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February 25, 2008

22 Feb
Imagery for Frustrated, Weary Caregivers the Top Request

Responses to our question on which topic next, yielded a clear winner - imagery for those caring for ageing parents, mentally ill children, disabled spouses, difficult patients..
Imagery for Frustrated, Weary Caregivers at the Top of Your List

I want to thank everyone for their suggestions, sent in response to the question about what my next guided imagery topic should be. So far, the most requested topics were two sides of the same coin:
  • imagery to support caregivers looking after loved ones with difficult, frustrating conditions (ageing parents, mentally ill children, disabled spouses, etc etc); and
  • help for people living with disability.

Just to give you an idea, here is what one wise and sensitive home health care trainer had to say. It’s feedback like this that helps enormously when it comes time to create some new imagery:

I''m just writing to reinforce the requests for some guided imagery for caregivers. I work with both family and professional caregivers and am always looking for better ways to help them out.


I have been teaching a general stress relief class for a few years now and have recently decided to develop a class that focuses solely on the use of guided imagery to help these caregivers. The guided imagery portion of the stress class is always everyone''s favorite so it seems a natural.


Although there are a multitude of issues with which caregivers have to struggle, the things I hear the most complaints about are lack of patience, the resultant guilt from feeling they''ve been impatient too often, dealing with unpredictable behaviors (all kinds), feeling powerless much of the time. I have tried suggesting the combination of affirmations and guided imagery to help with this feeling of helplessness so many caregivers express and people do say it helps some.


I often have nurse assistants who work in nursing homes express feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by the combative behaviors or just nasty treatment they receive from those for whom they are caring. I no longer feel like telling them things like, "They can''t help it; you just have to be patient and de-stress later." is a sufficient answer, and would like some better strategies for dealing with those feelings.


We of course talk about using validation and similar tactics to lessen the behaviors but, again, it is only a bit helpful and there are still lots of negative feelings flying about as they deal with these situations.


Thank you for listening to this lengthy email and bit of info and thank you for all the great work you do. L.

The next most requested topics were:

  • help for creativity blocks
  • skin disorders, like psoriasis and excema
  • dealing with the end of a relationship

We got fewer requests for this wide array of topics:

  • help with bone health
  • immune boosting for colds and flu
  • autism spectrum
  • bipolar illness
  • being in the present
  • love addiction
  • parenting stress (not unlike caregiver stress)
  • grief for a pet
  • mindful spending/financial stress
  • anger control
  • acceptance of body changes that come with ageing
  • disentangling from an abusive relationship
  • motivation for exercise and self-care
  • polycystic ovary syndrome

There’s still time for you to get your two cents in, so do write if you haven’t already.

All best,

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