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An email dialogue between Br and a woman who had a catastrophic motor vehicle accident explore issue

08 Dec
An email dialogue between Br and a woman who had a catastrophic motor vehicle accident explore issues around whether imagery works in spite of falling asleep, traumatic amnesia and the value of journaling..
I am using your guided meditation tape on healing trauma. I was involved in a catastrophic auto accident 9 months ago and sustained life-changing injuries. I am wondering if the meditation yields positive results even when listened to while sleeping. I have fallen asleep the last two times I have listened to the tape. However, it continued to play via headphones until its conclusion. Just curious if you have observed or addressed this issue in any of your research or practice.

I have noticed that my rich dream life came to a screeching halt since the accident (at least my concious awareness of content on awakening). No change yet (in my dreams) since starting to use your guided meditation tape. The imagery, however, has elicited some interesting pauses for consideration. Thank you in advance for any feedback that you might have to offer.

BR replies:

Dear Chris,
Yes, we do have evidence that the imagery is effective even if people consistently fall asleep while it''s playing. People with diabetes taught us this - their blood sugar kept going down over weeks and months (in a zig-zaggy but clearly downward direction), even though they never stayed awake beyond the intro and could not remember anything on it in a conscious way.
I''m sorry about your accident and I hope the imagery helps!
All best,

Chris’s Reply:
Thank you! I am certain that it will help. Guided imagery and silence have always been my favorite methods of meditation. I''m dipping slowly and cautiously into recapturing and reconstructing the chunk of life connected with and following the accident. Saw photos of my car and myself in the hospital prior to surgery. It is amazing how the mind works to block pain and distort reality in an "unreal" situation. I am keeping a journal associated with this process and will let you know how the tapes help. I appreciate your quick response to my question.

BR’s Reply:
.. .And keep in mind, Chris, that it''s not all psychological! (this is a big mistake we therapists made for decades, thinking that it was strictly a defense). During times of extreme threat, there is a huge flood of natural opiates into the bloodstream - it''s survival related, so that any attempts to save your own life won''t be impeded or distracted by pain. That is thought to be the main driver of trauma-related amnesia. Dissociation, also created by a flooding of alarm and sedating biochemicals, is responsible for some of the distortion. Journaling is a terrific idea -a huge help to so many trauma survivors. Dipping slowly is also very smart. No need to push the memories. They’ll show up when you’re ready for them.

I look forward to hearing more about your progress.
All best,

Chris replies:
I definitely know that! I''m a nurse practitioner who was working toward a PhD in counseling psychology prior to the accident. The vision that I had at the moment of impact was amazing. Thanks for the reminder of the mind, body, spirit interaction to facilitate survival. It is so different experiencing this firsthand rather than vicariously through others. Easy to forget the most simple physiological concepts. Until later,
Thanks again,
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