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Guided Imagery

mind powerLike other body-heart-mind modalities, guided imagery really targets the whole person rather than just one center. It accesses your imagination (mind) and employs your senses (body) to help you create change in your attitudes and your emotional attachments (heart) to things that you would rather live without or, conversely, that you would like to attain. It uses the conscious mind to access and to change the subconscious mind and the supraconscious mind.

At the foundation of guided imagery is the belief that if you can imagine something in enough detail, your mind, heart, and body respond as though what you are imagining is real. Indeed, imagery is the language that the mind uses to communicate with the body and vice versa.

Although imagery has been used throughout history and by many cultures to affect psychological, physical, and spiritual change, it has been research in the last century on the role of the two hemispheres of our brains and how they both differ and complement each other that has seen guided imagery move from the world of alternative therapy and shamanic practices into the mainstream medical establishment. Western society has traditionally focused schooling and practical emphasis on the analytical, logical, sequential, and verbal left hemisphere since the Renaissance and Age of Reason. However, researchers are now realizing that the right hemisphere, with is propensity for thinking in pictures, symbols, sounds, and feelings and its ability to synthesize parts into wholes is an often silent but powerful ally in helping us to heal and grow. Guided imagery can help us access and use this repository of inner wisdom.

Guided imagery has been used effectively with all kinds of somatic, affective and cognitive issues. The medical establishment has used it with great success in helping people to manage pain, lower blood pressure, improve immune function and fight diseases such as cancer (in combination with other treatments). Psychiatrists and psychologists have used it to relieve stress and worry and to help patients find solutions to problems and addictions that seem insurmountable. Others have used guided imagery to help athletes improve performance, to help students remember information for tests, and to help writers and artists to enhance creativity.

For example, guided imagery may help reduce some of the side effects of standard cancer treatment such as nausea, vomiting, insomnia, and musculoskeletal tension and may literally improve immune response to kill the cancer cells. Likewise, athletes such as Olympic figure skaters often imagine the perfect performance in great detail before they take to the ice in the belief that rehearsing the perfect routine in their heads actually makes neural pathways that help them perform better.

Similarly, life coaches and human potential advocates like Stephen Covey, Shakti Gawain, Jacqueline Small, Wayne Dyer, and Andrew Weil have used imagery to effectively improve performance on the job, in relationships, in health and healing, and in spiritual/personal growth. According to Dr. Martin Rossman in his book, Guided Imagery for Self-Healing, "Imagery is a window on your inner world; a way of viewing your own ideas, feelings, and interpretations. But it is more than a mere window— it is a means of transformation and liberation from distortions in this realm that may unconsciously direct your life and shape your health."

A guided imagery session requires that the participant visualize a scene that is suggested by a leader or by a tape. Techniques to bring the subconscious into the conscious mind may include employing literary devices like sensory imagery, simile and metaphor, and personification. In fact, the positive effects of the session are increased by the use of symbol and by employing all the senses as well as emotion in the mental story. The more vivid and meaningful the visualization, the more likely the mind will believe it.

What Happens in a GI Session with Suzanne?

Suzanne Eller's approach to Guided Imagery is based on her use of it in the classroom to enhance creativity and connections between right and left brain hemispheres and on her training in the healing arts. She uses and eclectic approach, integrating it with modalities like SomatoEmotional Release, Theta Healing, and Touch for Health and with other services like Quiet Days, Life Coaching and Journaling workshops.

In some ways, guided imagery is a kind of directed daydream. Some "digging" may occur to find the issue that the client most wants addressed to achieve the desired outcome. Then a script will be written to reinforce and build that outcome. Digging also helps to uncover images and sensory language relevant to the client that can be used in the script to access the supraconscious and subconscious minds.

Once the script is written, the client relaxes into a comfortable position, notices and slows his/her breathing, and begins to relax even more as Suzanne begins a guided relaxation script and countdown method. Then the personalized script is read while the clients visualizes with scenario using senses and feelings.

As the script continues, the goal is to lead the listener into a profound state of relaxation, while at the same time, leading him/her through a series of experiences that are in harmony with the intended purpose of the guided meditation.

Once the scripted visualization is over, the listener is brought back to noramal waking consciousness gently and gradually. Discussing and/or journaling the experience often helps insights arise more concretely to consciousness.

For more information about Guided Imagery and how it can be used for your benefit,
call 828-315-9900 or email info@tapestryliferesources.com

Mental images, formed long before we learn to understand and use words, lie at the core of who we think we are, what we believe the world is like, what we feel we deserve, what we think will happen to us, and how motivated we are to take care of ourselves. These images strongly influence our beliefs and attitudes about how we fall ill, and what will help us to get better.
~Academy for Guided Imagery


Guided imagery is based on the concept that your body and mind are connected. Using all of your senses, your body seems to respond as though what you are imagining is real. An example often used is to imagine an orange or a lemon in great detail-the smell, the color, the texture of the peel. Continue to imagine the smell of the lemon, and then see yourself taking a bite of the lemon and feel the juice squirting into your mouth. Many people salivate when they do this. This exercise demonstrates how your body can respond to what you are imagining.
~Healthwise, Inc.

People have been using guided imagery for a long time, but now – with the functional MRI – we can see that when people imagine that they see trees, flowers and a beautiful blue sky, they actually activate the visual part of their brains. When they imagine hearing sounds, they activate the hearing part of the brain. As they go through the different senses, they turn on the different parts of the brain that normally process those senses.
~Martin L. Rossman, MD

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