Can Imagery Help Me?

Since guided imagery has powerful physiological consequences and also conveys important and otherwise inaccessible information from the unconscious mind, there are virtually no limits to the number of situations where it can be used in health care settings.

For simplicity, however, it may be helpful to consider three major categories of use:

• Relaxation and stress reduction, which is easy to teach, easy to learn, and almost universally helpful to patients/clients.

• Active visualization, or directed imagery, where the patient is encouraged to imagine desired therapeutic outcomes while in a relaxed, open state of mind. This affords clients/patients a sense of participation and control in their own healing, which is of significant value by itself. In addition, visualization can be used to alleviate symptoms, stimulate healing responses in the body, modify health endangering behaviors, and provide effective motivation for making positive life changes.

• Receptive, or insight oriented imagery, where images are invited to enter conscious awareness where they are interactively explored to gather more information about a symptom, illness, mood, treatment, situation, or possible solution.

Clinical applications of guided imagery are tremendously broad, and include, but are not limited to:

• Acute and chronic pain relief
• Addictions
• Anxiety, phobias, and panic disorders
• Cancer treatment and life-threatening illness
• Couples and relationship counseling
• Depression
• Family and parenting issues
• Fertility, birthing, and delivery
• Fitness training
• Grief therapy
• Immune augmentation
• Issues of aging
• Managing chronic illness and preventing acute exacerbations
• Meaning and purpose
• Medication compliance and adherence issues
• Mind/body issues
• Post-traumatic stress disorders
• Preparation for surgery and medical procedures
• Relaxation training
• Sleep disorders
• Smoking cessation
• Spirituality
• Stress reduction and management
• Survivors of abuse and trauma
• Teaching self-care
• Terminal illness and end of life care
• Weight control

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