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Guided Imagery Allays Needle Biopsy Terror

06 Dec

We found this posted on a website for health professionals called Clinical Advisor  - it’s by Angela Lambing MSN, NP, who describes how a social worker successfully used guided imagery with a patient to allay her terror of a needle biopsy procedure.
She writes: 

“As always, prior to a diagnostic bone marrow biopsy, I provide informed consent including the reasons for the procedure as well as the risks. This particular patient was anxious, but I was not fully aware just how anxious. After prepping the area, I provided adequate local anesthesia.  I checked with the patient and tested the area to ensure that the area was indeed anesthetized locally.

“When I inserted the needle, the patient screamed to the heavens! Even our social worker heard it 100 yards away. Needless to say, I was shocked by her response.

“The social worker came and immediately started relaxation exercises and guided imagery with the patient.

“I did not provide any further local anesthesia. I restarted the procedure, and this time I completed it in full. I then informed the patient that I had finished. She turned to me and said, "No you didn't. I didn't feel anything."

“This case reminds me that diversional activities, such as guided imagery, can play an enormous role in a patient's perception of pain. After this experience, I am much more in-tune to my patients as I assess their anxiety levels and determine whether additional strategies need to be employed. Kudos to my social worker for her continued help!”

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