Guided imagery (also known as guided affective imagery, or katathym-imaginative psychotherapy) is a mind-body intervention to guide participants in generating mental pictures which recreate sensory experiences from memory or imagination. Such sensory perceptions may precipitate strong emotions or feelings. It is used to help work on challenges arising from trauma, sleeplessness, depression, anxiety, disease, addiction, fear, and bipolar disorder. It is also used in hospital settings all over the world to help patients prepare for surgery and to heal more quickly by calming and calling forth the full resources of the nervous system. It may also be used for general relaxation, clarity, focus, and energy.
The tools that work so well are neither complicated nor expensive. They're interventions that ping on the primitive structures in the brain, where posttraumatic stress sits and wreaks its havoc. These are tools like guided imagery, relaxation, meditation, hypnosis, and breath work.