What is Guided Imagery?

Guided imagery is basically using a story of sorts (often a kind of choose your own adventure) to get a client to use their imaginations to explore the problem in more depth and sometimes to resolve it. Guided imagery is something that some hypnotherapists do a lot with, and some of us do hardly anything with it…

Some therapists love it, some of us hate it. This is not a judgment–some of my favorite colleagues use a tremendous amount of it–but I personally don’t use it very much with a few exceptions: I sometimes use it to deepen a client, create an initial framework, for group hypnosis, to explore issues, or to help a client who’s a bit apprehensive to experience trance.

Some hypnotherapists use it for everything: the induction is a guided visualization, then so is the hypnosis itself (e.g. you’re on a journey of self-discovery). They’ll likely deepen and pull you out of trance with guided imagery. That’s great for them and it often works wonders for their clients, but I would much rather explore issues with clients so they clearly know what’s going on and then use the imagery already in your mind in order to facilitate a space of change. I feel like that works much better for me and the clients I see–it’s also often a lot faster, less painful, and more straightforward.