Fighting a Diagnosed Illness

Cancer.  Diabetes.  High blood pressure.  Heart disease.  A doctor has just said one of these words to you, and you then heard nothing else.  You feel like you can’t breathe.  You feel your heart pounding.  You don’t’ want to die.  You feel scared, numb, paralyzed.  Your head is swimming – you can’t think, or worse, your mind is racing.

Guided IMAGERY for healing addiction counseling trauma THERAPY

The fight, flight, freeze response, just kicked in, and it's really not good for your health.  It helped our ancestors avoid immediate danger.  However, when the danger persists over time, as with an illness, then the fight/flight/freeze response hurts more than helps.  Please don't go through this alone.  Your MD will put together a medical team to physically help you fight your illness.   Let me help you as an emotional support team to help deal with everything else; fear, anxiety, grief/loss of feeling safe, betrayal (by your own body...)

Medical Research Supports The Use Of Guided Imagery To Fight illness

The University of South Florida College of Nursing reported that guided imagery intervention may indeed have an effect on heightening immune function, after they found a significant differences between their control group and the guided imagery intervention group, while studying immune function in breast cancer patients.

Psychology Suite 101 reports that “if you’re looking for a way to ease chronic pain, speed the healing process, or reduce anxiety and stress, consider guided imagery.  It’s an alternative therapy that’s noninvasive and drug-free.”   The publication explains that guided imagery “sends direct, positive messages to the emotional control center of the brain.  Those messages then travel to your immune system and autonomic nervous system, which affects your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rates…You let positive hormones flood your body, and you concentrate on keeping that positive energy strong.  Your body can’t differentiate between reality and thoughts…you imagine positive events – and your body responds in healthy ways.” 

Imagery is at the center of relaxation techniques designed to release brain chemicals that act as your body’s natural brain tranquilizers, lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety levels.  Researchers find that these techniques work for headaches, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and spastic colon.

Guided IMAGERY for healing addiction counseling trauma THERAPY

Helps Treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

            The US Veterans Administration as well as the Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health researched guided imagery’s usefulness in treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD.)  They reported significant improvements in the reduction of nightmare frequency and intensity, increased positive mood states, improved sense of self and others and improved cognitive and emotional functioning.

 

Mayo Clinic

Guided IMAGERY for healing addiction counseling trauma THERAPY

            The world-renowned Mayo Clinic describes Guided Imagery as “…a learning process to listen to someone’s voice, relax the breathing and consciously direct the ability to imagine.  The effect of guided vivid imagery sends a message to the emotional control center of the brain.  From there, the message is passed along to the body’s endocrine, immune and autonomic nervous systems.  These systems influence a wide range of bodily functions, including heart, breathing rates and blood pressure.  The Mayo Clinic goes on to state that Guided Imagery provides the following benefits to clients:

  • Reduces the negative side effects of cancer treatments.
  • Reduces pre-surgery fear and anxiety, post surgery need for prolonged pain medications, and allowed clients to leave the hospital more quickly than those who had not used Guided Imagery.
  • Improves the client’s ability to manage stress.
  • Aids the client’s ability to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches just as effectively as taking preventative medications.

Many Research Hospitals Have Studied The Benefits Of Guided Imagery

Guided IMAGERY for healing addiction counseling trauma THERAPY

Researchers at such prestigious sites as Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, Massachusetts General Hospital, Yale, and Michigan State University have all done studies on the effectiveness of guided imagery.  Their topics ranged from treating canker sores, to treating depression, to mental and physical pain, and cancer.  All concluded that guided imagery significantly improved the overall quality of life for the participants, by reducing symptoms such as pain, improving their immune response which improved their recovery rate and shortened the length of time of their illness, and improved their self-esteem.

 

The University of South Florida College of Nursing reported that guided imagery intervention may indeed have an effect on heightening immune function, after they found a significant differences between their control group and the guided imagery intervention group, while studying immune function in breast cancer patients.

Cleveland Clinic Research Findings

The Cleveland Clinic states, “Clinical studies have shown that anxiety can intensify pain, prolong recovery time and lower the immune system.  Guided Imagery can bring about the state of mind and body most conducive to healing.”  This article goes on to state the benefits of guided imagery:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Decrease pain and narcotic consumption
  • Enhance sleep
  • Increase client’s satisfaction and quality of life

Medical Librarian Association

The Cancer Librarians Section of the Medical Librarian Association states that Guided Imagery “…is considered a complimentary therapy that works well with traditional treatments.  Guided Imagery can reduce stress, anxiety, enhance personal awareness, and improve psychological coping skills.” 

Noted Guided Imagery Therapists, Charles D. Leviton, Ed.D. and Patti Leviton, M.A., teach us that “The value of imagery is that imagery can diagnose a problem, provide options for change, and even promote healing and personal empowerment.  Its primary purpose is to allow the body to relax, healing the physical and emotional aspects of self.”

The Principles Behind The Effectiveness of Guided Imagery

We discover from Health Journeys Magazine the Three Principles of Guided Imagery, which are:

Guided IMAGERY for healing addiction counseling trauma THERAPY
  1. The Mind Body Connection.
    1. Images are events to the body.
    2. To the body, images created in the mind can be almost as real as actual events.
  2. The Meditative State:  The power of the meditative state; In a meditative, relaxed state, we are capable of a more rapid and intense emotional and physical healing, and intuitive insight.
  3. The Locus of Control
    1. The importance of feeling in charge
    2. When we have a sense of being in control, and have available to us a simple technique that we can use whenever, wherever and however we wish, we support our sense of wellness, self sufficiency, and self-esteem.

I wish to acknowledge the following publications used in the compilation of this fact sheet:  University of South Florida College of Nursing, Dartmouth Medicine, Vital Signs, Winter, 2005.  Psychology.suite.101.com.  Holisticonline.com.  Health Journeys.  Mayo Clinic – Enhance Healing Through Guided Imagery, January 2, 2008.  Hartford Hospital at www.harthosp.org, Charles D. Leviton, Ed.D and Patti Leviton, “Inner Peace Outward Power,” 2007.   Cleveland Clinic Guided Imagery Fact Sheet, 2008.  Cancer Librarians Section, Medical Library Association, 2002.

Successful therapy is life changing therapy.   Let me show you.  I offer a higher level of care - a healing touch to the soul.

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Dr. Mickey Wilson, PhD LMFT

Guided IMAGERY for healing addiction counseling trauma THERAPY

Newport Beach Office

Guided IMAGERY for healing addiction counseling trauma THERAPY