Guided Imagery and Meditation Blog | Health Journeys

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14 Apr

In 2002, Daphna Oyserman and two colleagues at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan wrote up a wonderful report on the nine-week after school, small group, activities-based intervention they developed for at-risk, African American, middle school students. The focus of the group work was on helping the kids imagine themselves as successful adults, and connecting their future imaginings to their current school involvement. 

Oyserman’s identity-based motivation research determined that youths fare better in school when they envision their future selves, connect them to the present and imagine strategies to get them there.

13 Apr

In a pilot study, researchers from Copenhagen University, Denmark, and The Grieg Academy of Music Therapy Research Center in Bergen, Norway,  examined the effects of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM), a specific technique, created by Helen Bonny, that includes relaxation, music listening, and observing the resulting, spontaneous imagery that arises from the music, on bio-psycho-social measures of stress related to long term sick leave...

Twenty Danish workers on sick leave were randomized to either a music therapy intervention or wait-list control.  Data collection was carried out at an occupational health ward in the period 2008-2010.

11 Apr

A woman coping with a trifecta of challenges: postpartum depression, possible grief, and posttraumatic stress suffered during pregnancy, childbirth and after, wonders if there are any resources that can make a dent on these complex challenges.

Here’s her question:

Hello, I'm suffering from postpartum depression and ptsd from several traumatic events I suffered in pregnancy childbirth and after. I was wondering if there are any tips or guided imagery that will help me best.

10 Apr

We’re posting some Hot Research about an imagery technique called GIM (Guided Imagery and Music) and what it can do for people on extended sick leave. The study finds that using GIM was associated with better mental health and an earlier return to the workplace.

GIM is a therapy technique created by psychotherapist and violinist, Helen Bonny. It’s a guided process that starts with playing classical music pieces and then prompting the client-listener to look inward and let whatever images or feelings evoked by the music come to the surface, so they can be explored in the context of whatever the client has been working on in therapy.

My first experience with GIM blew my mind, and it’s remained blown open ever since. At the very least, it speaks to the powerful, altered state this technique can take you to.

07 Apr

We got this story from a writer. 

"My life was shattered when my five-yr-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. Three months prior to Alana’s diagnosis, I had a panic attack on an airplane, followed by one while I was driving from Nevada to Southern California with both my children. My physician gave me tranquillizers for any future events and referred me to a psychologist.

My psychologist worked with me on relaxation techniques and gave me a few of your CDs: Meditations to Relieve Stress, Relaxation & Wellness, and Healthful Sleep. Meanwhile, my medical doctor prescribed Lexapro, which caused heart palpitations, difficulty breathing and shaking. I ended up seeing a psychiatrist who put me on a low dose of Depakote and Ativan for six months.

06 Apr

Researchers from the University of Athens in Greece examined the effect of a simple, zero cost stress management program on patients suffering from neck pain. Studies have shown that stress is implicated as a cause of neck pain (NP).

This study is a parallel-type randomized clinical study. People with chronic non-specific neck pain were chosen randomly to participate in an eight-week program of stress management (N= 28) that included diaphragmatic breathing and progressive muscle relaxation; or a no intervention control condition (N= 25).

Self-report measures were used to evaluate variables at the beginning and end of the eight-week monitoring period. Descriptive and inferential statistical methods were used for the analysis.

04 Apr

We got this question from a social worker who herself was experiencing a deeply unsettled transition time in her life, who wondered if we had anything recorded from BR’s book, Your Sixth Sense, to help her access more of her intuitive capacity to help her out.


Hi Belleruth!

I met you many years ago at a conference in Hilton Head.

I am entering/trying to create a new chapter in my life and wanting to return to and expand on my prior varied experiences with guided imagery, energy medicine and spirituality.

03 Apr

If you find yourself a magnet for the hopelessly self-centered, the most important question to ask is not, “Why are some people so toxic?” but, “How can I stop attracting toxic people and still love myself?”

There are reasons why many super-nice people are drawn to those who take advantage of them, even if they are not fully conscious of these reasons.

Of course, toxic behavior occurs on a continuum, from the person at work who always looks for someone else to do things for them, to the friend who constantly asks for favors but never reciprocates, to the person who is callous, lies, steals others’ intellectual or actual property, the partner who cheats, or the family member who is verbally abusive or worse.

Whatever form your toxic people tend to take, you’ll recognize your tendency to get involved with the liars, false friends, or takers of the world, because you’ll find yourself in the same types of frustrating, draining, or hurtful situations again and again.

31 Mar

Annette from Virginia tells this story demonstrating how guided imagery can open doors to deep healing, even from the oldest emotional and spiritual wounds. The impact, as we know, is cumulative with repeated listening. Here is her story, in her own words, with a few edits.

"For my whole life, I have dealt with a genetic disorder that killed half my family.  I was at a point of being depressed, angry and convinced that life is just unfair and hopeless for some people. I didn't think there was any point meditating.

30 Mar

Investigators from the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain, performed a systematic review of clinical studies on the efficacy of a technique in stroke rehabilitation called “mental practice” (also called guided imagery or mental rehearsal).

Mental Practice is defined by the authors as imagining the body performing a motor action or skill, in order to learn or perfect it.  Functional imaging shows that mental practice does, in fact, produce cortical activation patterns similar to those of actual movement.

28 Mar

A therapist dealing with her own major losses, traumatic grief, anger, panic attacks and PTS asks which meditations would be best for her, to complement and fortify the work she is doing in psychotherapy.


Hi. Belleruth,

I recently lost both parents - my mom after a long illness, and my dad killed himself a few months later. 

After an argument with me, he went upstairs and shot himself. I found him. It was a huge trauma, and I have been in great distress ever since.

27 Mar

We, at Health Journeys, are always moved by the sincerity of the people who call us to ask whether we have anything that could help their loved ones, who are grieving. We are equally moved when we get calls from people seeking help for their own grief.

When this happens, I often reflect on Belleruth’s recent post, titled Do’s and Don’ts for the Bereaved and Their Well-meaning Friends. This subject is rarely covered. Her suggestions could help people make peace with their own sorrow, and minimize confusion for those of us seeking to console our grieving friends.