Guided Visualisation is a safe and powerful technique that can be used on a wide variety of issues, both physical and mental. Similar in execution to a bedtime story, it is a simple form of Meditation that everyone can do easily and effectively, making it a great self-help and personal development tool.
Guided Visualisation is the conscious use of the imagination to create positive images or healing visualisations intended to bring about healthful changes in both the mind and the body. It is employed by many holistic and alternative medicine practitioners as well as some physicians and psychologists for aiding clients and patients on the road to recovery.
Guided Imagery is not limited to physical problems or health issues and is commonly used for emotional healing and psychological issues. It can help resolve emotional wounds, low self-esteem issues and even steer and support a person towards career goals.
The image suggestions given to a client typically involve effective breathing and relaxing techniques, along with guidance, positive suggestion and conflict resolution.
Utilising elements from many other forms of therapy (behavioural psychology, CBT, EMDR, NLP, Hypnosis, Meditation and the most effective classical theories proposed by Freud, Jung and Adler), it is a natural state with no harmful side effects. It is used (in it’s most basic form) as a way to sidestep the conscious mind in order to talk to and reprogram the unconscious mind – the source of not just our problems but the solution to them too – enabling positive and permanent change on a deep unconscious level.
Historically, imagery has been used by many cultural groups, including the Navajos, ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Chinese.
Imagery has also been used in religions such as Hinduism and Judaism.
The use of hypnagogic imagery in psychotherapy was first reported in ‘Studies in Hysteria’ by Breuer and Freud (1895). Freud then went on to develop this psychoanalytic therapy on lines other than those which the first experiences with hypnagogic states would have indicated.
In 1913, the Viennese psychiatrist Frank reevaluated the spontaneous occurrence of hypnagogic visions under deep relaxation, calling his technique the Cathartic Method.
Then, in 1922, the famous German psychiatrist Kretschmer offered a new description of the phenomenon. He called these inner visions Bildstreifendenken, which means “thinking in the form of a movie”. His work illustrated how closely these images are related to the dream-work studied by Freud.
Guided Imagery was first used as part of a term defining a psychotherapy technique in 1969. Developed by German psychiatrist Hanscarl Leuner, Guided Affective Imagery involved engaging the imagination of the patient as a component of a more traditional talk therapy practice.
This formal practice was then further-developed in 1973 by Helen Bonny, who introduced music in order to aid and deepen the patient/client’s involvement. This was then developed and disseminated by her followers.
Eventually the concept became adapted into less formal and less structured use, becoming known simply as Guided Imagery.
Today the term is used to describe any form of closed-eye process in which the listener is led to use their imagination: for psychotherapy, for goal-oriented purposes such as preparing the mind for a challenging athletic event, or for intuitive or exploratory spiritual purposes. It is most often accompanied by music and sound effects, such as nature sounds.
Your mind is the most powerful tool you own and both the cause of and the solution to all of your problems. This is because when we picture something stressful or negative in our minds, our minds, unable to differentiate between what is imagined and what is real, cause our bodies respond as if the trauma were actual and happening. Just as positive imagery can lead to positive results: negative imagery can lead to negative ones, such as increased stress levels, anxiety, high blood pressure, insomnia, fatigue, a weakened immune system, etc. Likewise, if we imagine relaxing and pleasurable experiences, our body responds by loosening up, releasing chemicals that make us feel happier and more confident and capable. The key to a happy, healthy mind (therefore) is no more complex than regular housekeeping. If we make a conscious effort to clear out the unhelpful elements as they build up, swapping them for more positive and rewarding ones (a bit like swapping cobwebs for flowers), we will not only feel better, we will manifest benefits in all other areas of our lives too.
In our modern era, guided visualisation is used in many ways, from therapeutic treatment that enhances healing, for deep relaxation, for experiencing a deeper spiritual connection, for accessing the subconscious mind or for unleashing one’s full potential. Guided Visualisations are usually tailored to help you accomplish specific goals: from sporting achievements and physical healing, to personal transformation and deep relaxation…
Guided Visualisation can be used for:
- Stress Management
- Psychological and Physical Tension
- Anger Management
- Confidence and Self-Esteem
- Personal Growth
- Change Motivation
- Collapsing Behaviours
- Goal Setting
- Improved Cognition
- Life Situational Coping Skills
- Improved Quality of Life
- Physical Injury
- Blood Pressure
- Toxin Elimination
- Preparation for Surgery
- Post-Operative Pain and Recovery
- Chronic Pain
Although there is no definitive formula, Guided Visualisation is usually achieved by focusing your thoughts on your breath and drawing your attention inwards. Then, just as an adult or a teacher reads a story to a child, the words of the therapist entertain your logical mind, guiding your imagination to a place of insight, change and benefit.
Typically, a session begins with an induction process, whereby the listener is led into a deep state of relaxation and peace. Many programs include or focus upon a sequential body relaxation from feet to head, descending a staircase, or imaging through the color spectrum. Image suggestions are then given, typically involving guidance, positive suggestion and conflict resolution.
The process is very simple and requires nothing more than your willingness, trust and attention.
Guided imagery uses the power of the mind to aid in healing, engaging all of the senses in order to heal from within. It involves the focused and intentional use of active imagination to add insight and to create desired outcomes and goals.
Guided imagery has been used in many forms throughout human history. These include: religion, ritual, prayer, sports, medicine and stress reduction.
With Guided Imagery, you will learn to use the imaginative capacity of your mind to improve physical, emotional or spiritual health, enhance peace of mind or prepare for surgery or other medical procedures.
It can benefit people of all ages (children, adolescents and adults), and help with a diversity of both emotional and physical issues.
N.B: For your own safety, it is suggested that you consult an experienced practitioner before attempting to confront any serious issues on your own.
If you would like any further information about the process outlined above, please contact me with your questions.
Additionally, if you would like to enquire about booking a session with me, please fill in the short form available from the booking enquiry page and email it along with your request. I will endeavour to reply to all enquiries in person at the first opportunity available.
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