The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) is a music-centered psychotherapy. It uses music to evoke a variety of images, body sensations, emotions, and memories. This can help a person move through difficult issues, reflect more deeply on their life’s journey, and make choices that result in a more meaningful life.
I can’t guarantee that GIM will help every client, although I do believe it can help many. However, clients who are most likely to succeed in therapy tend to have these characteristics:
- You have realistic expectations. You don’t expect your life to change overnight or even next week or next month. You know that a smooth transition takes time, and you’re willing to allow that time. Also, you’re patient and ready to take the steps necessary to make a major life shift.
- You’ll do what it takes to create the life you were meant to live. You’re open to new ideas, willing to step out of your comfort zone even when it’s difficult, and ready to take action. You’ll give it your best effort when working with me. Furthermore, you won’t allow doubts and fears to turn into excuses that stop you from moving forward.
- You’re willing to face and overcome challenges as you move from what you’re doing now to a life that inspires you and fills you with enthusiasm. You face obstacles with the determination that you will succeed and overcome them. You believe that with hard work, the right resources, tools, and support you can do it.
Perhaps you have been involved in traditional talk therapy successfully for years but have recently found that you are feeling “stuck” or “blocked” in your progress. Or maybe it worked for you in the past, and you simply want to try a different approach this time. Many people find that GIM gets to the heart of the problems they are dealing with more quickly. This music-centered approach works as a mind-body intervention to connect you with your own deepest wisdom. It is a means to develop greater self-awareness, wellness, and creativity in transforming personal, career, health, and relationship challenges. I am continually awed by the power of music to help you in achieving goals, developing greater confidence in your own inner resources, and making choices that result in a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
Research has shown that GIM can be very effective for people experiencing depression, anxiety, and PTSD. It can also be beneficial for those struggling with self-esteem problems, relationship difficulties, or lifelong dysfunctional patterns. Also, people undergoing cancer treatments and those with chronic pain have experienced benefits from GIM. It’s typically not recommended for people experiencing a severe mental health crisis or those too young to understand what’s happening. People diagnosed with Alzheimer’s/dementia usually don’t gain much benefit.
In a GIM experience, one becomes a “traveler” on an inner journey with the GIM therapist working as a guide to assist the process. Sessions generally last 1 to 1½ hours.
Each session begins with a discussion of significant issues and concerns of the traveler. A focus or intention is agreed upon, and the guide chooses appropriate music for the session. Once these preparations are complete, the traveler lies down and closes his/her eyes. The guide helps the traveler into a relaxed and focused state and then begins the music.
- The Music Experience
The music evokes images, sensations, and feelings. The traveler and guide talk together about the unfolding “journey”. The traveler describes the experiences stimulated by the music while the guide supports and encourages. The program of music usually lasts 25 – 40 minutes.
- Closure and Integration
When the music ends, the guide helps the traveler gain closure and return to an alert state. The remainder of the session is spent reflecting on the images and experiences and, if appropriate, their relevance to life issues.
The imagery in GIM is not directed from a script, and it does not come from the guide. The imagery unfolds from the person experiencing the session in a spontaneous manner stimulated by the music. This process works easily, without having to think about or plan the imagery. You simply go with the music, and allow the process to unfold.
GIM music playlists are chosen from the great masterworks of composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart and many others. However, some playlists include more modern New Age selections. Most of the selected music was researched by GIM founder, Dr. Helen Bonny and formulated into these specific music playlists. GIM therapists are trained in the use of these programs and the methods necessary to create an optimal environment and assist travelers in their imagery journeys. Also, your musical likes/dislikes are taken into consideration when choosing the music used during sessions.
If you think music therapy and/or GIM might help you, I’m always happy to answer your questions. Feel free to contact me during typical business hours, and we can talk about how we can work together.