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Guided Imagery and Visualization

Guided imagery is a program of directed thoughts and suggestions that guide your imagination toward a relaxed, focused state. You can use an instructor, tapes, or scripts to help you through this process.

Guided imagery is based on the concept that your body and mind are connected. By using all of your senses, your body seems to respond as though what you are imagining is actually real.

For example, imagine that you’re holding a plumb, juicy lemon in the hand, and with you other hand, imagine cutting a thick, juicy slice out of the lemon. Note the smell, color, and texture of the lemon slice, and imagine biting into it deeply, feeling that sour, tart lemon juice making your taste buds curdle as your saliva starts to flow…

While the lemon is imaginary, the saliva is real. What we imagine has physiological consequences, and people imagine all of the time, mostly by worrying. You see, what we worry about is only going on in our imagination, not in the real world. There are two primary types of worries: regretting the past and fearing the future.

When we regret the past, we actually poison the present by bringing to mind past events that we can’t change. We should learn from a past mistakes so that we don’t repeat it, but we shouldn’t dwell on it and allow our inner critic to beat us up with it.

Fearing the future is a total fantasy, for none of it has actually happened except in our imagination. That’s why it’s good to keep in mind the old saying, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow’s a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why we call it “the present.”

Because imagery has physiological consequences, you can easily become deeply relaxed mentally and physically when you imagine all the details of a resting in a beautiful, totally safe, comfortable place, such as a pristine beach or a flower garden. During this relaxed state, your body shifts from fight-or-flight sympathetic dominance to recharging-your-batteries parasympathetic dominance. This has been found to greatly aid healing, learning, creativity, and even performance. It can also help you feel more in control of your emotions and thought processes, which may improve your attitude, health, and sense of well-being.

Our patients have used guided imagery to promote relaxation, which can lower blood pressure and reduce other problems related to stress. It’s been used to help them reach goals (such as losing weight or quitting smoking), manage pain, and promote healing. Guided imagery has even helped them to prepare for an athletic event or for public speaking.

While it’s not a panacea for all conditions, guided imagery has also been found to be particularly useful in the management of chronic pain, anxiety and depression, PTSD, cancer and many other acute and chronic diseases, injuries and illnesses.

Guided imagery is safe and no known risks are associated with it. However, guided imagery is most effective when the person teaching it has had professional training in the use of guided imagery techniques. At The Bresler Center, personalized guided imagery is provided by Dr. Bresler and therapists who have been certified in Interactive Guided Imagery(sm) by the Academy for Guided Imagery and who have had several years of clinical supervision in utilizing guided imagery techniques.

You can also purchase or download a variety of Dr. Bresler’s guided imagery programs by visiting our store which you can access by clicking here.