Addictions Counselor Seeks Good Guided Imagery Scripts

We got this query from a certified hypnotherapist working in an addiction house for men. She's been creating her own guided imagery to help with stress reduction and self-esteem. Not surprisingly, the men have histories of abuse and trauma along with chemical dependency. Here is her question:


Greetings, BR. I am a certified Hypnotherapist working in an addiction house for men.

I use guided imagery for stress reduction and self love. The gentlemen have been abused, addicted to drugs and or alcohol and other unfortunate things.

I make up my own imageries but could use some helpful ideas. Is there a book you'd suggest for ideas on the subject? The feedback has been gratifying, my intentions are for their hearts to heal and bodies to follow.

My resources are limited and I could use some references. Perhaps you've written something I could use or you have an idea of something helpful. Your reply is appreciated greatly.


Dear Katrina,

It sounds like the men in the house are lucky to have you as their supporter and champion. Fortunately, there are many imagery scripts – mine and others' – available for you to use to supplement your own narratives.

As for my work, all three of my books have plenty of guided imagery scripts in them, primarily for clinicians like you to use.

4215bBut for your men, who have struggled with addiction and abuse, I'd focus on the collection of imagery narratives in Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal. These scripts are arranged in order of three stages of healing trauma, starting with helping people learn self-soothing and self-regulation skills – which sometimes can be enough, in and of itself for trauma survivors; then moving on to the more intense and emotionally evocative work of transforming the trauma itself; and finally, for the third stage of using imagery to help remediate the negative after-effects of trauma (including a script for chemical dependency and substance abuse) . So this set of scripts would best target your recovering population's issues and needs.

Other fine scripts abound. Julie Lusk has 2 excellent volumes of general wellness and relaxation scripts, with a clear, concise introduction on how to best use them, called 30 Scripts for Relaxation, Imagery and Inner Healing, volumes 1 & 2.

And finally, there's a classic collection of general scripts for groups by Andrew Schwartz called Guided Imagery for Groups: Fifty Visualizations that Promote Relaxation, Problem Solving, Creativity & Well-Being

You can also find plenty of free guided imagery scripts on the internet, simply by setting up a Google Alert for 'guided imagery'. You'd be amazed at what links will show up in your mailbox each day.

The problem with this approach is, there's no discrimination or clinical judgment involved in choosing what you're given – they're just picked by search word algorithms - so you'll get some very good stuff and some really cheesy stuff, (sadly, mostly the latter), in no particular ranking or order.

I review these regularly, because we're always on the lookout for fine, new mind-body resources to add to our catalog. Some of it is so inaccurate and unskillful it sets my teeth on edge.

So perhaps your best bet is to start with the book recommendations above – get a feel for what these are like – and then go trawling if you still crave more variety.

I hope this helps. Keep up the good work!

All best,


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