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Guided Imagery and Psychotherapy in Medicine

THE WISDOM OF THE BODY

Healing the Body, Healing the Self: Guided Imagery and Psychotherapy in Medicine

by Leslie Davenport, MS, MFT

Leslie Davenport

Leslie Davenport

“I don’t recognize myself: My body doesn’t feel the same at all. And suddenly there is a division between myself and the people I love. I’m in the ‘heart attack’ club now, and my family has no idea what this is like. Friends are becoming strangers, and strangers in cardiac rehab are becoming friends. Everything has been hijacked: my vitality, my spiritual beliefs (this doesn’t happen to someone like me!), my financial security, my future. I have no idea who I am anymore. And I’m terrified.”—Daniel

Daniel’s story is familiar to me. Having offered psychotherapy with guided imagery to hundreds of patients with severe illness and injury, I have seen how multiple losses—physical, spiritual, and psychological—stemming from a health crisis deconstruct a core sense of self, leaving them feeling like a stranger in a strange land.

Guided imagery has proven to be a valuable tool for helping patients find a safe harbor within themselves during these extremely stormy times. Guided imagery, which incorporates relaxationtraining, is a natural, meditative process that reliably offers direct access to inner strengths and clarity of mind. But more than simply providing respite during distress, imagery can help patients reconstruct their sense of self with an even greater depth and meaning than before their health crisis. Let’s follow Daniel’s recovery to get a glimpse into the role imagery can play in healing the body and healing the self.

Daniel was not familiar with guided imagery, but he came to my office on the recommendation of his cardiac rehabilitation team, who prescribed imagery as a useful stress management technique. His physician had related to me the level of terror that accompanied the days immediately following Daniel’s heart attack. In addition to addressing his known fears and concerns, imagery guided Daniel into areas of surprising levels of healing.

To see the full article please download:

Guided_Imagery_and_Psychotherapy_in_Medicine, from San Francisco Medicine Magazine,  June 2008

_______________________________________________________________________

Leslie Davenport, MS, MFT, is a psychotherapist
in private practice in Kentfield,
California, and also in the Health and Healing
Clinic at California Pacific Medical Center in
San Francisco. She was the founding director
of the Humanities Program at Marin General
Hospital in 1989 and has more than twelve
years of teaching experience at universities including
Cal State University, Hayward; Mills
College; Holy Names College; the University
of San Francisco; and JFK University. She has
established imagery programs in five Bay Area
hospitals and consults internationally. Daniel’s
story is an excerpt reprinted from her upcoming
book, Healing and Transformation Through
Self-Guided Imagery, published by Celestial
Arts, an imprint of Ten Speed Press, Berkeley,
California. It is currently available for presale
on Amazon. Leslie Davenport can be reached
at (415) 459-4235, or by e-mail at Alchemy.
of.the.Heart@gmail.com.
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Leslie Davenport, MS, MFT, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Kentfield, California, and also in the Health and Healing Clinic at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. She was the founding director of the Humanities Program at Marin General Hospital in 1989 and has more than twelve years of teaching experience at universities including Cal State University, Hayward; Mills College; Holy Names College; the University of San Francisco; and JFK University. She has established imagery programs in five Bay Area hospitals and consults internationally. Daniel’s story is an excerpt reprinted from her upcoming book, Healing and Transformation Through Self-Guided Imagery, published by Celestial Arts, an imprint of Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, California. You can order if from her website, where  California MFTs and LCSWs can also find more information about earning 5 CEUs for reading her book.

Leslie Davenport can be reached at (415) 459-4235, or click e-mail to send an e-mail.

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