Can Guided Imagery Prevent MRI Panic in a Severely Claustrophobic Person?

We got this email from a person who has used our guided imagery with great success. It's a great story that we believe you'll enjoy reading.

Dear HJ,

On the advice of a medical social worker friend, I tried your pre-surgery program for an upcoming reconstructive operation. My friend said her hospital recommended it for all its pre-surgery patients, and that research has proven it to be effective.   

I listened to it faithfully, twice a day, for 5 days before my date with the O.R.  I’m not an especially anxious person, but I was feeling dread and fear about this surgery.

This program absolutely overcame any anxiety or dread I felt. I was calm and confident and at no point during pr-eop, surgery, or post-op was I disturbed in any way. I was awake during the procedure but don't remember it.

Because of my surprisingly good experience, I decided to use it to help me deal with my severe claustrophobia before an MRI I knew I had to have.

I suffer from extreme claustrophobia, to the point where, for example, I MUST sit on the aisle, very close to the exit door at a theater. I arrive early, just to get that seat. I avoid elevators and will not use the subway. Even half empty buses get me hyperventilating.You can imagine how I felt about the prospect of being locked up in a noisy tube.

I began listening to program for Panic Attacks one week before the procedure, each time with my eyes covered. I fell asleep every time and never heard the end of the program. 

When the time for my MRI came, the tech played the CD during the procedure, I covered my eyes. I had absolutely no problem whatsoever. I didn't even have anxiety beforehand. I can't believe I was in a tube for 20 minutes without suffering a panic attack. This was a miracle of Biblical proportions, as far as I’m concerned.

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