The term “guided imagery” covers a number of techniques now used in clinical practice. Your mental images are at the very heart of both who you think you are and what you believe the world to be like. They determine what you imagine is likely to happen to you and strongly influence your beliefs and attitudes in almost every other area of your life. Although to work with these mental images is probably one of the oldest and one of the most ubiquitous forms of medicine, it is also one that is beginning to find widespread scientific acceptance.
Guided imagery or guided visualisation is widely utilised in various interventions, including those of psychotherapy and performance coaching. We do know that almost all behavioural, emotional and even physical symptoms are affected by your mind. On a physical level, research suggests that imagery has the ability to influence your automatic nervous system, as well as your endocrine and immune systems. If it can promote physiological changes of this nature, it can certainly be employed to aid and even accelerate healing.
Because guided imagery provides us with a method of accessing the powerful unconscious mind, it is able to help resolve many a personal issue you might feel to be problematic. Our work together would initially assist you to gain a greater awareness and a deeper understanding of the specific illness, problem or situation you wish to work with, and would go on to promote real healing or the necessary positive change.
Applications of guided imagery include:
On a practical level, Henry Ford taught us that if you either think you can do a thing, or think you can’t do a thing, you’re invariably right. On a physical level, we know the huge impact the placebo effect can have on the way our bodies respond to our beliefs and perceptions. For these reasons, simply being able to visualise behaving in a more appropriate way, performing better or being more healthy - either physically or emotionally, can in itself be a powerful enough tool to facilitate your desired change.
Hypnotherapists frequently employ guided visualisation techniques, with good effect, to assist clients to shift away from their unhelpful perspectives to ones that are more supportive of peak performance, good health and joyous wellbeing.
Although such treatments are frequently non-interactive, they are not always so. Inspired by the important work of a number of pioneering psychologists of the 1970s, interactive guided imagery has become an established practice. In succeeding to integrate insights and techniques from such diverse sources as Jungian psychology, Gestalt therapy and Ericksonian hypnotherapy, this relatively new way of working has evolved into a powerful therapeutic tool that can be used either on its own, or as the basis for a number of more specialised interventions such as age-regression and parts therapy or ego-state work.
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The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.