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Imagery Too Touchy-feely for Traumatized Cops??

09 Aug

Question:

Hi Belleruth, I love your CDs and use them personally and in my clinical practice. I would like to suggest that there is a great need for a guided imagery CD specifically designed for law enforcement personnel, to help them deal with trauma that they experience on the job on a regular basis.

I use EMDR with them to resolve trauma, but sometimes I would like to send them home with a more portable form of help for Critical Incident Stress outside of therapy sessions.
 
Although I use the Healing Trauma, Relieve Stress and Healthful Sleep CDs with my cop clients, sometimes they are just too "warm and fuzzy" for this population.
 
Please let me know what you think. I would be very glad to help with this if it becomes a reality. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

C. W., LMFT

Answer:
Dear C.W.,

You're not the first person to suggest this, or to tell us that for some police officers or firefighters, the imagery is a little too 'warm and fuzzy'.  We sometimes hear this concern about military personnel as well.

That's in part why we created the Stress Hardiness audio - 5 tracks of mostly emotionally neutral, self-regulating exercises. But a couple of tracks in there do have some warm fuzzies in them as well.  (It’s funny, because it’s not always predictable, who will go for the emotionally evocative imagery and who won’t.  There’s a significant number of “manly men” who really go for the warm, fuzzy stuff (please know that I’m saying this with tongue-in-cheek irony, having graduated from the SNL school of humor, so please, please don’t get all politically correct on me here, okay?)

Also, Emmett Miller’s excellent 10-Minute Stress Manager might be just the thing for your cops…. or Steve Gurgevich’s Relaxation Rx

So I agree - we could probably use an alternate kind of imagery that’s more about producing a clear, focused state of awareness, and which teaches how to quickly access a state of internal calm amid the chaos.

As you can see from (most of) last week’s very intense discussion, it’s arguably a good idea for soldiers downrange as well, to have the capacity to cultivate an internal still-point. 

What exactly did you have in mind for this? Anything in particular?  I'm also thinking of maybe offering the option of combining instructions for some self-acu-tapping to be incorporated into this imagery.
 
I'd welcome your thoughts - and anyone else’s.

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