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Mother of Traumatized Iraq War Vet Asks Why V.A. Didn’t Offer Imagery to Her Son

12 Jul


As an Licensed Professional Counselor who has found great success with Guided Imagery AND the mother of a 26 year old Iraq War veteran who has suffered with severe PTSD for 4 years, I am curious what the VA and military are doing with Guided Imagery.  Since going to the VA and military installations were often "triggers" for my son, we opted for civilian practitioners and a civilian treatment center that provided an array of complimentary therapies including Guided Imagery.

At neither our VA or the military installations that we have HAD to go to, has any alternative/complimentary therapy been suggested...usually just meds and CBT.

Perhaps a "hint" of some of the wonderful stuff going on would be helpful to share on this newsletter...maybe even something I could encourage my son to explore.

Many thanks,
Cynde Collins-Clark, LPC
Mom of OIF veteran


Ah, Cynde…
Believe me, I know whereof you speak.
Our guided imagery is actually in at least 110 V.A. hospitals or Vet Centers (that we know of) around the country, several marine camps and army bases; lots of veteran’s advocacy organizations; several units of Walter Reed, Bethesda Naval Hospital, Landstul & Ramstein Hospitals in Germany…  and a lot of our warriors in theater use our stuff to grab some relaxation and sleep while they can.  

But each system (DoD, V.A., National Guard, etc) is so fractionated, that one part doesn’t know what the rest is doing.  So distribution becomes kind of word-of-mouth, extremely random and catch as catch can... it makes us crazy, to tell you the truth, because we now know from the research that we’ve got something that helps, and it’s simple, self-administered, portable and gobsmackingly inexpensive.

This is not just from one V.A. hospital to the next, but within each V.A. hospital - one dept may be using guided imagery very intensively and enthusiastically, but the one next door has never heard of it.

We're pulling out all of the stops to get to the powers that be, to make this more centralized and ubiquitous, but, trust me, it's not been a walk in the park. No matter, we’ll keep at it, and we are making progress.

However, not to turn the tables or anything like that, we could use some help from Moms like you, who have a strong advocacy organization, to get to the top layers.

Just to restate, like the broken record we’ve become, we have plenty of evidence-based data through clinical trials:
Jennifer Strauss' powerful studies from Duke are posted here:.

(We’re getting similar results from a study at Scripps, too, by the way, but that study isn’t complete yet).

….and there's a description of what's going on at the Phoenix V.A. here.

Our downloads are being used on a password-protected page on;

And we keep plugging away, no matter what, but if you can help get out the word, we'll maybe get there faster!!

Thanks for writing, and I hope some of this info will be useful to your son. We all wish you and him the very best.

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