I – Imagery

Why consider imagery?

Imagery is a powerful practice for reducing the often paralyzing effects of trauma, including anxiety, sleeplessness, nightmares, abrupt mood swings, hypervigilance, and intrusive flashbacks. Both self created imagery and guided imagery have been found to promote overall wellness for individuals moving through various types of challenges, including addiction, cancer treatments, cardiovascular issues, depression, fatigue, grief, hospice care, migraines, post traumatic stress disorder, rehabilitation, and surgery.

How does imagery promote healing?

• By reducing anxiety and depression
• By restoring a sense of mastery and control
• By rebalancing the nervous system
• By assisting in the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep


Somatic Experiencing (SE)

SE is a short-term naturalistic approach to the resolution and healing of trauma. Developed by psychologist Dr. Peter Levine, SE employs awareness of the body’s sensations to help clients “negotiate” and heal rather than re-live or re-enact trauma. An SE practitioner may use soft touch at various body points in order to allow the client’s highly aroused survival energies to be safely experienced and gradually discharged.

Guided Imagery

“Guided Imagery is a form of deliberate, directed daydreaming- a purposeful use of the imagination, using words and phrases designed to evoke rich, multi sensory fantasy and memory, in order to create a deeply immersive, receptive mind state that is ideal for catalyzing desired changes in mind, body, psyche and spirit” (Belleruth Naparstek, 2004)

Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR, developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro, has been used as an effective and non invasive form of trauma treatment for decades. Through a series of bilateral movements with the eyes, EMDR enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the common with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


Resources

Organizations

  • Health Journeys – Education, products, and guided imagery CDs, sample clips, and large audio library.
  • Sounds True – Various guided imagery CDs, books, and interactive audio learning kits.
  • Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute – Dedicated to resolving trauma worldwide by providing state-of-the-art professional training and public education in somatic experiencing (SE).

How can you integrate imagery into your healing journey?