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Guided Affective Imagery

Remapping the experiences that hold us back

Stressful or overwhelming experiences can have a profound effect on every aspect of what it means to be human; how we think, feel, behave, and relate. 

Neuroscience shows us that this impact begins in the brain. When we experience a traumatic or painful event, a pathway is created in the brain that can be activated whenever we encounter similar stimuli.

Over time, the activation of this well-worn pathway can result in narrow and habitual ways of processing emotions, thinking about ourselves, and responding to the world. 

The long-term effects of an unresolved hurt or overwhelming experience can evoke symptoms severe enough to impair our quality of life such as anxiety, depression or emotional dysregulation.

Guided Affective Imagery (GAI) is a therapeutic intervention, designed to “remap” these pathways and heal an underlying or unresolved issue at its root. It is used in conjunction with talk-therapy and can often add a laser-like focus on unresolved issues that can be effective where talk-therapy may not have been.

The process allows for our own imaginative resources to deal with trauma in a gentle and yet powerful way, promoting healing and resilience from the inside-out.

Process

Healing from the inside-out

The process of GAI involves the creation of a safe and relaxed space that allows for any struggles to emerge in the form of imagery.

Neutral scenes are offered up by your therapist, as a place upon which problems or pain can enter awareness in symbolic form. Here, these inner conflicts or unresolved experiences can be explored, processed and healed.

As these experiences come into awareness through imagery, your therapist is alongside you every step of the way offering support and therapeutic interventions that are designed to interact with, explore, confront, process and reconcile your pain.

You are supported to repeatedly access your internal resources, harnessing your innate ability to heal and grow. As this occurs, the brain starts to interpret the struggle in a new way, allowing for new pathways to be forged that are absent of the old neurological symptoms such as anxiety, fear or pain.

The power or influence of these past experiences on our daily living is then extinguished or greatly diminished.

Benefits

Resolution and resilience

GAI is a model of psychotherapy that encourages the transformation of pain, conflict, or incongruence into more effective ways of thinking and dealing with emotional stress.

The process is a deeply introspective and respectful way of releasing our creative abilities from the repression brought on by personal trauma.

When the brain is no longer constrained by the same old ways of responding, clients are freed-up to access to their inner resources more fully.

This allows for a wider variety of more satisfying ways to connect, both to ourselves and the people we care about the most, to emerge organically.

Through the cultivation of new and more effective coping mechanisms, we can also deal with struggles of everyday life more effectively and experience a more grounded, centered version of ourselves.

GAI nurtures our need to feel safe and secure and for our inner and outer worlds to be in harmony. 

Applications

How can Guided Affective Imagery help me?

GAI can be helpful if you are dealing with any of following:

  • Trauma and abuse
  • Chronic or life altering illness
  • Family of origin experiences
  • Emotional Intimacy
  • Anxiety or depresion
  • Unresolved emotional pain or conflict
  • Emotional regulation issues
  • Grief and loss
  • PTSD
  • Unmet attachment needs
  • Resentment and forgiveness
  • Procrastination or lack of motivation