A sensitive psychiatric nurse who helps to treat rape survivors wants to know what kind of imagery would help this agitated and fearful population during their necessary but upsetting GYN exams.. Dear BR,
I am a psychiatric nurse who helps to treat trauma victims. I''ve recently come across a dilemma of a female who was raped numerous times, now needing a GYN exam. Is this covered in your trauma pack? I''m sure she is not alone in this. Patients like this one need imagery to help them get through this traumatic but necessary medical procedure. Help! Thanks.

Dear Claudia,
You are right that there are scores of rape survivors who have understandable difficulties with subsequent GYN examinations, and you are right again that they could very much use some guided imagery to help them get through it.

The imagery of ours that I would recommend is entitled Relaxed & Awake during Medical Procedures and it has enough relaxation, gentle distraction, and multi-sensory images of safety and support to make the experience a lot more palatable and sometimes even pleasant. The imagery recruits a lot of cognitive and perceptual space that would otherwise be allocated to worry and fear, and it’s good for MRI’s, CAT scans, invasive surgery, angiograms, laparoscopies and other yucky procedures - the GYN exam, under these circumstances, would certainly qualify. Traumatized people with PTSD tend to respond very readily and deeply to altered state techniques like imagery, because of the dissociated trance state they were in during the time of their attack. So it is, in fact, an intervention of choice.

Unfortunately this particular title is not in the Trauma Pack, as it has many applications that go beyond trauma.

All best wishes on the work you are doing. Your patients are lucky to have a sensitive nurse in the room with them who is willing and able to be proactive about their care and their comfort.