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An O.T. Asks about Using Guided Imagery for Stroke Rehab Patients

18 Sep

Hello,

I am an occupational therapist working with elders who have suffered a stroke. I am interested in incorporating your stroke CD in my treatment. While I have used your guided imagery CDs myself and found them very helpful, I'm wondering whether there are any precautions I should be aware of prior to using them with my patients.

Thanks for your response, and for your important work!

Warmly,
Daria

Dear Daria,

There are no special counter-indications for stroke patients that I’m aware of or that have ever been reported to me.  One consideration, however, is that some of your elderly patients may suffer from hearing loss - especially in the lower registers – and this could mean they have trouble hearing my voice over the music. It’s something to be alert for.

The usual orientation should be fine: reminding people to sit comfortably, relax to it, to not try too hard or think too hard about it, but rather just let the images soak in, in an easy, open, receptive way.  Over time, they will take hold below the thinking brain, deep in the body.

And of course, if it makes them fidgety or anxious or irritated, they should just press ‘stop’ and not force it on themselves.
 
Best times to listen are when waking up and falling asleep; or during a massage or Reiki or Healing Touch session.  

It’s good to mention that if they get teary or sniffly, that’s a normal response, as is falling asleep, getting tingly sensations on the scalp or hands, or having an involuntary twitch or two.

Good luck with this and please report back on how it’s going if you have the time to do so!

All best,
Belleruth 

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award