The Power of Imagery to Heal

I feel quite passionate about our ability to use our imaginations to create a more positive and loving future. When we use the term “imagery,” it does not simply refer to the visual field, but to all of our senses. Dr. Jeanne Achterberg, a leader in imagery exploration and application, refers to imagery as “the thought process that invokes and uses the senses: vision, audition, smell, taste, the senses of movement, position and touch. It is the communication between perception, emotion, and bodily change.”

The well-known cognitive-behavioral psychologist and researcher, Donald Meichenbaum, has been a proponent of practices that involve imagery, explaining that imagery helps a person to be able to experience a sense of internal management. Psychoanalysis has used imagery with free association and dreams. Jungian psychology invokes imagery in a huge way with active imagination, dream work, and exploring in depth the metaphoric meanings around archetypal images that are both collective and unique for each individual. Gestalt and humanistic practices honor imagery for both amplifying experiences in the present moment and building upon personal awareness and responsibility. Indigenous practices have always involved imagery.

One of my favorite statements is from Piero Ferruci, well known for psychosynthesis, who said “Images can either imprison us or liberate us. We can be their unconscious slaves and let them govern our lives, or we can deliberately put their immense power to effective use. By clearly imagining a possibility, we automatically bring it closer to actualization. Therefore, we can intentionally use images to aid our purpose in coming into full, embodied existence. And we can do so by thinking of the next appropriate step in our human evolution.”

There are some wonderful resources out there if you are interested in learning more about the power of imagination to heal. Here are a few solid resources: ~ Here, you will find a list of imagery practitioners in your geographic area. Among this list, you will find some of the leaders in this work who have training centers as well as therapy and medical practices. I urge you to join Imagery International if you are interested in this work. I am honored to be the President-Elect of the organization. In addition, the Imagery International Conference is coming up October 22 to 24. The theme for this year is “Imagery for the Future: Illuminating Lives.” This is a relatively small and intimate conference and it will be held at Vallambrosa Retreat Center in beautiful Menlo Park, California. There are only a few spots left for participants. If you would like to come, please register right away, as the cut-off date is Oct. 5th. You may go to the website to register. ~ This is the site for Charlotte Reznick, Ph.D. Her new book The Power of Your Child’s Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety into Joy and Success is sure to be a best seller. ~ This is the site for Miriam Franco, Psy.D., LCSW. She is a researcher and clinician and she specializes in working with imagery for Multiple Sclerosis (also for caregivers). She has been researching several other applications of imagery and she has four specialized guided imagery CDs available for sale on her website. She was the most recent guest on the Imagery International Telechat. If you go to the website, you will be able to hear her interview. ~ This is the site for Martin Rossman, M.D., one of the co-founders of the Insitute for Guided Imagery and interactive guided imagery training. He is a wise and compassionate healer. You may purchase his books and CDs on his website. ~ This is the site for Belleruth Naparstek, LCSW. She is a mover and shaker in the world of imagery. Her website and blog offer cutting edge ideas, research, and products. Her blog contributions offer intuitive insight, sharp intellect, and humor. A must-go-to for anyone who wants to learn more about imagery-work. ~ This is the site for Dr. Meredith Young Sowers, medical intuitive and integrative energy trainer. She offers training in how to use imagery in resonance with your own body and for tuning into those you may work with in healing practices. She is currently working on an intriguing project involving breast cancer. ~ This is the site for Dr. Fred Luskin, a leader in forgiveness research and application. Much of his work involves the use of imagery for fostering compassion and forgiveness (with the added health benefits of such practices). He asserts that anyone may learn how to forgive if they choose to embark on a different journey/story for themselves. ~ This site was developed by its founder, Patricia J. Turner, who started out in marine biology research and had a dream to open a center to honor indigenous peoples and practices. She has certainly fulfilled this dream, bringing elders from around the world together to share with those who are eager to open their hearts and minds to “remember” all of our indigenous roots. She is currently bringing elders into the Colorado wilderness areas to share their wisdom regarding deep eco-spiritual insights and practices with those who are interested in joining in these endeavors. You will find wonderful Arthur Cisneros, a Chumash elder, on the site as well as others.

To ground yourself in a powerful and connected way, I would like to invite you to Dr. Ed Bastian’s site at His new book Interspiritual Meditation: A Seven-Step Process from the World’s Traditions is sure to open your heart to the possibility of transforming our ideas about separateness and for truly understanding what belongingness really means in the bigger picture.

Life is never complete without music, and my dear friends and collaborators for our own guided imagery CDs may be found at

I have been doing a series of radio interviews regarding my book Imagine Forgiveness: A Guide to Creating a Joyful Future. I have had the pleasure of speaking with people in Canada, Texas, Indiana, Hawaii, California, and through cyberspace (with web radio shows). In fact, I have a new (launched in August) half-hour web talk radio show of my own entitled Emotional Pathways where we talk about improving our relationships with ourselves and others and living from our core values. I am getting used to being a host and honing my skill at such an endeavor–an interesting curve for an introvert like me, but it is fun and I am blessed to be able to interview such interesting, heart-centered, and informative guests. Please join us at and scroll down to either my name or Emotional Pathways. They like to call me Dr. Julie around there (Matrix Media) and I am getting used to that as well. My nickname has always been Julie or Jules, as my mother and I shared the same first name.

I hope that you will look into some of the resources above if you are not already familiar with them and with this work. It can truly make a difference in your life. I love to share what has worked for me over the years. If it had not been for mentors, for creative methods of inquiry and expression, for contemplative/meditative practices, and incorporating imagery into my life, I reflect that I would have not have been able to have developed the peace of mind that I continue to build upon, moment by moment, day by day, and into the future. If you have insights and practices to share with others on this website, I welcome you to share with us as well.

Have a beautiful day, friends!


Trackback this Post | Feed on comments to this Post

Leave your Comment