I just read about a new, NIH-funded study that begins this month, right here in Northeast Ohio, by a terrific agency called FrontLine, which serves the deinstitutionalized mentally ill, homeless, traumatized and suicidal people of Cleveland and surroundings. They do very hard work and they do it really well.
The study investigates the effectiveness of guided imagery, listened to for 10 minutes, 3 times a week, for 4 weeks, during part of lunch hour, for reducing anxiety, stress, burnout, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma in 126 staff people; and to see if they continue to listen to it after the study is over.
The full description is here: http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT02191345. We’re going to follow this study with great interest to see how it goes. My biggest worry is that these service staff, the minute they feel crunched (which is all the time), will just work through their lunch hour without taking the 10 minutes to listen.
Here is a wonderful post that appeared on the blog of a Registered Dietician and Wellness Coach named Chere Bork. It’s from Terry, an oncology nurse who uses guided imagery as part of her daily wellness regimen, for stress reduction and weight loss. She credits guided imagery when she answers friends and colleagues who ask how she manages to do everything she does. Check it out:
I came across guided imagery several years ago working as an oncology nurse with patients getting chemo and radiation treatments. The patients were provided with guided imagery CD’s. I started to listen to see what we were giving them. I found it so helpful to myself, that I bought a stress reduction CD. I have listened to this for years. More recently, I am using a weight loss CD.
We got this email from a woman who described her experiences with guided imagery for pregnancy and delivery, under a wide variety of circumstances, for several pregnancies and deliveries. As you can see, this has been sitting in our files for a while – she’s talking about using cassettes!
When I was pregnant with my first child, I used your pregnancy and labor cassettes throughout my pregnancy. I had the labor affirmations on repeat play during my whole delivery and had a wonderful, drug free, birth experience.
I got pregnant again a year after my son was born and miscarried. We were devastated. I was hesitant to listen to the tapes when I got pregnant again a few months later, as I knew there was the line about knowing when it is time to let go.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Engineering and North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Massachusetts studied whether patients leaving residential alcoholism treatment with a smartphone app to support their recovery had fewer risky drinking days than controls.
A randomized clinical trial involving 3 residential treatment programs in the Midwest and northeastern US included 349 patients who met the criteria for DSM-IV alcohol dependence when they entered residential treatment.
They were randomized to treatment as usual (n = 179) or treatment as usual plus a smartphone (n = 170) with the Addiction-Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System (A-CHESS), an application designed at the University of Wisconsin to improve continuing care for alcohol use disorders.
We’ve gotten good feedback on it, and we think it’s cleaner, easier to navigate, and way more user- and smart phone-friendly. Now we’re tweaking it, page by page, trying to make design and architecture work with maximum speed and efficiency, at that level.
So, before we get too far afield, I thought it would be a good idea to check back in with you again, now that you’ve had more time to fiddle around with it, to see what you have to say, what you want next.
Any complaints? Confusions? Irritations? Surprises?
Can you find what you’re looking for?
Is there anything that makes zero sense to you?
Can you still find the research articles you’re looking for?
Was it easy to use the shopping cart?
Is the Q and A database still easy to check in with?
Is there anything you’re finding more difficult than before?
Here’s a wonderful example of how one man’s intuitively based, spontaneous imagery healed his past and helped him dramatically with what had been his difficulty making decisions.
Actually, I’ve heard a lot of stories like this one, especially when I was working on my second book, Your Sixth Sense, which was on intuition and imagery.
I love Wolf’s story – it’s fresh, altogether inspired and ingeniously healing. The best stuff can just pop like this into people’s heads from their innermost, smartest self...or perhaps from someplace way smarter than that.
In any case, he didn’t orchestrate it. It just showed up… and, as it happens, did some heavy lifting for him.
This study used a 4-part guided imagery recording designed specifically for pregnancy-related stress. It was created and narrated by the researcher. Some ideas from Staying Well with Guided Imagery were used in the development of the imagery.
Interestingly, the positive effects in this study were greatest at 8 weeks, and got no better after that, even though the study went to 12 weeks. This was similar to what Jennifer Strauss found in her 12-week study of sexually traumatized veterans who used guided imagery at the Durham V.A. – maximum benefit was achieved at 8 weeks. Dr Strauss wound up deciding that 12 weeks was overkill, and a subsequent study was designed to shorten the imagery intervention to 8 weeks.
My husband has been having a repeating nightmare about me being hurt by a
robed attacker with a knife. I've been researching what we can do to help him.
This has been going on for four months. He's becoming aggressive and
can't focus on much. He broke his nose in a drunken stupor last week.
I've sat on the phone with him for hours, reassuring him that everything is
okay, that my angels are looking after the both of us and that I’m fine, but it
is taking longer and longer to calm him down.
I'm clinically depressed most of the time now, and I try to hide it but that
upsets him too.I tell him I’m getting
I feel responsible, and I am. I love him, and I need to find a way to help
Please, email if you have anything, proven or not, that I may be able to do in
order to help get rid of this recurring nightmare.
As you may know, Health Journeys has hundreds of professional clinicians who sign up to be part of our Professional Program, mostly so they can get discounted materials for the people they work with. They order so much of it, they feel they should get a break on pricing and we totally agree. (Like me when I was in practice, they lend out their stash of recordings and books and don’t always get them back…. Generosity can become an expensive proposition!)
Our practitioners – social workers, psychologists, nurses, docs, clergy, coaches, midwives, acupuncturists, PT’s and OT’s and massage therapists - often ask us about when and how to integrate guided imagery into their practice.
It’s a complicated but juicy question. Let me try to address a piece of this for starters, and if you’re interested, we can do more of this. (And if you don’t want to wait, there’s a pretty comprehensive chapter of Guided Imagery Wisdom and Tactics in Chapter 10 of Invisible Heroes.)
For those of you over 50 who are avoiding that dreaded colonoscopy appointment, this hilarious piece by Pulitzer-winning humorist, Dave Barry, just might get you laughing your way into the procedure room. This is why we decided that this qualifies as an Inspiring Story. We found this on a blog, cleverly named “semicolon”, that offers advice and survivor wisdom to those struggling with colon cancer, (I assume the blogger had a chunk of colon removed, and thus the “semi” moniker).
So, here is the piece. Enjoy! And for heaven’s sake, get your check-up – it’s not so bad!