AGI History

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The Academy for Guided Imagery was founded in 1989 by David E. Bresler, PhD, LAc, a health psychologist and acupuncturist, and Martin L. Rossman, MD, a medical doctor, both of whom had been independently researching clinical applications of the mind/body connection since the late 1960s.

Having studied fields as diverse as Psychosynthesis, Jungian psychology, meditation, Oriental healing approaches, neurobiochemistry, and neurophysiology, both doctors were greatly influenced by Irving Oyle, MD, an early visionary in the emerging field of holistic medicine. Together with Dr. Oyle, they began to integrate the explosion of knowledge that was then becoming available with a focus on the power of imagery to help people with a wide range of medical, psychological, and spiritual challenges.

In 1982, Drs. Bresler and Rossman presented their initial findings at a conference sponsored by Marquette University and the University of San Francisco called The Power of Imagination. During this conference, leading clinicians and researchers introduced more than 1,400 health professionals nationwide to the practical applications of imagery work.

Frequent requests for clinical training led to the creation of Clinical Guided Imagery courses taught by Drs. Bresler and Rossman around the United States from 1982 to 1989. Advanced training courses and an innovative clinical supervision format (Preceptorships) soon emerged, and in early 1989 the Academy for Guided Imagery was created to provide thorough training to health professionals in this remarkably effective approach.

In 1995, the mission of the Academy was expanded to include teaching the public, health care educators, coaches, lay practitioners, and organizations to work with the imagery methods the Academy has refined over the years.

In 2001, it became clear that the costs of travel and lodging to attend AGI training programs prevented many interested professionals from receiving Academy training. To reduce these costs, a large portion of the curriculum was converted to a home study format, although the two Clinical Preceptorships still require students to learn and practice their imagery skills in a faculty supervised, small group setting.

In 2004, Dr. Rossman retired as an officer and director of the Academy which was relocated to Malibu, California, and has been under the leadership of Dr. David Bresler since that time.

In 2008, Dr. Bresler and his AGI team produced the first major medical meeting ever held entirely in cyberspace as a webcast on the theme of “Imagery, Suggestion, and Mind/Body Medicine“ (see Webcasts) and they are currently converting the AGI training programs into an online learning format that will permit students from all over the world to learn these vital guided imagery and mind/body skills.

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