Someone giving a talk on guided imagery asks if the technique is suitable for people suffering from psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, and in a setting like a community mental healt center.. Belleruth -

I recently gave an introductory presentation on guided imagery to a group of counseling interns. The age-old question came up about whether this was appropriate to use with persons who had psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, and in a community mental health setting.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Thanks.

Bob F.



Dear Bob,

Yes, it is indeed a question that comes up a lot. The answer is that for most psychotic conditions, it’s a good method. Many psychiatric hospital units use it as a matter of course, although it is sometimes shortened down to 10 or 15 minutes, in order to be less demanding of concentrated attention. People who cannot sit still (sometimes because of medication, sometimes because of their condition) generally don’t like it, for obvious reasons. And people with severe paranoid psychoses are often excluded from consideration. But most people do pretty well with guided imagery, whether in the hospital or in a community mental healh center type situation. It’s certainly not the first line of treatment, but it’s a nice ancillary one.

I hope this answers your question.