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What’s Good Guided Imagery for Domestic Violence Survivors?

02 Oct

Dear Belleruth and Health Journeys,

I have been an ER Nurse for over 20 years.  We are currently seeing a dramatic rise in patients coming through the door with injuries due to domestic violence.  A colleague suggested it might be connected to increased unemployment or maybe other factors in the larger, societal picture, but whatever the reason, it’s increasing a lot. 

Emerson P., ER RN

Dear Emerson,
I’ve heard this from others, and yes, I believe there is in fact a longstanding correlation between rising unemployment and increases in domestic violence, substance abuse and crime.  

For someone who’s suffered domestic violence, there are a lot of CDs that would apply and I’m hard pressed to pick only a few – I’ll do my best here. I’d want to see your patient (usually a “her” but it could be a “him” too) listen to our guided imagery for Posttraumatic Stress - usually this is a cumulative and escalating problem – by the time they get to your ER, most have suffered quite a bit of abuse and are walking around with complex, layered PTS, among other things.  So that would be tops on my list.

Additionally, they’ve also been feeling pretty trapped and helpless for some time, walking around in a victimized fog, and experiencing varying degrees of depression, which is a different and separate condition from PTSD.  So another title that would be really useful here would be our guided imagery for Depression.

And because so many have been living in an extended state of anticipatory fear, never knowing when or where the next smack is going to land on them, they’ll also be suffering from panic attacks – sometimes they don’t emerge right away, but it’s common for them to emerge at some point.  So I’d definitely want to see our guided imagery to help with Panic Attacks included in this pack.

And finally, because confidence and self-esteem have usually been pretty much macerated to a pulp, I’d like to see them envisioning a more confident, capable, joyful self, as the inner target for their future growth and development as they get stronger and heal out of this. 

Traci Stein PhD, has created two guided imagery titles designed to help build self-esteem.  Healthy Self-Esteem and Self-Esteem During Sleep. And let’s throw in the Self-Confidence guided imagery as well. 

I hope this helps.  All best to you and thanks for looking after this badly overlooked segment of our communities and neighborhoods.


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