After doing about 3,000 sessions working with trauma survivors, delving deep into the subconscious mind and transforming their lives, in every session with my clients I either use imagery with them or give them imagery to work with on their own.
Next to mindfulness it's the second most powerful healing tool in our human tool belt.
So, How does imagery help me to heal the wounds from the past and move on?
I can tell how comfortable a client is with accessing, addressing and expressing their true emotions sometimes by their ability, or lack of ability, to picture or imagine certain things throughout our Emotional Clearing and Trauma Recovery session together (where I use gentle guided imagery to help others heal through past traumas which have been holding them back, creating sabotage in their lives or ill physical/mental health).
If someone cannot even imagine a beautiful outdoor sanctuary in which to frolic and explore, for example, that is a sign that some level of safety if missing for them in terms of loving and accepting themselves.
Their true self - you know, the one with dark shadowy pieces that lurk, bend and weave their ways through our lives, yep, that true self.
Or when we get to the part where someone chooses a color from that gorgeous sanctuary to imagine moving through their body as we start the gentle guided meditation session, I can tell a lot by the color they choose.
Is it green? Then we will be working on clearing the heart chakra of love and fatherly connection that day.
Pink? Something to do with Mom.
Is it blue? Then we will be working to clear away the blockages that stop them from speaking their truth, expressing themselves and feeling understood clearly.
There are hundreds of more images and meanings that occur in just one session that tell me so much about the healing that is taking place or that is needed that day or in sessions to come.
Some people get stuck on a certain part - they cannot picture a scene where their caregiver was responding lovingly to their child self; they have trouble moving color through; or the image they see is a big nasty icepick poking into their side.
So, it stands to reason that if the subconscious mind is creating image representations of these past mini- or not-so-mini- traumas and events in our lives, that when we delve into the mind and begin to touch upon, clear away or transform those images that in some way we are communicating with the subconscious mind.
We are telling it, commanding it, to move on from the past and to be truly present.
When we are truly present we are not responding or reacting to life through the lens of the past.
We are responding with the fullness of our authenticity.
We are responding to this moment, right here when our child or partner’s anger is really a cry for help and we can see it for what it is, rather than getting pulled into joining their rage or despair.
We can see our ego wanting to run, yet again, from the unfamiliar healthiness of a romantic partnership and stop ourselves from taking the old path.
We can watch as our old habits of dodging what needs to be addressed and face it head on instead.
We can even use imagery to heal things that we cannot access.
By picturing ourselves over and over again, for example, releasing the oars of an upstream rowing canoe we are commanding our subconscious mind to find a way to release the struggle and resistance we’ve been engaging in perhaps in work or in an important relationship.
So, by using imagery we create a bridge, a connection, we develop the language necessary to get down to the nitty gritty, where all the hidden shadows of our psyche are and we can touch it. We can reach out and speak to the subconscious in ways that create and manifest change and the transformation we seek.
By taking a client to the moment of trauma and imagining it playing out differently we are allowing the adult mind, the current wiser and more evolved self, to guide the trapped and stuck parts of ourselves to freedom.
We are speaking the language of the subconscious mind and telling it that it is time to move on.
Into the here and now, into the present, where the threat it thinks still exists, is no longer an issue.
Imagery can create emotions that connect us to new possibilities, new realities, and allow us to step into a truer version of ourselves than we ever knew existed. Imagery can help us become more us.
My clients have amazing stories of transformation as we work together.
People who they haven’t spoken to for years pop up suddenly, or even reach out to make amends; they change jobs or pursue their dreams in new ways; they find their old patterns and reactions start to slip away and they’re no longer encumbered by the things that used to hold them back; their marriage partners give up addictions without them even asking; they begin accessing new levels of security and stability in their lives.
I’ve really heard it all! We have so much more power lying latent within the subconscious mind and imagery can help us tap into this hidden reservoir.