A woman who runs an integrative medicine program for a community based hospital asks how to get reimbursement for imagery services, so her program can become more self-sustaining, given some new budget cuts.. Hi Belleruth.

I took your weekend training on guided imagery several years ago. You may remember me... I was the coordinator of the local hospital’s integrative medicine program.

The reason I am writing is to get your opinion on what qualifications someone needs to teach or lead people through guided imagery. Unfortunately, the hospital is in the process of making programatic cuts, and our programs are in jeopardy. I am considering going out on my own in some capacity, perhaps as a holistic nurse consultant/educator/speaker. I am an RN with a BSN, a certification in holistic health from our local university, some formal training in Therapeutic Touch, Healing Touch and your guided imagery. I teach various programs at the hospital and in the community on stress management, including meditation, breathwork and some guided imagery.

I know that in order to receive reimbursement for therapeutic touch and healing touch I need to get additional training. I was wondering what the requirements are for guided imagery. I would be most appreciative of any advice you could offer. Thank you and Blessings.


Hi, Dina!

Yes, yes, of course I remember you. That''s a shame about the cuts, and I hope you can avoid this, because your program is wonderful and ought to remain, thrive and grow!

The two best and most appropriate certificate programs in imagery are offered by The Academy for Guided Imagery, and The Nurses Certificate Program in Imagery. They are both excellent, and provide superb opportunities to advance in skill, learn and practice under supervision. The NCPI program is particularly geared for nurses. You would meet wonderful kindred spirits and colleagues there - I''ve heard nothing but raves from graduates.

But I suspect that this won''t necessarily get you reimbursement from an insurance carrier. In Ohio, you can bill for imagery under psychotherapy or counseling, but you would need some sort of mental health certification at the Masters level, and then a psychologist, psychiatrist or even a general MD signing as supervisor, in order for most carriers to reimburse. Sometimes a medical or psychiatric practice will have an imagery or relaxation expert like you come in under contract, and the work can be legitimately billed under their umbrella. But I''m not familiar with your state''s rules and regs.

I have some suggestions, though.

The Academy for Guided Imagery has a big, annual conference, and it attracts a wonderful (and sometimes raucous) collection of enthusiastic imagery practitioners, trading ideas and networking. This year it''s October 28-31 at Asilomar on the Monterey Peninsula, and it may be worth your while to come to this, if it''s at all feasible. You can see the brochure at http://www.academyforguidedimagery.com/

Luckily, this year the 2 nurses who run the Nurses Certificate Program will also be speaking there. So this would be a terrific opportunity. In addition, your expertise would be most welcome there - many of the professionals who attend are very interested in learning how to build the kind of program you''ve been so successful at creating and managing - and I''d guess there''d likely be interest in having you speak about this at a future conference.

Or, if it''s not feasible for you to attend this year, you could try and contact graduates from your state - (both websites allow you to find local practitioners) and ask them how they deal with these issues. For AGI, you can click on http://www.healthy.net/asp/Associations/AssocSearchOutput.asp?searchstring=MI&srchby=State&Association=Academy+for+Guided+Imagery&AssocID=8 , and for the Nurses'' Program, it''s http://www.imageryrn.com/Practice.htm.

Finally, you can join the free email list at AGI, which is very active, and generous with responses to questions of this sort, at http://www.academyforguidedimagery.com/subscribe.htm.

I hope this helps.

Take care, and I hope to maybe see you on the West Coast in October!