that EMDR can be used with good results with extremely dissociative clients but I don't feel comfortable using it myself, especially given that I have other modalities that I use with good results.

The experience that I did have with DNMS is that it could be quite destabilizing - and that was with only installing the resources rather than processing trauma. I did work with introjects who appeared during the installation, and certainly clients gave good feedback about their experiences in sessions. They reported feeling wonderful and all would seem well. However, they tended to sometimes have bad backlash reactions afterwards and some became afraid to try EMDR again.

Some of the same clients I went on to use the traditional EMDR protocol with, and they did just fine with that. Go figure!

I do find it is useful to interweave nurturing imagery into the standard EMDR protocol, and have never noted that as being destabilizing. It feels like a back and forth dance, allowing a little of nurturance in at a time, so that the level of tolerance for/acceptance of nurturance is gradually increased...kind of like the attachment dance generally for those with attachment issues
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Unread August 13th, 2004, 02:03 PM
littlethree littlethree is offline
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Location: Spokane, Washington
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Smile Re: Imaginal Nurturing

I just thought I'd add my comments on "Imaginal Nurturing". I'm not a therapist, just someone with experience, so take my words with whatever weight you see fit.

My therapist and I have worked together with EMDR for several months now. The "Imaginal Nurturing" in my case seemed to develop "organically" or instinctively. Early on, we were working on my inability to cry, and particularly the event that "froze" me. And that part of me was a younger part (16-year old) who needed some "adult protection" and "permission" and "loving encouragement" to get the emotions flowing. So the "ideal adult" and "16-year-old" started to get to know each other. And in a particularly stressing stimulation shortly after, a "5-year-old" me came into the picture. The 5-year-old was outside in the warm sun, alone, free, and innocent, drawing with chalk and playing. But he still needed others and was not afraid to need them. The adult and 16-year-old eventually "showed up" on scene. The 16-year-old very "stand-offish" and angry and distant in that initial meeting with the 5-year-old and he removed himself to sit far far away (and 5-year-old felt concern for him being so far away). In that initial meeting, the adult gave the 5-year-old room to be free, but was always close enough to let the kiddo know there was someone there protecting, permitting and encouraging.

These three (the 5-year-old, 16-year-old, and "ideal adult") have become sort of standard in my EMDR now. The "ideal adult" continues to protect, permit and encourage the younger ones. The 16-year-old has also been evolving in his relationship between the "innocent 5-year-old" and "ideal adult", dabbling at some of those "ideal" traits...with the encouragement of his adult. 16-year-old had been building concern and maybe even love for the 5-year-old--constrasted with the initial despisement of 5-year-old.

The part that takes effort is continually reminding myself that these three "people" are just one "me"...though the "ideal adult" takes much of that responsibility.

The most meaningful thing which has developed so far from this so called "imaginal nurturing" is that 16-year-old has found enough concern for 5-year-old (and, as I said, perhaps "love") that 16-year-old genuinely wants to help 5-year-old (make a safe place for him and find him). The 16-year-old isn't really consicous of the connection between himself and 5-year-old. The "ideal adult" says that by finding and helping 5-year-old, the 16-year-old is finding and helping and loving himself. The 16-year-old really does not believe "ideal adult's" words, but adult says, "That's okay, you don't have to believe it. It is enough for you to just move toward helping 5-year-old." The adult sees it as a "backdoor" to getting the 16-year-old to care for himself.

Much of my existence is influenced by a shy, unconfident, fearful 16-year-old and has been for over a decade. Sometimes, I wonder if it is a good approach to have these "three individuals", wonder if I'm disconnected from it too much (and I wonder if more "versions of me" will show up). However, it does seem the "ideal adult" is taking care of keeping it all connected. Also, part of this "breaking" my self into pieces is helping to show that the "uncared for self" is not the "whole-self", but just a part...and that I can be "salvaged". Plus a lot of other stuff that says this "nurturing" (both the adult of 16-year-old and 5-year-old and 16-year-old of 5-year-old) is helping in other ways for other issues (mainly related to not getting enough of the "good nurturing" and too much of the "wrong kind of nurtuing" growing up).

I'm not sure if this is what is "imaginal nurturing", but I just thought I'd add my experience with what I think are good effects of what I think may be "imaginal nurturing".
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Unread August 14th, 2004, 06:01 PM
client client is offline
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1
Smile Re: Imaginal Nurturing

I read your posting with interest and certainly agree with you. I have been doing EMDR with egostate work for the past 3 years with excellent success. Through this my psychologist also did actual Imaginal Nurturing and provided me with a tape by April Steel to use on my own. My experience wasvery rewarding and the healing I have expereince as a result was excellent. I had very little nuturing as a child and had a deep long and need for it as an adult and was able to achieve this throught the imaginal nurturing. I would recommend the experience. I am not DID but my psychologist is expereince working wiht this disorder and does screen for it.

This nuturing was a vital part adn a turing part in my healing journey.
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Unread August 17th, 2004, 09:28 PM
Carol Ann Rowland Carol Ann Rowland is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Ontario
Posts: 31
Default Re: Imaginal Nurturing

I agree completely that nurturing (imaginal and otherwise ) is a very important part of healing and can produce wonderful results.

I especially like this comment:

>>Also, part of this "breaking" my self into pieces is helping to show that the "uncared for self" is not the "whole-self", but just a part...and that I can be "salvaged". <<


The thing is even the idea of potentially receiving nurturing can be very destabilizing for some and at times may need to be approached in bits and pieces. I think Imaginal Nurturing as taught by April Steele does allow for this gradual approach as needed, but I don't know a lot about it yet.

Thanks for your feedback.
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