What is Guided Imagery?
Guided imagery is simply the use of your imagination for productive purposes.
One use of your imagination is for worrying. Excessive worrying is known to be hard on the body and can sometimes produce negative physical effects such as ulcers, high blood pressure or a weakened immune system.
The good news? If you are an experienced worrier, that means you have a strong mind. You can use the power of your strong mind for good to produce very positive effects!
How does Guided Imagery work?
A guided imagery session begins with a series of directed images to help guide you to a relaxed but focused state.
If you happen to have a favorite vacation spot, for example, I might invite you to visualize that place in as much sensory detail as you can so that you recall images, sounds, smells, touch and so on based on body memories from your prior experiences there.
Recalling pleasant memories puts the body and mind in a very receptive state so that attention can be placed on the desired goal of the guided imagery session.
Guided imagery can be used for relaxation and stress reduction, which is beneficial for almost everyone.
Guided imagery can also incorporate active visualization, or directed imagery, where you would be encouraged to imagine desired outcomes while in a relaxed, open state of mind.
How can Guided Imagery help me?
Active visualization can be used for a wide variety of purposes, whether to improve sports or music performance or to help with public speaking, exercise regimes, weight loss or smoking cessation. It may also be used for many medical purposes such as preparing for a dental or medical procedure or surgery, dealing with or helping to improve different health conditions, obtaining relief from headaches and migraines or acute and chronic pain, and relief from anxiety and phobias, addictions, trauma and PTSD.
Guided imagery may be passive (like listening to a script, tape or CD) or active. When the guided imagery is active, you are directed to interact with your visualizations. For example, if you are dealing with an immune system issue, I might ask you to dialogue with your body to ask it what kind of help it needs to get better.
Basically, guided imagery is a process of helping you get in touch with your intuition and your inner healer. Although you may not think so, the person who knows what is best for you is you!
Guided imagery is very effective in stress-related disorders, but there are virtually no limits to the number of situations where it can be used, both for health and non-health related purposes. The effectiveness of guided imagery has been established by a large body of research that has demonstrated its positive impact on health, creativity and performance.