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Can a person with a "right brain" injury still benefit from imagery?

20 Dec
A practitioner asks if someone who suffered severe head trauma on the right side of the brain, who was in a coma for 21 days and has no memory of her accident can benefit from guided imagery ..
Question:

BR, I am a practitioner of oriental medicine in NY and just recently purchased you new book , Invisible Heroes. Im halfway through and perhaps this question will be answered by the end of the book. But just in case it is not... I have a patient who suffered severe head trauma to the right side of the brain from a car accident. She awoke from a 21 day coma, finding she had suffered left side motor impairment etc. She has no memory of that day’s events and does not suffer flashblacks or nightmares.

I started your guided imagery with her last week but am wondering if, because of the bleeding and subsequent calcifications of the blood clots on the right side of the brain, whether using this ''right sided'' imagery will work for her. Any insight? Thanks so much for this outstanding research and your generosity of spirit,

Nancy



Dear Nancy,

Actually, there was a lot of discussion of this and related issues at the NICABM conference, where we were lucky enough to have Trisha Meili, (the "Central Park Jogger") as a keynote speaker. As I’m sure you know, she suffered major head trauma and does not remember her attack. And we also got to hear what neurologist Robert Scaer, as well as Peter Levine, Dan Amen, Fred Gallo and many other cutting edge thinkers and practitioners had to say on this issue.

So, first of all, yes, the imagery can help, regardless of where she was injured and regardless of whether she remembers the injury or not. So can many of the "Alphabet Therapies" I describe in the book. So by all means, press on. Start with the simpler imagery exercises first, just as the book suggests in the second half. I would also recommend the Stroke imagery for her, as there is a lot in there about clots clearing up and new pathways being developed around any (hopefully temporary) blockages.

Fact is, we all take the phrase "Right Brain" too literally - it’s best to use the term figuratively, as a stand in for structures in the brain that process emotion, sensation, perception, images, metaphors, feeling, intuition and motor reactivity. Some of these are on the right side, but they’re also all over the place, centered on the amygdala (right smack in the center of the head) and surrounding neuronal networks, the temporal lobes, the hippocampus, parts of the brainstem and midbrain. So don’t let that term stop you from doing what you are doing.

Good luck with this and all best wishes,


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