Jun 02

Guided Imagery Exercise

One of the most powerful modalities for healing trauma is guided imagery. This is a process whereby you’re lead to decide what it is you want to work on and to come up with your own images for ways of addressing it. In other words you are lead through a process in which you tap into your creativity to further healing.

The guidance for this process can come from a recording, video, or experienced coach / therapist. As you become experienced with this method you’ll be able to create your own imagery sessions.

The power of this approach is in directly accessing your subconscious mind for positive change. This is much more than positive thinking, and it works very much like the placebo effect which is scientifically substantiated. If change were merely up to your conscious mind, you would have made the change already, right?

In one of my earlier sessions of guided imagery I was led to a place of deep relaxation and to imagining a picture of the problem and then the process of healing, followed by what the healed outcome looked like for me. This was a very powerful visualization that only took about fifteen minutes. I still occasionally take a minute or two to recall the images and always experience immediate relief.

The problem I wanted to address was a constricted breathing pattern whereby the diaphragm is not flexible and breathing is shallow. The image that I pictured in the session was that of a small bound-up stick person; ropes were wrapped tightly around the belly and chest area. The word I came up with to represent this was “bound”.

Next I imagined the ropes loosening and falling away, or becoming “un-bound”. And, the last image I came up with was a fuller, relaxed, un-bound, happy guy. The drawing represents what I saw. unbound

Most importantly, I vividly imagined and felt each of these three stages.

Two things have occurred over the months since doing this imagery exercise: My breathing is becoming less constricted (more free) because I have less tension in my stomach area (diaphragm). I’m also experiencing a more relaxed state more of the time, along with all the attendant benefits of a better regulated nervous system.

Click here to contact me if you’d like to know how guided imagery can help you with healing trauma.


  1. Viv

    Hi I had just written a message that was probably like three pages long so I could probably use a nice calming meditation right now because I’m a little pissed off colorist and there’s nothing I can stand morning then when I write something with my heart and put a lot of thought into it and then it gets erased on the phone it drives me absolutely insane! So, with that being said I will try to remember some of the things I said and will not be able to write so eloquently because my patience has been cut short but since that is all part of recovery and my initial reaction was just to say forget it I am going to try my best to rain again and not feel upset about it ~Lol 😊.. .
    So anyway, my name is Viviane I happen to be lucky enough to know the person that started this site and I want to say to you that I think it is absolutely amazing like you’re doing it is such a beautiful tribute to recovery when somebody takes their own healing and turns it around to bring the knowledge that has brought them hope and recovery and so many different ways in hopes of helping others.
    And isn’t that really what it’s all about ?!
    Trauma, with its insidious nature in this life, unfortunately, is not only rampant, but also crosses through all faith, ethnicities, race, gender etc. While it varies for each individual, I don’t think I’ve met A person yet that hasn’t been traumatized in someway or another.. Like in talking with you (~This site’s creator) The other day, we discussed how even things beginning in childbirth such as a child being taken away from its mother in the hospital room while screaming and then put in to a little plastic box in the nursery with all the other screaming babies… Isn’t that a trauma?! .. . I think you mentioned, which is a very good point, about male children being circumcised, there is no doubt in my mind that that is indeed a trauma… Quite a barbaric trauma no less.
    You talk here about visual imagery.. Which I am a huge fan of. I’m an extremely visual person and it often helps me to see something in order to understand it rather than just to hear about it and I’m a strong believer in that with such strong emotions that are brought up in trauma related situations, especially with children or severe trauma cases, sometimes the emotions are just so fierce, scary or just plain confusing that expressing them three words it’s just too difficult/ overwhelming, or threatening.
    This is the main reason I think that visual imagery is so important because some people find it much easier and also creatively soothing to express themselves through pictures, images, collages, or even abstract art ..etc.. .
    The picture you show as is a really great example of this.. You explain it quite well how you felt found within yourself but those are your feelings and your words and someone else may describe it differently let me look at the picture and know exactly what you mean.
    Another thing your picture brought up for me is the depth of the injuries that we received from drama because it isn’t only mental torment that we have to live through in our lives if it comes so that it is woven through us it’s just like any other disease and physical elements can also become prevalent.. As you mentioned you had felt a restraint within your abdomen, in your words “a bound feeling, “I to do the ears suffered excruciating headaches and migraines because of my and less restless thoughts which also induced insomnia which would perpetuate the headaches and continued on in the cyclical pattern..
    I have a lot more to say on all the subjects but I’m not going to bore you or the readers so I’ll stop now but I just want to again thank you for making this site I has a trauma survivor o’clock you because I know that for me my highest goal is to help others and turn all the long-term pain into a helpful beautifuL & well-deserved gain! Because we do have plenty to gain.. By helping, we gain empowerment & pride, not to mention the satisfaction of helping others and by healing we can regain our strength and our self-confidence our knowledge that we matter, we were never at fault and we deserve to Live a blessed healing life ~ VivLivz2Love~*~

    1. admin

      Viv, Thank you for your comments and insights. I appreciate your endorsement of guided imagery as I’ve found it to be a particularly powerful modality for healing. Best wishes on your continued healing journey. ~ Brad

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