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26 Jul

An adult survivor of childhood abuse wonders if guided imagery can help her, with her diagnosis of complex PTSD, layered over many years; and if so, which should she listen to, given the limitations of her budget. 

Read on as she tells her story and asks her question...

19 Jul

Talk about feeling vulnerable twice over! This question came from a woman who loses her speech in stressful situations, probably brought on by the death of her spouse. As I say in the reply, this is a situation made to order for generating panic attacks, and she’s got enough trouble as it is. Check it out – this reaction is more common than you might think.

12 Jul

This question came from a woman with bipolar illness, suffering as well from deep-seated feelings of emptiness. 

Back in the day, we in the psychotherapy biz used to call this ‘anaclitic depression’, marked by this sense of emptiness or nothingness on the inside. We now know a lot more about it, and a whole field of study on ‘attachment disorder’ has since emerged.

These profound feelings of ‘nothing on the inside’ are often the result of a very early disruption in a baby’s bond with a primary caregiver. We used to treat this with lengthy, intense, expensive, deep-dish, insight-oriented psychotherapy. People would search for reasons and delve into their personal history, for weeks and even years, with iffy results for all their effort. 

Additionally, few people could afford the time or money needed to undergo this kind of therapy. It was for a very exclusive few.

It turns out that most people will do much better working from the outside-in, using behavior to change feelings. 

So read to what our very own Traci Stein has to say about this, offering some smart, practical, effective behavioral suggestions to Paula.

05 Jul


Hello, Belleruth,

My husband has Parkinson's Disease. We have found there is not much by way of support services or wellness programs for him in our area.  He has, however, just started a class for Parkinson patients that will be teaching mindfulness as a tool to improve quality of life for people with PD.

This led me to wondering if you had some guided meditations that you think would be useful for this kind of population.  I would like to recommend a CD of yours for the doctor leading the group, who has many Parkinson patients in his practice, plus two other groups starting.  I have some of your CDs, but nothing that is right for this population. 

Thank you,

Mary M.

28 Jun

We got this question about a son with Asperger’s who gets very agitated from unexpected events or any changes in his routine. Sometimes he becomes so distressed that he hides. This mom wonders if guided imagery can help…. 


I have a son with Asperger's Syndrome. He gets very agitated with changes in his routine and unknown events. Sometimes his anxiety gets so extreme that he hides. I have been reading about the vagus nerve and how deep breathing can help. Do you have a suggestion for a guided meditation for extreme anxiety? 


21 Jun

We are often asked this question that Delia asks. Someone in adulthood either starts remembering some long-buried childhood abuse; or has always been aware of it, but for various reasons, only now feels ready to deal with it proactively. Sadly, childhood abuse is far more common than most people would think as any mental health will tell you.

14 Jun

We get this question so often that it doesn’t hurt to answer it again. Rodrigo asks if he has to be awake and listening consciously for his guided imagery to have an impact.

I reply in some detail, but if you’re in a hurry, the short answer is NO. Check it out the longer version!

07 Jun

We got this question from a man who hasn’t been the same since he had emergency surgery on his appendix. He’s been experiencing increasing fearfulness, hypervigilance, panic and insomnia. He is in therapy and listens to relaxation exercises on his phone, but wonders what else he can do to accelerate his healing.

31 May

We got this email just as Father’s Day was approaching. Our hearts go out to this man, whose life is forever changed by an automobile accident that left his daughter in a coma, and his wife in a deep depression. But we do have some suggestions for him.

24 May

Boy oh boy, do I relate to this question. It’s from a new intern in Marriage and Family Therapy, working to complete her full accreditation.  

She reports that, seemingly out of nowhere, she began having episodes of anxiety and panic, without any apparent triggers that she can identify. She loves her work. 

Fortunately, she responds really well to guided imagery, and hopefully some of the suggestions I make here will resonate with her. I think it’s easy to lose sight of how hard it is to be new at this work, especially if you’re a responsible sort who wants to do right by the people in your care who are suffering. Please read on!