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Monthly Archives: August 2011

  1. Reducing Combat Nightmares in Vets

    Researchers from the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston evaluated a group treatment called "Imagery Rescripting and Exposure Therapy" (IRET) for Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic posttraumatic nightmares. (There is a good summary of imagery rescripting tx here.)

    IRET is a variant of a successful imagery rescripting treatment for civilian trauma-related nightmares that was modified to address the needs of the Veteran population.

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  2. A Cancer & Surgery Survivor/Thriver Tells Her Story

    Listening to guided imagery helped me so much 4 years ago when I was dealing with breast cancer. I am a cancer thriver today, even though the chemicals were debilitating, I never missed a night of sleep using that chemo tape and restful sleep tape.

    I found in the process that I was more auditory, and use affirmations now. Guided imagery helped but was a little more difficult for me to do.

    These tapes and the experience of cancer profoundly affected my Life, so that each day I wake up with gratitude. I also continue to find the daily, mundane tasks in life so profound. This has not changed in four years and I do not believe it will for the rest of my life (and I plan to live a long time).

    One of the loneliest times on this earth I have felt is in pre-surgery. I had 5 surgeries in 2 years. Each time a nurse would come in and try to stick me for intravenous hook ups. After 4-5 times it would get so old. Finally I became assertive and asked for the most professional, experienced person to do the job.

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  3. Dad Asks How to Make Imagery for Son with Bone Cancer

    Dear Belleruth:

    First of all, as a hypnotherapist, I know for a fact that guided imagery is very helpful, and I greatly appreciate everything that your company is all about.

    My question pertains particularly to guided imagery for children. It seems to me that they could benefit more from guided imagery tailored to how children see things, with wording that is more simplified for their mind level.

    I was wondering your opinion on the subject, as well as seeking advice on creating my own custom tape for my son. Andraez was just recently diagnosed with metastasized osteosarcoma. The doctors are talking Chemo, of course, as well as amputation of his arm and lung surgery. I immediately took him with me to Beijing to get an Eastern opinion, as I've heard some very good things, where I found that they would never consider losing the arm or doing the surgery.

    But perhaps more importantly, I created a custom imagery tape for him, based primarily on his inputs; his pictures of what the cancer looks like, attack cell armies and fighters, the healing and rebuilding process, and finally a detailed slide show of all the things he wants to accomplish in his future. Self love, happiness, strength, etc, are used heavily throughout. Anyway, I sure would like to hear from you. 

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  4. Rules for the Road on Martha’s Vineyard

    There are no traffic lights on this island – just one blinking light, appropriately named “The Blinker” – so what keeps driving civil here is a core road etiquette that’s subtly enforced with small town tools of the trade: the frown, the eyebrow lift, the pursed lip, the sardonic smirk and the occasional scold.  It usually takes a new vacationer about three days to get the hang of driving here.  It’s one of the best demonstrations of the power of community norms and small-town social control I’ve ever seen (and I grew up in a small town).
    The actual rules aren’t half bad either – a nice metaphor on how to live. They result in a surprising amount of civility on an island where the population explodes from 16,000 people in winter to 106,000 in summer.  (And just for the record, this place is not just for Chardonnay-sipping, effete, flush-pocketed blue bloods and preening celebrities; it’s loaded with multi-hued blue collar and middle class people, speaking Portugese and Canadian French and South Bostonese, too.  And the blue bloods mostly drive beaters and take reverse pride in dressing shabbily.)

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  5. Help for Profound Grief

    Dear Health Journeys and BR,

    I am 64 years old. I was married for nearly 4 decades. Two years ago I lost my husband to a long, debilitating illness. Even though his death was expected, I was devastated. I became distraught, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Every day was a burden. I became deeply depressed. I just wanted to sleep so I wouldn’t feel the pain of the loss of my dear husband and best friend. My daughter made me see a counselor.

    I feel that this wonderful, gentle, wise counselor and the guided imagery for grief that she gave me to listen to each day saved my life. I am not exaggerating. The imagery was a great comfort to me. I actually looked forward to it each evening. It became an oasis of peace, a time I could touch my husband again, through the love I still felt for him and always will feel for him. It was a time when the hurting and loneliness stopped. At first this was only while I was listening, but later on it spread into other parts of the day. It was a blessing and I wanted to say thank you.

    Emma P, Henry’s Wife

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  6. How to Persuade Insurers to Use Mind-Body Tools

    Dear Belleruth,
    How can I as a social worker advocate to insurance companies to integrate these tools more into practice for reimbursement?  What’s the secret to your success in doing this?
    John P.

    Dear J.P.,

    In the short term, you can fold guided imagery or mindfulness based stress reduction or relaxation training or whatever you’re doing right into an existing reimbursable category of treatment: psychotherapy, stress reduction or the like.  Your patient is going to need help with reimbursement and you don’t want to make a special case of something that could be covered under the general rubric of what you do anyway.

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  7. Imaginal Desensitization Helps Pathological Gamblers

    Researchers from the University of Minnesota School of Medicine’s Dept of Psychiatry sought to examine whether the gains found in a recent study of treatment of pathological gamblers with 6 sessions of imaginal desensitization plus motivational interviewing (IDMI) held up at 6-months post-treatment.

    Sixty-eight individuals who met DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling were randomly assigned to 6 sessions of IDMI or a Gamblers Anonymous (GA) referral over an 8-week period.  Participants who failed to respond to GA were offered IDMI after the 8-week acute treatment period. All individuals who responded to IDMI were contacted after 6 months and assessed with measures of gambling severity and psychosocial functioning.

    Forty-four participants completed 6 sessions of IDMI (25 initially assigned to IDMI and 19 to GA). Thirty-five of the 44 (79.5%) responded during acute treatment, and all 35 were available for a 6-month evaluation.

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  8. Upcoming Conferences & Training Opportunities

    I must remember to tell you about some important upcoming conferences and training opportunities.  

    The 3rd annual Imagery International's Conference: "Hope and New Beginnings" is held at the Mercy Retreat Center in Burlingame, California, from Sept 30-Oct 2 (early bird deadline is Aug 25).  Details are at Conference chair Jann Fredrickson Ramus tells me that this content-rich, highly convivial conference was sold out last year, so you may want to check this out soon.  This is the only conference I know of that focuses specifically on the practice of guided imagery.

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  9. Recovery via Fly Fishing for Wounded Warriors


    This week’s inspiring story comes from a letter we received from Sandy Stutz with Project Healing Waters - a group of fantastic folks who are dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active duty military personnel and veterans through fly fishing education and outings. We donated some guided imagery to the program and she was writing to say thank you. 

    Dear Belleruth:

    For the past 4 years, my husband and I have produced the Falling Spring Invitational Fly Fishing Outing for wounded warriors in Central Pennsylvania.  Thank you for your support with these special De-Stress and Healing Trauma CDs, which we tucked into the gift tables of our warriors as they departed the outing and headed back to Walter Reed. From conversations with the troops, we discovered that guided imagery was not an option normally afforded them – only meds. Thank you for enabling me to be a small part of the program to share your works on a personal basis to these warriors.... 


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  10. Ideal Resources for a Mind-Body Recovery Program

    Dear Belleruth or HealthJourneys staff:

    I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has been using your Meditation to Support Recovery from Alcohol & Other Drugs for 7 years now in the day treatment program of Kaiser Permanente's Addiction Medicine Department in Los Angeles. (Actually, I "inherited" the cassette - subsequently upgraded to CD - from my predecessor, who had used it for several years.) For most day treatment patients, it is their first introduction to meditation of any kind, and the vast majority love it.

    I will soon be starting a series of classes in the clinic that I am calling Mind-Body Recovery Techniques. It will incorporate Tai Chi, Qigong, and Mindfulness (and other forms of meditation).  Participants will include members of the clinic's Chemical Dependency Recovery Program and Codependency Program. I am writing to ask which CD you might recommend and to get a few more details about the numbers and timings of tracks than the website descriptions provide.

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