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SOWK6190/SOWK6127 Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Intervention. Week 9 – Imagery and Homework Dr. Paul Wong, D.Psyc.(Clinical). Imagery. Numerous clinical observations suggest that an individual visualizing an imagined scene reacts as though it were actually occurring;

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Sowk6190 sowk6127 cognitive behavioural therapy and cognitive behavioural intervention

SOWK6190/SOWK6127Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Intervention

Week 9 – Imagery and Homework

Dr. Paul Wong, D.Psyc.(Clinical)



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  • Numerous clinical observations suggest that an individual visualizing an imagined scene reacts as though it were actually occurring;

  • “Induced" images can have a profound effect on behavior. The usefulness of guided imagery techniques have been shown to be effective in helping individuals learn or modify behaviors such as:

    • learning to relax;

    • changing or controlling their negative emotions in response to a particular situation

    • eliminating or reducing undesirable behaviors (smoking, obesity)

    • increasing effective pain management coping with difficult situations (a difficult boss)

    • learning new and desirable behaviors (assertiveness)

    • becoming more motivated (doing homework between therapy sessions)


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Guided imagery techniques have been applied to— and found to be effective or show promise with—a variety of populations, including individuals with:

  • phobias

  • mild to moderate depression

  • generalized anxiety disorders

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

  • sexual difficulties

  • chronic fatigue syndrome

  • children's behavioral disorders

  • stuttering

  • acute and chronic pain (and other physical disorders)


Identifying images
Identifying images to be effective or show promise with—a variety of populations, including individuals with:

  • Elicit a spontaneous image a patient has had; or

  • Induce an image (“Could you picture it now?”)


Educating clients about imagery
Educating clients about imagery to be effective or show promise with—a variety of populations, including individuals with:

  • Some clients do not report images to therapists because:

    • Their images are too graphic and distressing; and

    • Reluctant to re-experience the distress or fear the therapist will view them as disturbed.

  • Normalizing and teaching the client about images help to reduce her anxiety and make it more likely that she/he will be able to identify the images.


Responding to spontaneous images
Responding to spontaneous images to be effective or show promise with—a variety of populations, including individuals with:

  • Following images to completion;

  • Jumping ahead in time;

  • Coping in the image;

  • Changing the image;

  • Reality-testing the image;

  • Repeating the image; and

  • Substituting, stopping, and distracting oneself from images.


Inducing imagery as a therapeutic tool
Inducing imagery as a therapeutic tool to be effective or show promise with—a variety of populations, including individuals with:

  • Rehearsal of coping techniques;

  • Distancing; and

  • Reduction of perceived threat.


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Homework to be effective or show promise with—a variety of populations, including individuals with:


Ongoing homework assignments
Ongoing homework assignments to be effective or show promise with—a variety of populations, including individuals with:

  • Behavioral activation;

  • Monitoring automatic thought;

  • Biblotherapy;

  • Reviewing the past therapy session; and preparing for the next therapy session.

    If not sure, please check pp.251-253.


Increasing the likelihood of successful homework
Increasing the likelihood of successful homework to be effective or show promise with—a variety of populations, including individuals with:

  • Tailoring homework to the individual;

  • Providing a rationale;

  • Setting homework collaboratively;

  • Making homework a no-lose proposition

  • Starting homework in the session; and

  • Remembering to do homework;


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