Belleruth answers a child therapist who asks if there is a lower age limit for using guided imagery
What is the lower age limit that imagery can be used with? I am a therapist who works with children.
Because imagery reaches primitive, preverbal parts of the brain with its soothing, calming voice tone, musical quality, pacing and emotional flavor, there really is no lower age limit - even babies can absorb the relaxation and reassurance that are in the spaces between the words. Indeed, many newborns and preemies are rocked to guided imagery recordings as a way of adding comfort and cushioning to their new young lives.
In fact, we have many in utero listeners, because a lot of pregnant women use our imagery, and we can’t prove it, but we think those little guys benefit too - if for no other reason than because their mommas are suffused by nice, calming neurohormones coursing through their bloodstream and amniotic fluid.
Indeed, we’ve even been told many, many stories of dogs, cats and other critters chilling out regularly to guided imagery - some have even made it to our Inspiring Story pages!
So I’d say with some assurance that all kids "get" guided imagery at some level. Of course, once they’re at an age where they can understand the words, age-appropriate imagery, with comprehensible vocabulary and a reasonable playing time length start to make sense. We have a lot of wonderful imagery for kids of all ages, which you can find if you click here. You might want to listen to some just to get ideas for what you’d like to do.
Best wishes and have fun with it - I know your kids will!
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
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