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trauma survivor listens with eyes open

27 Dec
A trauma survivor who suffered panic attacks whenever she tried to listen to guided imagery in the past, discovers that by keeping her eyes open, she is able to make use of the intervention and feel just fine
Dear Belleruth,
for many years I have not been able to use recorded guided imagery. Every time I would try, I would have a panic attack. It reminded me too much of the feeling of someone else overpowering me and having control over me. So even though, as a nurse, I recommended your imagery recordings to many of my patients, I was unable to use them myself. Instead, I used my own self-generated imagery, and I have used prayer and meditatation for several decades, and I thought that was enough.

But recently I made an important discovery. It''s so simple I wonder why I never thought of it before. I went to one of your talks, where you were demonstrating some guided imagery, and I knew I did not want to have a panic attack there. So when you got to the part where you played the trauma imagery, I stayed in the room and listened with my eyes open. Bingo! I get immersed very easily, so I''m sure I still got lots of benefit from the experience -- but without feeling overwhelmed and panicky.

Now I''m using your recordings with my eyes open. What a delight! There are certain recordings that are just right for my situation now, and I''m very grateful for being able to use them.

Warmly,
Annette
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