About the Therapy
When you have your session, the type of therapy intervention used is dependent on individual need and what is required at each stage of the therapy process. Usually, it will be a mixture of Guided Imagery & Music (GIM) and Music and Imagery (MI) approaches, both explained below.
Guided Imagery & Music
Guided Imagery and Music is a powerful method of depth music psychotherapy designed to support and help people with their mental health, anxiety, depression, trauma, self-exploration and insight. Talk, music experienced in a deeply relaxed state, and creative work, all contribute to exploring the area of need. Working with music, words, and art allows for a deeper, more holistic, powerful, and insightful exploration of feelings and difficulties. Each session has the potential to become a transforming, reparative experience where your own imagery will guide you to greater understanding and wellness. The symbolic depth of the imagery generated tends to stay with you and exert its subtle, beneficially transforming influence on you between sessions in a way much more powerfully than words alone. As each session tends to generate so much information, sessions are usually held every two weeks, making them very cost effective compared to other psychotherapies. The session falls into four sections:
In this part of the session, you talk about whatever is on your mind - like in a traditional talking-therapy or counselling session. Potentially, there will also be an emotional check-in, and review of previous sessions and their imagery. All of this is in preparation for the music travel.
You recline or lie down comfortably with closed eyes while the therapist guides you through a progressive body relaxation until you are feeling completely relaxed and prepared for the music travel.
The Music Travel
This is the heart of the guided and imagery experience. In your deeply relaxed state, the therapist plays you a programme of carefully selected music. As you're listening, the therapist will guide you through the experience, deepening your connection to any generated imagery and the music. In the deeply relaxed state, you will probably find that your responses to music become much more acute and strongly emotional and that your mind and body will generate responses such as visual images, feelings, sensations, memories, intuitions, and other sensory responses.
In the postlude, the client and therapist explore the imagery together and reflect on its significance for the area of need. Often, the therapist will invite the client to capture some aspect of the music travel in an artwork completed before verbal processing begins, this can take the form of a mandala or free image (see examples of actual client creative work on this page).
The postlude has an integrating function, weaving the threads of the conscious information from the prelude, with the more unconscious material and imagery from the music travel, into something personally meaningful to wonder at and reflect on between sessions.
Used with Permission
About Music & Imagery
Music & Imagery Therapy is a continuum of methods incorporating listening to music in a relaxed state and responding with artwork. It is supportive and collaborative. You and the therapist gently and thoroughly focus in on one aspect of your experience and explore it fully and creatively.
If you have experienced trauma, music & imagery approaches can help you build up inner resources and strength, allowing you to feel regulated enough to begin the process of working through difficult memories without feeling overwhelmed or disassociated. The session falls into four sections:
The prelude begins with openly talking about your concerns. Previous sessions and your reflections on them are reviewed. The therapist invites you to explore any positive experiences you have had - in the case of supportive music & imagery, or any challenging experiences you have had - in the case of re-educative music & imagery.
The focus is gradually narrowed, and you choose one important memory or experience, whatever feels most pressing or emotionally potent. This is thought about more fully, but principally for its underlying feeling. The therapist then plays you a selection of music extracts related on an emotional and energy plane to your chosen focus. You choose the music which fits best, or matches certain aspects of the experience.
The therapist will invite you to close your eyes, if you're comfortable to do so, and take a few deep breaths to centre and calm yourself. The therapist describes back to you your chosen experience using your description of the experience.
The Music & Imagery
This is the heart of the music & imagery experience. Once the music begins, you are invited to open your eyes and express something about the experience most commonly through artwork, but potentially in any expressive creative arts modality. The same piece of music is played repeatedly until you have finished.
The experience of the music and artwork is explored. The therapist supports you to focus and stay with the emotional core of the experience, helping you to honour and retain it as an inner resource. You are encouraged to reinforce the positive experience at home with appropriate music, and call upon the resource to support you as necessary.
I am a music therapist specialising in Guided Imagery and Music, a powerful method of depth music psychotherapy. I am qualified in several different types of music therapy. I am a Fellow of the Association of Music and Imagery, qualified in music and imagery, neurologic music therapy, and have a master's degree in improvisational music therapy. I have presented at conferences and elsewhere mostly on inclusive, non-discriminatory practice in therapy. I regularly conduct training on mental health and other psycho-social themes.
I am particularly interested in inclusive practice and specialise in working with clients who are working through the emotional consequences or trauma of discrimination, or simply being or feeling different to others.
I am a supervisor for other creative arts therapists, and an approved supervisor on the Trauma Informed Schools Project. I have undertaken additional training and courses in existential psychotherapy, working with bereavement, safeguarding, resilience, and dramatherapy.