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A psychotherapist, just back from the Cape Cod workshop, uses guided imagery with a very tense, tra

07 Nov
A psychotherapist, just back from the Cape Cod workshop, uses guided imagery with a very tense, traumatized client, and her constant companion - her equally tense little dog - yielding surprising, profound and hilarious results..
Dear HJ staff and BR,

This is not a question. I just want to share a sweet visual imagery story. I am a social worker who attended the recent conference at Cape Cod on October 29-30, 2005 - last weekend. Just this past Tuesday evening, my last client was a woman with a history of severe abuse and trauma. She comes to her sessions with her small, buff-colored, miniature poodle, Petey, who looks like a puppy, but who is old enough to have cataracts. He sticks by my client’s side like glue.

My client was having a particularly difficult time, so I asked if she would like to try some visual imagery to relax. She settled in on my couch, with her little poodle clinging desperately to her chest, trying to get to her face. My client is a large woman, so her dog does not have a lap to sit on, and he tends to cling to her chest.

I turned on the music and began to help my client settle in. Her dog was in her face. As my client began to relax, and her breath became more and more regular and smooth, I noticed her pup was sliding down her body, until he was standing up on the couch next to her. He did not make a sound, but first he was looking only at his mistress, but in a few minutes his eyes went down, then his head, then he sat his hind legs down, and in a few minutes down went his front paws, then his head. Within the next 6 minutes he was on his side, eyes closed, mouth slightly open and making a slight snoring sound, looking very much like a piece of wet spaghetti.

When my client decided to sit up, she looked at her dog, then looked at me, and we both had the best laugh. She said her dog never relaxes, never falls asleep like that. So, not only did the music and visualization work for her, but she also had the visual of her little Petey, out cold, relaxed and snoring, an image that brought a smile to her face, warmed her heart and one she and I will share forever!

TF, LCSW
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