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Can a person with Down's Syndrome benefit from imagery?

29 Dec
A woman asks BR if her brother, "a real sweetheart" who has Downe’s Syndrome, can take advantage of guided imagery, or if getting him a CD will just frustrate him..
Dear BR,
Can a Downe’s Syndrome young adult use guided imagery? I’m wondering about getting some CDs for my brother, who has an assembly job and functions pretty well. He’s a real sweetheart and I would like him to have the pleasure of enjoying his imagination, but I don’t know if this is something he could take advantage of, and I don’t want to frustrate him.
Sally R.



Dear Sally,
Absolutely! One of the great things about imagery is the way it’s an equal-opportunity intervention, and you don’t have to be brainy, well-educated, physically healthy, well-heeled, adult or even awake to get some benefit from it.

And because it’s a right-brain tool, it doesn’t rely on a person’s school smarts to be effective. In fact, even very little children, who can’t understand the words, let alone the ideas, manage to pick up the mood, voice tone, musical context, emotional flavor and healing intention behind guided imagery, and respond very strongly to it.

In fact, come to think of it, we get a lot of mail from people telling us their pets have responded well to the guided imagery that their humans play for themselves! So I guess I ought to add to my "equal opportunity" list that you don’t even have to be human for guided imagery to be helpful!

So can your brother use it? Totally. Probably better than most, because his right brain is probably in great shape. By all means, give the guy a CD. He’s the perfect end-user for this technique.

All best, and happy new year!

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