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Guided Imagery to Help Tolerate a Tracheotomy

16 Jan

Question:

Do you have a CD, cassette or download that would help my 85 year old father-in-law, who's got a tracheotomy following a heart attack & weeks of sedation?

He's not depressed, per se, but he is frustrated with the trach & is interested in guided imagery/self-hypnosis.  He's a retired psychologist & musician - a great guy.
 
A mental vacation with imagery of strengthening and regaining his health - hopefully without reference to breathing through his nose or mouth - would be great.
 
Thanks,  Theresa

Answer:

Dear Theresa,

He’s a lucky guy to have a daughter-in-law like you, who “gets” him, appreciates him and hustles for him!  I agree that a mental vacation is just the ticket, and with his psychological mindedness and musical background, he’s an ideal end-user for guided imagery or any hypnotic technique.
 
I sorted through a lot of audio, looking for something without some initial breathing instruction, but, unfortunately, most of the imagery that takes you to your ‘happy place’ starts with some initial breathing instruction.  For better or worse, that’s usually the first building block I use at the outset of my narratives, to ultimately take the listener to a nice, deep, altered state.
 
But you can always tell him to just ignore that part or just skip ahead and start with the part that follows (which, on my tapes usually goes like this: :And now, see if you can imagine a place…

However, I apparently did have the good sense to leave out the breathing instructions on the Cardiac ICU & Rehab imagery and, actually, a lot of the imagery on there could be useful to him.  It’s about mending and healing, tolerating and maybe even appreciating whatever machinery and mechanical help you have to put up with, and letting others take care of you, even if it feels weird… stuff like that.
 
Best wishes to both of you.

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