How do you know if imagery is working and how long does it take?
To answer your first question, people respond differently, but most feel a little different after listening, even the first time - more relaxed, slowed down, breathing deeper, faces pinker, limbs heavier, voice lower - things like that. Some even have tingling sensations in their hands, feet or scalp. Some feel dramatically improved right away, but most, I would have to say, don’t have an instantaneously dramatic effect. Many don’t notice that much difference right away and it takes a while before the effects start to accumulate over a couple of weeks of steady listening. For others still, they don’t feel that much difference, but positive changes start sneaking up on them, changes that feel so organic and natural that it takes a while to even realize they’ve been happening.
To answer your second question, I’d say you should notice something anywhere from Day One to after 2-3 weeks of steady use.
And yes, people do absorb the imagery when they’re sleeping. Some research even indicates that they might even absorb it better while asleep!
I hope this helps. Be patient and let the process evolve in the best way for you - there’s no one ‘gold standard’ way to react. Try to trust your body and mind to use this process in the way it needs to.
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