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Guided Imagery


Updated July 26, 2009


Guided imagery is a system of visualization that can be used to help in relaxation. In guided imagery, you are led to imagine all of the details of a particular situation. A common example is the visualization of an orange. First, you will picture the orange, how it looks, the details of the peel. Next, you will imagine yourself slowly peeling that orange, allowing the juices to flow. You will then imagine the details of the orange’s flesh. While focusing on the smell, you will imagine yourself taking a bite. Most people find that they salivate and may even be able to taste the orange.

Guided imagery can be used to help you imagine yourself in a place where you feel completely secure. Some people choose a garden in the afternoon, rays of sunlight gently peeking through the trees. Others select a moonlit pond. Those who suffer from agoraphobia may choose to picture themselves at home in bed, covers over their heads.

The point of the exercise is to help you relax. Once you learn to lead yourself through the guided imagery, you will be able to invoke your secure spot at will, even in the middle of confronting your phobia. This, in turn, can help you become more confident in facing your fear, knowing that you have a way to stop the waves of panic and fear.

Guided imagery can be learned on your own but is best taught by an experienced professional. The exercise is considered safe, as you are able to enter and leave the deeply relaxed state as you choose.

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