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Better To Listen To The Same Imagery or Change It Up?

25 Oct

A childhood abuse survivor, who has improved listening to the same imagery each day, asks if she should try something new…

A survivor of childhood trauma used to suffer from insomnia, but has been sleeping well for years now.  She first listened regularly to Healthful Sleep, and then switched to Healing Trauma, which she’s been using for about a year with good results. She asked this question, which we get frequently:  

Should I mix things up and listen to something else for a while? I am of a mind that says "If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Yet, on the other hand, I wonder – is it a good idea to listen to something different from time to time?  I’ve heard that it’s good to change shampoos for a month to get the best results from the old brand, and I’ve heard the same thing about deodorant. 

Does this principle hold for guided imagery?  I think I'm scared that I’ll somehow become immune to the traumatic stress imagery, and that worries me.  It’s been a great support. What do you recommend?

Thanks, Jessica

 

Dear Jessica,

I’m glad the imagery is helping.  I too am a huge fan of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, so I don’t see any reason to change it.  If you haven’t gotten tired of listening to it after a year, you may never get sick of it.

And the impact does not wear off.  On the contrary, with continued use, the effects solidify and deepen – even if you tune it out.  So don’t worry about developing immunity to the imagery – you won’t.

On the other hand, I, like you, am also a subscriber to the “change your shampoo now and then” approach.  So it might not hurt to introduce yourself to a new audio (Heartbreak, Abandonment & Betrayal? Anxiety & Panic Mindfulness Meditations?) just for the sake of variety,  as well as to broaden the range of healthy suggestions you’re receiving.  

Another reason to listen to something new and then go back to the PTS imagery is that, when you do return to it, it’s likely to sound fresh to you again.  You might notice something on that audio for the first time, for having been away from it for a bit.

But let me assure you that, even if you kept listening to only the trauma imagery while being sick and tired of it, you’re still likely to continue benefiting from it.  We learned this years ago from a weight loss support group that was being followed by the TV show 20/20.  The deal was, they had to listen to our Weight Loss imagery every day for 6 months, until the production and camera crew came back to tape the follow-up.  

Most of them were sick to death of that imagery by then, but they were good sports and kept at it, to honor the agreement.  In spite of being tired of it, they continued to either lose weight or stay stable after having lost weight.

So either way is good.  If you keep doing the same thing with only that PTS imagery, that’s fine.  If you eventually add to your library, that’s fine too.  You can always go back to the trauma audio as your basic go-to/return-to audio program.

I hope this clarifies it some. Thanks for a great question.

All best,

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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