Imagery International Blog

Your source for the latest news about Guided Imagery, Imagery International, workshops, articles and products from our members.

Archive for the ‘Cancer’ Category

You Are Not a Statistic

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

An excerpt from In Sickness as in Health: Helping Couples Cope with the Complexities of Illness
by Barbara Kivowitz (Author), Roanne Weisman (Author)
Roundtree Press (January 15, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1937359131

This is taken from Kevin Pho, MD blog Look for a Doctor Who Understands Healing

You are not a statistic

Ironically, the surgeon who repaired her heart also left her heartbroken. While he and the neurologists may have considered it their obligation to present what they envisioned as the truth, they assumed too much. Statistical medical probabilities based on aggregate data don’t necessarily apply to an individual, who is unique and has her own potentially miraculous capacities. Statistics can’t take into account one patient’s willpower, another’s deep faith, and another’s reliance on non-conventional healing. They also don’t take into account the enormous value of a loving partner. Yet these factors, along with many others, can sometimes overturn the sentence of even a severe diagnosis.

With the initial shock of diagnosis, the injured person and the partner are extremely vulnerable. They feel as if they have been deposited on an alien planet where the laws of familiar physics no longer apply and the air is toxic. The suddenness of the change means there is a lag time between the new reality and their ability to function within it. All their normal coping skills remain on planet Earth even as they have to immediately learn to breathe in this new atmosphere. In this unhinged state, they naturally seek a powerful guide, and typically grant omniscient status to the doctor.

The doctor becomes the orientation point in this new and frightening universe. Her words signify more than educated opinion; they become oracular. It is as if she can foresee their future and has the potential to return them to safe ground. Linda’s heart surgeon’s parting words were, “Sorry you stroked, but heart-wise you’re fine.” He was satisfied that he had done his job. Anything outside the surgical realm was not his responsibility.

“I felt that he had dismissed me as a whole person,” said Linda. “I was just another surgical case to him.” Had Linda not possessed some abiding source of internal steel, the surgeon’s words might have become her living epitaph.

It is not unusual, in the aftershock of diagnosis, for patients and their partners to either submit silently to the sentence or pummel the doctor with questions as they desperately seek loopholes through which they can squeeze their fading hopes. The doctor remains the focal point. Her words at this delicate moment — where the mind is ricocheting from fear to fear, and the body and soul’s natural healing abilities need encouragement — can have fateful impact.

Tallulah Lyons Power Point

Friday, January 10th, 2014
Tallulah Lyons

Tallulah Lyons

Distilling the Magic from Dream Imagery was Tallulah Lyons, MEd topic at our 5th Annual Conference.  Her Power Point presentation is now available for your viewing pleasure and education. We thank Tallulah for the inspiration and hope that her talk offered.

Tallulah is co-creator and co-director of the Cancer Project (now called the Healthcare Project) conducted by the International Association for the Study of Dreams from 2005-2013.

She is the author of Dreams and Guided Imagery: Gifts for Transforming Illness and Crisis (reviewed in Dec. issue of ImagiNews) and Dream Prayers: Dreamwork as a Spiritual Path.  She frequently writes articles including one in the Sept. issue of ImagiNews. She is on the staff of two cancer wellness centers in Atlanta hospitals, and has facilitated groups with cancer patients and offered presentations across the country for fifteen years. She is on the faculty of the Haden Institute Summer Dream Conference. Tallulah’s passion is to bring the power of healing imagery into all areas of integrative healthcare. To learn more about Tallulah Lyons, visit her website:  Click HERE to Read an interview with Tallulah Lyons. Click HERE to listen to a podcast interview with her.

Podcast Interview: Imagery and Times of Transition

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

October 2013 Conference Speaker Linda Blachman: Anything Can Happen: Transition as Transformative Journey towards Renewal of Self, Life and Story

Linda Blachman

Linda Blachman

Linda Blachman, author of Another Morning: Voices of Truth and Hope from Mothers with Cancer, Life transitions Coach, Imagery Guide and Life Change Artist Coach talks with Lea Bayles, Program Director of Imagery International. Linda discusses how her ten years as founder and director of the Mothers Living Stories Project  and her own experience with illness shaped her perspective on the power of imagery in times of transition.  In Linda’s coaching business, Choose Life! she helps clients transform the turmoil of life transitions into a creative journey towards growth, healing and renewal.

Click HERE to visit Linda’s website.

Best book in the Self-Help Category

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Congratulations Maureen Minnehan Jones.  Her book, Wisdom to Wellness: Healing Your Emotional Sufferings so the Physical Healing Can Follow, is the winner of the 2012 International Book Awards. It has been awarded best book in the Self-Help Category!

Maureen Minnehan Jones

Maureen says, “It is a thrill to be honored! My vision for Wisdom to Wellness is to give people the tools to embody the gift of health worldwide. Through my passionate commitment and life work devoted to healing, I envision inspiring and bringing hope with this new breakthrough view and method universally.”

Maureen is a speaker, author, Registered Nurse, Guided Imagery Practitioner.  Find out more about her private practice on her website Maureen Minnehan Jones.  She is also a staff nurse at Doctors Home HealthCare and a staff nurse/supervisor at American Home Care Education.

In Memorium: Jeanne Achterberg, PhD

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

In Memorium: Jeanne Achterberg

Don Moss
Chair, College of Mind-Body Medicine, Saybrook

Jeanne Achterberg

It is with deep sadness that I announce that Jeanne Achterberg died Wednesday afternoon, March 7, 2012, of metastatic breast cancer.

Jeanne Achterberg was a pioneer in mind-body medicine and complementary medicine. Early in her career, Jeannie collaborated with O. Carl Simonton, studying the quality of imagery in cancer patients. She was able to show that features in the imagery predicted the course of the illness. Since that time, she has championed the role of imagery in healing, the role of the mind and spirit in healing, and the shamanic role of the healer.

Jeannie went on to serve in the Office of Alternative Medicine, co-chairing the panel on mind-body interventions. The OAM grew into NCCAM, the home of complementary and alternative medicine within NIH. She is also a past president of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology.

Jeannie has contributed much to mind-body medicine:  Her books, Bridges of the Body-Mind, Imagery in Healing, Woman as Healer, Rituals of Healing, Imagery and Disease, and Lightning at the Gate, remain best sellers. Jeannie has also given us a personal example of courage in the face of illness. Her book, “Lightning at the Gate“, narrated her own journey with illness.

Jeannie has been a friend and mentor to me for over 15 years. Our mutual friend Lynda Kirk introduced us in the 1990’s, when Jeannie presented a keynote at the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. I am now attending this same meeting, and it is here I received Dean Bob Schmitt’s message and learned of Jeannie’s death. When I first joined Saybrook, Jeannie took the time to welcome me, and continually supported my work with students.  Together Jeannie and I have served as advisors to the new International Network for Integrative Mental Health.

Jeannie has been a friend to the College of Mind-Body Medicine, since its inception. She has extended herself whenever possible to teach our students, especially in the imagery course, and also in theses and dissertations.

I extend my deepest sympathy and support to her companion Mark Harris, and to her family and close friends. She was a woman filled with creativity, compassion, and love, and we will all miss her.

Don Moss
Chair, College of Mind-Body Medicine

Greetings Everyone;

Terry Reed, Jeanne and Susan Ezra

Terry and I received the sad news about Jeanne Achterberg’s passing while we were in Maui.  We just returned last night. And I wanted to share this photo of Jeanne and us taken at our Beyond Ordinary Nursing 2006 anniversary conference in Hawaii. Jeanne presented her research on using fMRI to capture the area of the brain activated in the imagery process.

It was SUCH an honor to have her there.  She was truly a great visionary and trail blazer. If you have not read her book, Lightening at the Gate, you will want to now.
Blessings, susan

A tribute by Marilyn Schlitz the CEO and President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, as well as a researcher, author, speaker, and change consultant is found here. Listen to a downloadable audio recording by Jeanne on “Medicine as Spiritual Practice

Introducing the Amazing Amrita Cottrell

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Welcome Amrita Cottrell.  We offer a great big WELCOME to Amrita Cottrell who has joined us as Office Manager. Amrita is the Founding Director of The Healing Music Organization and the Co-Director of The Crystal Sound Institute.

Amrita Cottrell Office Manager

Her work in sound and healing music came from her own amazing recovery from breast cancer in 1999, when she was able to eradicate two tumors in as little as six weeks with the sound of her own voice. Amrita has a degree in the Health Arts and Sciences and is an inspiring teacher and public speaker. Also, she is an accomplished musician and singer. Her music artfully blends her playing of crystal singing bowls with her high, clear singing.  She has shared her healing story and her work with the crystal bowls at the United Nations, as well as the NY Times and CBS News.

“I joined the staff of Imagery International because I really believe in the work. Having been through some dramatic health challenges in the past, and using visualization to assist in my healing, I wanted to support the great work of Imagery International. I’ve been involved in the work of healing with sound and music for the last twelve years. Imagery is just the perfect complement to the other work that I’m doing and would like to learn more.”

Thanks for joining our staff Amrita. We look forward to lots of great work and times together.


Cancer Imagery Up-Regulates Immune Function

Monday, July 4th, 2011

Cancer Imagery Up-Regulates Immune Function After All by Belleruth Naparstek, Monday, June 27, 2011

Belleruth Naparstek

Hello again.

I’ve been looking at the research and pondering how far we’ve come from those early days when we were first learning about guided imagery as a possible, bona fide addition to the cancer treatment toolkit.  

Back in the 80’s when guided imagery was first getting promoted by Bernie Siegel, Stephanie & Carl Simonton, Jeanne Achterberg and Frank Lawlis, there was a lot of excitement about its potential.  Early pilot studies showed a lot of promise (early studies often do – perhaps because of the excitement the investigators feel about their intervention), and there was a lot of talk about how ‘visualization’ could wipe out cancer cells.  People were encouraged to imagine Pac-Men, a popular video game at the time, eating up cancer cells, before, during and after chemotherapy.

In those days, the imagery was strictly visual – the other senses were not called into play – and that made it hard for the half of the population that’s not especially well wired for visual memory or fantasy.  We’ve since learned that all the senses need to be brought to bear, and that perhaps the most potent and impactful sense is the kinesthetic one – imagining the feel of things inside the body. We also figured out that for most people, when the imagery has a strong emotional flavor to it, it gets potentiated to a greater extent and has more impact. 

The research at that time showed that the proponents of visualization were over-promising.  These early visualizations helped cancer patients with motivation, coping, anxiety and the side effects of chemotherapy and other medical procedures  but didn’t make a dent on the progress of the cancer itself.  Investigators reluctantly backed off from their ambitious early claims and stuck with side-effects and coping benefits.


Linda Blachman – Choose Life!

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

CHOOSE LIFE! – Making the Most of Life Transitions

Linda Blachman

All the world is just a narrow bridge. The main thing is not to fear. – R. Nachman

May 2011

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I am pleased to announce the launch of my life transitions coaching and guided imagery practice, a complement to my ongoing work with personal histories and legacies.

Whether self-initiated or forced upon us, transitional times can feel like standing on a bridge in a fog of confusion. Wanting to avoid discomfort, we may miss the opportunity to delve deeply enough to make wise life-affirming choices and thoughtful plans for crafting the next chapter.

After an extended transition of my own, I am called to help others learn to use times of challenge and change for growth, healing and renewal. My mission is to help my clients navigate inevitable losses and uncertainties and take the necessary steps to author a new narrative. Together we review the past and release what is no longer needed; identify sources of authenticity, vitality and joy; visualize and plan the future; and move towards meaningful goals, all the while living with awareness in the present moment.

We discover our truth by telling our stories. (more…)

A Cancer Resource

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

The Guided Imagery Collective’s vision is to see Guided Imagery and other forms of imagery related therapies being at the forefront of a new wellness/self-care movement that empowers the client/patients to become a major part of their own deep healing process.

This is a website inspired by a family member’s struggle with colorectal cancer.  It contains a wealth of beautiful images and information.

A case for tool building and a deeper guided imagery through pattern language
February 28, 2011

From Cobb to Winkelman to Alexander. A winding path into pattern language and guided Imagery

The intention for this blog is to share a rich synthesis of two works as kind of scaffolding for a deep guided imagery that has evolved from a third work which has been explored in earlier blogs, that of Christopher Alexander’s concept of a pattern Language. Each, reflect a holistic spirit mindbody integration and supports the spirit (neuro-theological if one sees living systems as luminous) conversation that is core for a guided imagery pattern language and additive on its own merits to the already well researched/documented evidence-based studies for guided imagery generally; Edith Cobb’s The Ecology of Imagination in Children and Michael Winkelman’s Shamanism – A Biosocial Paradigm of Consciousness and Healing.

Click here to read the rest of the blog.