Guided Imagery and Music (GIM)

Guided Imagery and Music (GIM)

The Helen Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (BMGIM) is a receptive form of Music Therapy.

BMGIM involves listening to specially designed programmes of mostly classical pre-recorded music in a deeply relaxed state. Each carefully selected program evokes imagery in the form of symbols, associations, sensations, feelings or memories. These images are shared with the therapist who guides the session and helps to deepen the process and explore its connection to the music. When the client is ready BMGIM can be a powerful process as the music has the power to move straight to the heart of feelings, experiences or insights

BMGIM can be offered for:

  • People experience changes and seeking support and clarity in their lives
  • People facing cancer and other life-threatening/limiting conditions
  • Anyone seeking support for a bereavement
  • Those experiencing anxiety or depression or needing a change in their lives
  • For abuse and trauma survivors
  • Anyone who is looking for personal development using a more creative approach
  • Trainees in creative arts therapies or psychotherapy as part of their personal therapy
  • Musicians seeking to explore their relationship to music

What happens in a session

An individual session usually lasts between one and a half to two hours.

The session has four stages:

1. Prelude

This stage includes a discussion between the therapist and the client about how the client is feeling, what they want to explore and what they are hoping to get out of the session

2. Relaxation / Induction

The client is encouraged to relax in a sitting or lying down position (in any way they feel more comfortable) while the therapist is nearby for any support. At this stage the therapist helps the client to reach a deeply relaxed state through visualisation and focusing eg on their breath before the music begins.

3. Journey with Music

This is the main part of the session and it lasts between 30-45 minutes. The client and 'images' to this music and shares these images with the therapist as they emerge. The therapist at this stage supports the client to unfold and deepen these images, feelings or sensations and helps in connecting them with the music.

4. Postlude - Integration

At this final stage of the session the client is assisted in moving from the deeply relaxed state while the music was on back to normal consciousness. When the client is back to normal consciousness their experiences can then be processed through talking and/or through drawing or even by improvising with the therapist on a range of easily accessible music instruments.

For more information contact Olivia our HCPC registered music therapist and Fellow of association of Music and Imagery.

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