How To Break Unpleasant Associations with a Guided Imagery CD | Print |  E-mail
Monday, 07 October 2013

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Dear Ms. Naperstak [sic],
About a year ago, I was going contemplating leaving my marriage (which I eventually did) and I was very depressed.  I used your guided imagery CD   which was of some help.  I have since had ups and downs and right now am quite down again.  However, using the CD now actually brings me back to last year when I was at my lowest instead of helping me.  I cannot listen to the CD without it bringing up very bad memories now.  Any suggestions?  Thanks.

Dear Donald,
I'm sorry you're feeling low, but I'm grateful for the question, because this happens to people a lot.  The bad news, of course, is that you now have a conditioned response to hearing that audio, which brings up unpleasant memories and associations to a very bad time in your life;  but the good news is, this means you have a very strong response to guided imagery and it's a good method for you.  (We hear this most from chemo patients, who used our imagery faithfully during their chemo treatments and derived benefit from it, but now associate the sound of that recording with feeling nauseated, tired, frightened and fuzzy-brained.)
Now the trick will be to use another kind of imagery, preferably with different background music; and you may even need a different voice. So don't even bother with the Depression imagery… it’s time to move on to something else.  Since you responded well to HJ imagery, I would try ourSelf-Confidence audio - that has different background music on it and different pacing.  

Another possibility (and I know this sounds odd) would be our Weight Loss imagery. That has a very strong anti-depressive component to it and also different music as well. And the Posttraumatic Stress imagery is another one - very different music and tone, but with a strong emotional uplift to it.  But I'd only try one of these to make sure my voice doesn’t set you off.  With different music, it probably won't. 

But if it does, I'd go to different practitioner altogether.  We have so many good ones - I love Amy Weintraub's Breathe to Beat the Blues; Emmett Miller and David Illig have some terrific titles that address this as well.  
Good luck and take care.  I hope you feel better soon.

All best,

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Comments (4)Add Comment
written by "Ann Marie", October 09, 2013
This could have been my brief biography, esp the "Weight Loss" CD which I ordered to try to get some control. The music and the imagery snuck into my heart and over the last 12 months healing has begun. Do try some of the other CDs, Donald, since you have a strong reaction to them. At $20 a piece you can't go wrong!
written by Daniel A. Detwiler, MSW, Ph.D., October 09, 2013
I recently purchased the two healthjourneys CD's by Traci Stein. She gives very different advice. Traci suggests that disturbing feelings may be a sign of the need for professional help. The fellow in the story above suggests he had depression when he left his marriage. Belle Ruth always says that the Guided Imagery and Positive Affirmations are not a substitute for medical care. They are not a substitute for therapy either. I think that switching to other CD's is a good idea but these are adjunctive forms of helping and not primary treatment.The fellow above may well need therapy plus the CD's.
written by belleruth, October 12, 2013
Thank you, DD, for stating the obvious. You are of course correct, and this always bears repeating. This is a basic consideration underpinning all my suggestions. I should not take it for granted that this is understood, but keep repeating it. Thanks for commenting.
written by "Ann Marie", October 14, 2013
Just had to add that my second most favorite is "General Wellnes." I love the imagery of the Light - very powerful. And yes, these cds alone would never have gotten my through. I've had excellent therapy, including EMDR. Thanks for stating that, DD. I also was assuming that was part of Donald's picture. It is very necessary to have a human being therapist with you on your journey!

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