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Success Combining Guided Imagery with Other Techniques: The Whole is Greater than Its Parts!

11 Jan



BN075I was delighted to be reminded last week of some of the creative ways guided imagery can be combined with other healing techniques to produce extra-potent results.

A note from a licensed massage therapist at a rehab facility for neurological disorders recently wrote that she began playing guided imagery - her client's choice from an ample menu - during her aromatherapy massages, and how astonishingly effective the combination was. She reported that the one intervention enhanced the positive impact of the other, resulting in a whole that was far greater than its two parts. She calls her newly minted program "Meditative Massage", and she's pumped about it.

This put in mind a Scripps study, published by Guarneri et al in the journal Military Medicine ( with a population of traumatized Marines between deployments, where the combination of our Healing Trauma (please link) guided imagery and a 3 sessions of a respected biofield therapy called Healing Touch produced an astonishing drop in PTS symptoms in just 3 short weeks - a stunning outcome.

We frequently hear from yoga instructors who play 15 minutes of guided imagery during shavasana, the relaxing, integrative, cool down phase at the end of their classes. They report that this is an added healing component that deepens and enriches their sessions.

Shortly after 9/11, we heard from two clinical social workers who worked with fire fighters, who had zero interest in talking about their feelings. These inspired practitioners instead introduced them to a double-whammy combination of behavioral methods: guided imagery plus EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing). While listening to the guided imagery for Relaxation & Wellness and Healing Trauma, they were taught to tap on alternate legs (or arms) to the beat of the narrative - the critical element is that it's bilateral - you could even move your tongue to either side of your mouth. That was just the ticket for these macho fire fighters: they could stand to do it, and it reduced their distress.

So, talk to us! What other inspired solutions are out there that we need to know about? Can you share your creative solutions with us, and inspire a whole new round of clinical invention?

Hats off to all of you, and happy new year!


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.