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November 5, 2007

02 Nov
We’ve noticed a substantial bump in interest in guided imagery from the military and the Veteran’s Administration over the past few months. More and more we’re getting new requests for information, research queries, orders...
We’ve noticed a substantial bump in interest in guided imagery from the military and the Veteran’s Administration over the past few months. More and more we’re getting requests for information, research queries, speaking requests and orders from various bases, army hospitals and V.A. centers. This is a very good thing, because recent randomized, placebo-controlled outcome research (especially two studies, in process, by P.I. Jennifer Strauss, PhD, Duke University and Durham V.A.M.C.) is showing how profoundly helpful it can be for reducing the symptoms of combat stress and military sexual trauma.

This is because imagery goes to the parts of the brain that are most implicated in posttraumatic stress - the survival structures in the brain stem and mid-brain - and reaches it where it lives, without causing undue distress. This is unlike talk therapy, which is both less effective and more distressing. Talking and thinking involve the more "uptown" neighborhoods of the brain, which is not where the trauma hides out. Trauma symptoms are all about sensation, perception, emotion, sensory images, muscular reactivity... not logical thinking, analyzing, comparing and contrasting. And that’s the stuff of imagery. That’s a main reason why imagery gets the job done. The two imagery downloads used in the studies were Relaxation & Wellness first, then Healing Trauma.

And it’s not just effective. It’s inexpensive. Portable. Accessible. Downloadable. Bootleg-able, even. It’s so practical an intervention, it’s actually looking good to the Armed Forces, at last, probably due to word of mouth about these yet to be completed studies. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing more and more of this, especially once they’re formally written up (they have been presented at conferences) and published in a refereed journal.

And speaking of downloads, keep in mind you can order a download as a gift, and send a personal message with it on our digital gift card.. a great option for procrastinators or people who don’t have time to go out and shop.

And if you have time, check out this week’s Hot Research. It’s a surprising finding, this meta-analysis out of Toronto, which concludes that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction does not have a consistent, reliable effect on depression or anxiety. I’ll be looking for more studies that will inevitably follow up on this one, because these conclusions don’t match up with all the studies I’ve read that show it has a pretty impressive effect on most things.. so stay tuned.

OK, take care and be well.

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