Here are some more thoughts about how and when to use guided imagery as part of a therapy session.
Most of these ideas are in my last book, Invisible Heroes, in Chapter 10 - General Guided Imagery Wisdom and Tactics. I threw pretty much every clinical tip I could think of into that chapter, in hopes I would have the good sense never to write another book again. (So far, so good – I’ve done chapters, articles and forwards to other people’s books, and a bunch of new guided imagery audios, but there have been no more 2-year-long book writing opuses for this traveling Grandma…)
These thoughts address some of the questions we get pretty regularly from therapists, counselors, clergy, holistic health practitioners and health care professionals who are interested in using imagery with their people:
Sometimes, if a client is uncomfortable generating or accessing his or her own images, but clearly could use an imagery experience just the same - perhaps they’re anxious or stressed out and need help settling down; or maybe they’re blocked - possibly unclear about what it is they’re feeling and can’t access it some added help… then you might offer some structure to them in the session, providing a platform that allows them to go inward and get informed about what’s happening in there.
I was molested starting at one month by my grandfather and two friends…first orally then other ways as time went on.
At age seven I was raped on vacations in the summer by my Grandfather until I got my period.
I always had memories and dreams that clued me something had happened, but then at age fifty I saw the first molestation and over the years I saw and re-experienced more and more.
Over the last forty five years I have done therapy, a few years of meds. Yoga meditation, inner child work therapy, guided meditation, de-traumatizing body work, many years of rebirthing, some EMDR, processing support group, and just talking with friends..
These past years I have returned to meditation and Yoga and faith for stabilization.
A concerned friend asks about what to give a friend who was traumatized by a car accident that was her fault, where she injured the other driver. She is devastated and traumatized and in need of something….
I've used your pre-surgery tape when I had cancer surgery and found it wonderful. Thank you so much! A friend of mine just was in a car accident,(her fault) and the other woman got badly injured (though will recover.) My friend is very traumatized; her sister was killed in a car accident 30 years ago. What tapes would you recommend?
In this randomized clinical trial, 3 cognitive behavioral coping techniques were compared for their efficacy for relieving fibromyalgia pain and anxiety symptoms: (1) an informational patient education program, (2) a general, pleasant guided imagery program and (3) an emotional support program to let the patients talk freely and emotionally about their fibromyalgia problems.
The study tested the post intervention effects of these 3 interventions 30 minutes afterward. A total of 58 fibromyalgia patients participated, with 22 in the patient education group, 17 in the guided imagery group, and 19 in the emotional support talking group.
I just read about a new, NIH-funded study that begins this month, right here in Northeast Ohio, by a terrific agency called FrontLine, which serves the deinstitutionalized mentally ill, homeless, traumatized and suicidal people of Cleveland and surroundings. They do very hard work and they do it really well.
The study investigates the effectiveness of guided imagery, listened to for 10 minutes, 3 times a week, for 4 weeks, during part of lunch hour, for reducing anxiety, stress, burnout, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma in 126 staff people; and to see if they continue to listen to it after the study is over.
The full description is here: http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT02191345. We’re going to follow this study with great interest to see how it goes. My biggest worry is that these service staff, the minute they feel crunched (which is all the time), will just work through their lunch hour without taking the 10 minutes to listen.
Here is a wonderful post that appeared on the blog of a Registered Dietician and Wellness Coach named Chere Bork. It’s from Terry, an oncology nurse who uses guided imagery as part of her daily wellness regimen, for stress reduction and weight loss. She credits guided imagery when she answers friends and colleagues who ask how she manages to do everything she does. Check it out:
I came across guided imagery several years ago working as an oncology nurse with patients getting chemo and radiation treatments. The patients were provided with guided imagery CD’s. I started to listen to see what we were giving them. I found it so helpful to myself, that I bought a stress reduction CD. I have listened to this for years. More recently, I am using a weight loss CD.
We got this email from a woman who described her experiences with guided imagery for pregnancy and delivery, under a wide variety of circumstances, for several pregnancies and deliveries. As you can see, this has been sitting in our files for a while – she’s talking about using cassettes!
When I was pregnant with my first child, I used your pregnancy and labor cassettes throughout my pregnancy. I had the labor affirmations on repeat play during my whole delivery and had a wonderful, drug free, birth experience.
I got pregnant again a year after my son was born and miscarried. We were devastated. I was hesitant to listen to the tapes when I got pregnant again a few months later, as I knew there was the line about knowing when it is time to let go.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Engineering and North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Massachusetts studied whether patients leaving residential alcoholism treatment with a smartphone app to support their recovery had fewer risky drinking days than controls.
A randomized clinical trial involving 3 residential treatment programs in the Midwest and northeastern US included 349 patients who met the criteria for DSM-IV alcohol dependence when they entered residential treatment.
They were randomized to treatment as usual (n = 179) or treatment as usual plus a smartphone (n = 170) with the Addiction-Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System (A-CHESS), an application designed at the University of Wisconsin to improve continuing care for alcohol use disorders.
We’ve gotten good feedback on it, and we think it’s cleaner, easier to navigate, and way more user- and smart phone-friendly. Now we’re tweaking it, page by page, trying to make design and architecture work with maximum speed and efficiency, at that level.
So, before we get too far afield, I thought it would be a good idea to check back in with you again, now that you’ve had more time to fiddle around with it, to see what you have to say, what you want next.
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