Mental Imagery and Visualization Chapter 20
“Imagination is more powerful than knowledge.” -Albert Einstein
An Historical Perspective of Mental Imagery and Visualization • Origins date back to Freud and Jung in modern psychology • Most likely used for millennia by people of all cultures • Shamans used visualization to heal tribe members
Mental Imagery and Visualization • Mental imagery involves unconscious thoughts that become conscious in the effort to heal or make whole. • Guided mental imagery is a variation wherein images are suggested by another person. • Visualization is a conscious thought process directed toward self-improvement.
Mental Imagery Research • Mental imagery has been the focus of many clinical studies to determine the effectiveness of this technique on many types of illness, most notably cancer. Additional case studies reveal the merits of this approach time and again, where the unconscious mind is invited to actively participate in the healing process.
Mental Imagery as a Relaxation Technique • Just as real or imaginary thoughts can trigger the stress response, relaxing thoughts can promote the relaxation response. • When imagination is used to promote relaxation, the body’s five senses are in effect deactivated or desensitized to stressful stimuli.
Healing Visualization Tips from Dr. Patricia Norris • Image must be idiosyncratic • Image must be egosyntonic • Image must have a positive aspect • Image must be kinesthetic and somatic • Image must be anatomically correct • Employ constancy and dialogue • Employ the healthy blueprint aspect • Employ the treatment with the image
Three Categories of Mental Imagery • Tranquil natural scenes, or images that place one in a natural environment. • Behavioral changes, or images that allow one to see and feel oneself performing a different, more health-conscious behavior. • Internal body images, or images of trips inside the body to observe damaged or diseased tissue being healed or repaired.
Color & Light Therapy • Research into visualization also includes color and light therapy • The color blue appears to have a relaxing/healing effect. • Full spectrum lighting is known to have a healing effect too!
Mental Imagery & Chronic Pain • Has been used to identify and alleviate chronic pain, particularly the use of mental imagery and the power of the unconscious mind
Steps to Initiate Mental Imagery and Visualization • Assume a comfortable position • Relax (concentrate on breathing) • Adjust attitude toward receptivity
Steps to Initiate Mental Imagery and Visualization • Select a visual theme (beach, forest) • Allow your mind to enrich the image • Utilize all the body’s senses
Best Application of Mental Imagery • Mental imagery can be done just about anywhere (before giving a speech, before an exam, falling asleep, etc.) • A technique that doesn’t require much time • Many Olympic and professional athletes use this technique • List five situations where this technique would be appropriate • Please, do not use this technique while driving!!!