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How to Break Unpleasant Associations with a Guided Imagery CD

03 Mar

Dear Ms. Naperstak [sic],

About a year ago, I was going contemplating leaving my marriage (which I eventually did) and I was very depressed. I used your guided imagery CD which was helped some. I have since had ups and downs and right now am quite down again. However, using the CD now actually brings me back to last year when I was at my lowest instead of helping me. I cannot listen to the CD without it bringing up very bad memories now. Any suggestions?

Thanks.
Donald

 

Dear Donald,

2138bI'm sorry you're feeling low, but I'm grateful for the question, because this is not an uncommon occurrence. The bad news, of course, is that you now have a conditioned response to hearing that audio, which brings up unpleasant memories and associations to a very bad time in your life. But the good news is, this means you have a very strong response to guided imagery and it's a good method for you. (We hear this most from chemo patients, who used our imagery faithfully during their chemo treatments and derive benefit from it, but then associate the sound of that recording with feeling nauseated, tired, frightened and fuzzy-brained.)

Now the trick will be to use another kind of imagery, preferably with different background music; and you may need a different voice. So don't even bother with the Depression imagery... it's time to move on to something else.

Since you responded well to my voice, you might want to try the Self-Confidence audio - that has different background music and different pacing.

2143But you may want to skip me altogether and just try Traci Stein's Self-Esteem and Self-Esteem during Sleep, a terrific guided meditation/imagery/self-hypnosis set that delivers great results for people. And don't forget, the biggest sign of depression, right up there with low energy and buried optimism, is not liking yourself a whole lot. So that would be my recommendation.

If you want to stick with my voice, another possibility , odd as it might sound, would be our Weight Loss imagery. That has a very strong counter-depressive, energizing, self-esteem building component to it and also different music as well.

2356bYou may want to try a completely different sort of technique with Amy Weintraub's Breathe to Beat the Blues; It's very good and the use of the breath to mechanically reduce depression is hard to resist.

Good luck and take care. I hope you feel better soon.

All best,
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.