What is Guided Imagery and Visualisation?
Knowledge is limited but with imagination we can circle the world
~ Albert Einstein ~
Guided imagery allows us as therapists to teach clients to use their imaginations constructively as a key component in recovery.
When we hear a story or listen to a friend talking about an experience, in our mind we will be using our imagination to construct parts of the story and to perceive what that experience is all about. We constantly use our imaginations to consider fearful or threatening scenarios, some people do so more than others and may dote on these scenarios too an excessive degree, so when you think about how human beliefs and experiences are created over the years it is understandable that there are many stories we tell ourselves or believe that are simply not true, not helpful or outdated. These are some of the thoughts and memories we can target with guided imagery.
There are countless writings detailing the minds inability to differentiate between reality and fiction. Whether this is wholly true or not, we have often seen in clinical practice how an individual re-visiting a painful situation can then modify their memory of it through the use of imagination. This is known a neuroplastic change.
New understanding of how memory functions has shown us that it is a dynamic and changeable construct, every time you remember something you are re-solidifying the memory and it is subject to the inclusion of new or variable interpretations that can yield an altered memory.
As therapists we can use this new understanding of the plasticity of memory to free you from the overwhelmingly negative associations you may have of some past experiences and to review them and see them anew in a positive light.
Ultimately as human beings we have the capacity for change by seeing something from a new point of view and doing things differently. And we as therapists can help you achieve this.