Imaginal Nurturing was developed by April Steele, an advanced EMDR clinician who recognized the value of adding an attachment oriented focus to EMDR trauma work. Early deficits in adult clients with insecure–attachment patterns can be addressed directly through a therapeutic component of imaginal nurturing with EMDR. The goal of the Imaginal Nurturing process is to provide experiences of nurturing that will facilitate a greater sense of self and self-worth, and a sense of connectedness and belonging. It is to address the feelings of emptiness that so many of these clients have. The purpose of this work is to address the sense of not deserving to have a place on this earth, of not being meant to be here, and to transform the feelings of alienation, of always being an outsider, never fitting anywhere. Imaginal nurturing challenges the belief that the client is inherently defective.
Imaginal Nurturing draws on a person’s adult resources and utilizes the healing presence of their adult self to connect with, support, and meet unmet childhood needs. The result is healing of attachment deficits, integrating child parts into present time reality, and establishing an internal attachment relationship between a person’s adult self and their isolated, traumatized child parts of self.
This approach can be particularly helpful for those struggling with anxiety, depression, relationship struggles, addictive and compulsive behaviors, low self-esteem, and difficulties with emotion regulation.