Guided Imagery: Mind-Body Healing to Lower Pain

Guided Imagery, also known as Imagery, Therapeutic Imagery, or Creative Visualization can bridge the communication between the mind, the body, and the spirit.

Jeanne Achterberg, PhD, a pioneer of Imagery, says that it is “the thought process that invokes the senses: vision, audition, smell, taste, the sense of movement, position, and touch. It is the communication mechanism between perception, emotion, and bodily change. A major cause of both health and sickness, the image is the world’s greatest healing resource. Imagery, or the stuff of the imagination, affects the body intimately on both seemingly mundane and profound levels.”

Guided Imagery can assist to heal physical, emotional, mental and spiritual disharmony. Guided imagery allows access to the subconscious that is underneath all of our actions, drives, dreams, and physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual limitations and freedoms. It can create insight, understanding, and positive outcomes for health and healing.

It occurs in a relaxed, meditative state. The person is guided to allow an image to come forward that represents the pain, the problem or the solution. The person is guided to observe or interact with the image to understand what it is trying to convey, what it might communicate, or what it needs for healing. It can assist a person to understand what are next steps to help with healing, or the very process of Imagery might be healing enough. Often, while simply addressing the issue in a relaxed state emotions are released and insights gained that can provide a majority of the healing.

“Working with an Image” is the most fundamental and powerful aspect of imagery work. An image can represent the problem, the solution, illness/disease, symptom, relationship, emotion, feeling, physical sensation, or pain. “The Inner Wisdom”, “Inner Healer” or connecting to “Spiritual Support” techniques are wonderful for helping a person make decisions, make sense of what is happening in life, receive guidance on how best to move forward, and feel more peaceful.

There are many other guided imagery techniques that can bring about healing and transformation such as dialoguing with body, creating inner strength and confidence, working with emotions, transforming energy, end result or ideal outcome, and mindfully learning to accept and love oneself with compassion and forgiveness.

A key component in guided imagery is that it can help a person connect to their your inner wisdom; intuition that can provide guidance in ways that are not always accessible in normal waking states. It can help get to the root of what is behind a particular challenge. This may allow for creative insights, understandings, and awareness of solutions to the most burdensome of problems. It makes the subconscious more conscious. The more conscious and aware one is, the less suffering they may experience.

Emmy Vadnais, OTR/L is a Holistic Occupational Therapist. She has been providing Guided Imagery in her healing sessions since 2003 and has been teaching it since 2006. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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