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I Think Guided Imagery will Help My Friend but She Refuses - Should I Insist?

14 May

Dear Belleruth,

I played your guided imagery for healing trauma for my friend and she strongly rejected it saying there is no peaceful place she can relate to and there is no lovely being she can identify to take her on the journey. Did I play the wrong tape? Shall I insist? I am very worried.

Thanks,Reese


Dear Reese,

Thanks for the question. You're a great friend, but definitely don't insist. It's important to respect her wishes and boundaries, especially if she's a trauma survivor and has had those boundaries violated in some way or another.

And she's in plenty of good company. You'd be surprised how many people say, with pained bitterness, that there IS no safe place or person, not even a made up, imaginary one. If that's someone's perception, based on their history of heartbreaking people and events, it's unlikely you'll be able to argue them out of it. So just respect it and step back from it. There are other kinds of imagery and other methods altogether that she can use to remediate her distress.

Julie Lusk's Yoga Nidra is strictly body-based, very calming, and not emotionally demanding at all - that might suit her really well.

Or you might want to try Bodhipaksa's Mindfulness Meditation for Teens, which is good for both teens and adults alike. That audio is also very straightforward, gentle and simple.

She might like to work with biofeedback or neurofeedback, which also doesn't require searching for a favorite place or beneficent being. She may respond well to Reiki or some other kind of biofield therapy.

But if she doesn't like any of those either, my advice is the same: don't insist. Just be her friend. When she's ready, she'll find something.

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