Archive for the 'Guided Imagery' Category

Dec 09 2014

A Review: Clearing the Path: Opening the Spiritual Frontier by Dr. Robert Mark

Summary: Dr. Mark gets an A+ for writing an interesting narrative of his personal and professional development. However, a diminished grade for encouraging people to dispense with their critical thinking to entertain the possibility of higher powers and alternative realities. Discouraging a belief in science is a surprising part of this book and therapists especially should not take this advice seriously, lest they begin to practice unethically.
My acknowledgement: I was involved in Dr. Mark’s men’s program and have insights about him and his work. Perhaps there is no good ending in a relationship with people or organizations. This was true for me, so any negative views I express may be colored by my ending experiences.

I was very curious about this book when I learned it had been written and recently had a chance to read it. I surprisingly enjoyed it, as an autobiographical account of the author’s development as a human being and professional therapist. In person, Dr. Mark is both impressive and charismatic.

As the depth of his book demonstrates, he’s intelligent and highly skilled as a therapist. You can tell he has an ease and comfort with traditional forms of therapy and having seen him in action, I can confirm he is an exceptional agent of change in people’s lives.

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Apr 08 2009

Evaluating Chronic and Acute Pain Interview

If you are experiencing pain, here is an evaluation form to help you begin to better understand the complex issues.

Here is the evaluation:

Pain Interview

How can we be helpful? (Presenting Concerns)

Describe what your pain feels like and where you experience it in your body. Does it travel? Is it on the surface of your skin or deeper? (Pain Experience)

When did this pain begin and how do you think it was caused? (Onset)

If you could paint a picture/photograph of your pain when it is bad, what would it look like? (Imagery)

What seems to help your pain feel better/bring relief? If you could take a photograph of what brings you relief, what would it look like?  What seems to block you from having the pain relief you want? (Relief factors/Imagery)

What activities, time of the day, situations make the pain get worse? (Triggers)

How bad is your pain right now using a 0-10 scale where 10=worst pain imaginable? How does it interfere with your life? What changes, losses have it created? (Severity)

What does your support system look like? How has it changed? (Support)

What are you most afraid of now?
What was the most anxious, fearful experience of your life?
When were you the most sad or depressed?
When were you the happiest?
When were you the most proud?

Has anything like this ever happened before to you? Have you been mistreated, physically, emotionally or sexually abused as a child, teenager or adult?
(Past Vulnerability)

Who else have you asked for help with this pain? How helpful was this help on a scale of 0-100% (Previous Treatment)

Is there anything you stand to gain or have already gained as a result of this accident/pain/injury?  (Secondary gain)

(Pain Imagery)
What does your pain look like when you imagine it at its…


Imagine what brings you pain relief. What does it look like?

(Miracle Imagery)

Imagine yourself pain free.

What do you look like?

How do you feel?

What are you doing?

Who are you with?

How has your life changed?

On a scale of 0-100%, how motivated are you to do everything you can to get relief from your pain?  (Motivation)

How much have you improved since starting therapy (0-100%)? (Improvement)

What else do you think I should know at this time?  (Additional Info)

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May 17 2008

Suicide, ethics, and end of life care dilemmas for families: Use of guided imagery

I invited Susan to use guided imagery to speak directly with her brother Bob. She worried that she did the wrong thing by not stopping his suicide. Using imagery might help her resolve this dilemma for herself.

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Aug 17 2007

What is Guided Imagery?

Published by under Guided Imagery

Guided Imagery is a holistic therapy method which uses the power of our imagination to heal, relax, improve performance in sports, public speaking, and many other areas of human performance.

This is an ancient method of healing. We can imagine our ancient grandmothers and mothers holding their children and inviting them to use their imagination to soothe their pain or suffering.

When our own children are sick, we may read them stories or tell them an imaginary story to help them forget about their pain for a short time. And how much is that warmth and love worth to the healing process? I would say an awful lot. I know my daughter really benefited from all that intimacy.

So, using guided imagery is a wonderful gift. It is a pathway to the most important direction, to our hearts.

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Aug 17 2007

Exploring Images

All of us experience and explore images. An imagery therapist like myself, will use questions similar to the one’s bellow when helping clients explore images they allow to come to their conscious mind.

Here are some of the questions:

· What are you seeing, hearing, feeling (touch), smelling?

· What time of day or night is it?

· What is the feeling of this image?

· How do you feel as you experience this image?

· If this image had words, what would it say (message) to you?

· How close are you to the image? What happens if you move closer or further away?

· Imagine hovering over the image. What do you experience?

These questions help the client to more deeply access, experience and understand the feelings associated with these images.

Images are the pathway to our hearts.

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Jul 17 2007

Guided Imagery: Steps

Published by under Guided Imagery

The basic steps in the interactional guided imagery method are to teach the client to use:

  • conscious breathing & progressive muscle relaxation
  • reverse counting to deepen their level of relaxation
  • creating and exploring spontaneous images
  • structured imagery exercises <--
  • processing and developing new meaning
  • conclusion of experience

Facilitating an imagery session brings deep relaxation to the client and helps them access feelings that while in a more wakeful state are unavailable to them.

I see this over and over again in my work. Clients come into my office, begin to relax and feel comfortable. Soon they are able to feel more deeply, often sadness and grief. They are able to release feelings related to family experiences, abuse or neglect, from long ago.

In the role of the facilitator and connected to the client’s experience, I am also able to empathically see and feel what the client is experiencing. We are in the moment and experiencing a deeper aspect of our humanity.

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Jul 17 2007

Guided Imagery: Exploring Spontaneous Images

I was trained by the Academy for Guided Imagery in a method called interactional guided imagery.

This method focuses on helping individuals create and explore spontaneous images from their own hearts and minds. This differs from other imagery methods where you are invited to create a specific image, like a road to a castle seen in the distance.

Personally, I always had trouble with these imagery exercises. I could imagine the road and see the castle, but as I more deeply relaxed, my mind would wander. I enjoyed myself, but never quite got to that special room in the castle!

So, when I found Interactional Guided Imagery, I was excited. This method focuses on helping the individual get to a deeper state of relaxation where they have more access to images connected to their hearts and souls.

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Jun 17 2007

Guided Imagery: Pathway to our Hearts

Ancient cultures always referred to the many directions of our lives. The focus, however, was beyond north, south, east, west, up and down. The most important direction for them was the mysterious within, the pathway to our hearts.

Guided Imagery offers a way to travel to our heart. Of course, heart is but a metaphor for the thoughts, feelings, memories of the events that make up our history and hopes for the future. Continue Reading »

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May 16 2007

Imagery Bibliography

Bibliography: Music Therapy & Imagery

Achterburg, Dossey, Kolkmeier, Rituals of Healing: Using Imagery for Health and Wellness. New York: Bantam, 1994.

*Girard, Vickie, There’s No Place Like Hope. Published by Compendium, Inc.

A Guide to Beating Cancer in Mind-sized Bites.

*Kaye, Ronnie, LCSW, Spinning Straw Into Gold: Your Emotional Recovery from Breast Cancer. Published by Simon & Schuster.
LaShon, Lawrence, Cancer As A Turning Point. Essential for you as a therapist.

Lawless, Frank, PhD., The Cure: The Hero’s Journey with Cancer
San Jose, CA: Resource Publications, Inc.

Maltz, Maxwell, MD, The New Psycho-Cybernetics. New York: Prentice Hall, 2001.

Pert, Candace B., Molecules of Emotion. New York: Scribner, 1997.
Rossman, Martin L., MD, Fighting Cancer from Within. New York: Holt & Company, 2003.

*great for clients/patients

Abrams, B,. PhD., MT-BC, FAMI (2001) Music, Cancer and Immunity. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 5, 222-224.

Landmark, B.T.,, Strandmark, M., Wahl, A. (2002) Breast Cancer and experiences of Social Support. Scandinavian Journal of Caring, 16, 216-233.

Rosenfeld, M. & Smillie, E. (1998) Group counseling by telephone. British Journal of
Guidance and Counseling, 26, 11-19.

Bibliography: Imagery/Psychotherapy

Arrien, Angeles, Ph.D., The Fourfold Way: Walking the Path of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer and Visionary, Harper San Francisco, 1993

Frankl, Victor E., Man’s Search for Meaning, Washington Square Press, 1946

Rossman, Martin L. Healing Yourself:A Step-by-Step Program for Better Health Through Imagery, The Institute for the Advancement of Health, 1987

Mark, Robert, and Portugal, Buddy, Victories of the Heart: The Inside Story of a Pioneer Men’s Group and How Men Help Each Other Change Their Lives, Element, 1996

Meade, Michael, Men and the Water of Life: Initiation and the Tempering of Men, Harper San Francisco, 1993

Ornstein, Robert, Ph.D., and Sobel, David, M.D., Healthy Pleasures, Addison-Wesley, 1989

Sapolsky, Robert M., Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: A guide to Stress, Stress-related Diseases,

Samuels, Mike, M.D. and Samuels, Nancy, Seeing With the Mind’s Eye:The History, Techniques and Uses of Visualization, Random House, 1975

Travis, John W., M.D. and Ryan, Regina Sara, Wellness Workbook, Ten Speed Press, 1988

Whitfield, Charles L., Healing the Child Within, Health Communications

Whitfield, Charles L., Boundaries and Relationships: Knowing, Protecting and Enjoying Yourself, Health Communications, 1993

Yalom, Irving D., The Theory and Practice of Group Therapy, Basic Books, 1995

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