Hypnotherapy Guided Imagery

Many people mistakenly liken guided imagery to “daydreaming.” Unlike a simple musing, guided imagery exercises allow you to actually communicate with your entire body. You consciously direct thoughts and suggestions that guide your subconscious to create visual images in order to induce a calm and peaceful state. The subconscious mind creates “imagery,” helping to shape what you “see” in your imagination, much like a dream.

Using Guided Imagery Therapy

Guided imagery therapy may help you control and heal your body physically, as well as assist your healing on a psychological level. For example, if you experience heat and want to feel your body cooling down, you want to suggest to your mind “being cold,” For example, you could imagine immersing yourself in blue, icy waters. On the other hand, if you want to create heat, imagine yourself in the desert or touching a hot stove, iron or even a hot asphalt street as a child. Make sure to create these images from your own unique experiences.

Most people are capable of using guided imagery, but like other skills, it requires practice. As you follow guided imagery exercises, you’ll need more than just visualization. This relaxation skill also involves your senses, including taste, smell, hearing and touch. To sharpen your guided imagery skills, follow the basic steps of meditation.

As you meditate, however, clearly envision your dreams and goals, and make an effort to see them as a reality. When you practice guided imagery therapy, you’ll either visualize taking the steps necessary to achieve this goal, or visualize the goal as having already been achieved.

Most guided imagery exercises follow this process:

  1. Find a quiet and peaceful location. Take measures to create a calm, soothing environment.
  2. Relax by using a breathing technique, visualizing yourself descending stairs or an escalator, counting backwards from ten to one or whatever works for you.
  3. Now, try to imagine your favorite scene or outcome.
  4. Let the image become more detailed. Try to engage as many senses as possible in your imagination. For example, try to create an experience of smelling the air, feeling the wind or touching the grass.
  5. Now, visualize the steps of the process necessary to achieve your goal or visualize the goal as having already been achieved.

The Effects of Guided Imagery Exercises

Although it’s not completely understood how, scientists are discovering that the mind actually helps maintain balance by controlling the immune system. When our normal balance is disturbed, we become susceptible to disease. Guided imagery exercises help create and maintain this balance, while also reducing stress. By visualizing the problems within your body, your unconscious mind may be able to trigger your body’s natural defenses into action.

Resources

Academy for Guided Imagery. (n.d.). What is guided imagery? Retrieved September 2, 2010, from http://www.academyforguidedimagery.com/whatisguidedimagery/index.html

CreatingMinds.org. (n.d.). Guided imagery. Retrieved September 2, 2010, from http://creatingminds.org/tools/guided_imagery.htm