A therapist who already uses imagery and does Inner Child work asks about other ways to help survivors of severe abuse, particularly those suffering from excruciating body memories and flashbacks.. Dear BR,
I am a therapist working with survivors of severe abuse. Often these women have excruciating body memories related to the abuse - flashbacks, etc. I have found that imagery and inner child work provide almost miraculous results - but would like to have further guidance in this particular area - (body memories). Any thoughts?

Dear Kris,
I agree that imagery - including imagery that incorporates inner child work - is very powerful for helping survivors of severe abuse. For many, being guided to become the protector of the abused child they once were, is a very healing, empowering and freeing experience, that can do more than weeks of plain, talk therapy.

In my forthcoming book, (Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal I suggest a combination of guided imagery, techniques such as Peter Levine''s Somatic Experiencing; body work with a skilled massage therapist or myofascial release specialist; journaling and other forms of self-expression; moving meditation and/or physical exercise, such as qigong, tai bo, aikido, yoga, karate, belly dancing or aerobic walking; use of prayer and ritual; and more. You may want to consider joining me for one of our upcoming workshops on imagery and trauma - you can find a fairly updated listing of my calendar events at http://www.healthjourneys.com/events.asp .

And I would also recommend to you Peter Levine''s excellent CD set, Sexual Healing; Suzanne Scurlock Durana''s superb CD set, Healing from the Core; and my own guided imagery, Healing Trauma or the Trauma Pack.

I hope this is helpful. All best to you as you pursue this critically important work you are doing - and don''t forget to take good care of yourself as well!