Why Guided Imagery Can Resolve Separation Anxiety and Attachment Issues
We got the perfect question from Mario, who wants to know which guided imagery to use for his problems with separation anxiety and attachment, and this gives BR an excuse to launch into her favorite topic of blankies, Teddy Bears & thumbs, and why guided imagery is a child's natural solution for finding autonomy from Mommy.
Hello Belleruth. I have just listened to your interview on Guy McPherson's Trauma Therapist Podcast. Fantastic!
I'm 31 years old and am planning to attend Social Work graduate school next year. I have been working with my own issues of anxious attachment, in therapy and meditation for quite some time.
Given that I consider it an attachment trauma, I'm wondering if you have, or will have, a healing meditation about: 1) attachment and anxious attachment healing into secure attachment 2) meditation for the inner child to become and develop the inner parent.
Thank you kindly,
Funny you should ask, because internal imagery, as luck would have it, is the natural, internal replacement of every toddler's Teddy Bear, Blankie and thumb – it's the developmental resolution we humans come to, on our wobbly road to separation from Mommy and arriving at successful autonomy.
I explain this in greater detail in my book, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How We Heal, in the chapter on How and Why Imagery Heals Trauma, in a section called "On Mom, Blankies, Peek-a-Boo and the Comforts of the Imaginal Realm". I would encourage you to read it – it's kind of a short course on the great, Brit pediatrician-turned child-analyst-during-the-Blitz, D.W. Winnicott and his seminal concept of the "transitional object", because these ideas will come in handy to you, both as a social work student and in your own personal healing journey.
Imagery has been helping us get through the day – especially the bad days – since our earliest, pre-toddling babyhood. When we are anxious, threatened, blue, unsure, or needing comfort in any way, internal images - either unconscious ones or those we overtly conjure - soothe our adult selves, communicate reassurance, confer hope and remind us of our capabilities and worth. Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, imagery is at the core of our ability to manage anxiety and distress – and helps us to literally and figuratively take the next step.
The imagery that I write leans heavily into these core ideas around separation anxiety (the Great Mother of all anxiety) and its resolution (incorporating the image of the Good-Enough Mother into the self, along with her image of the good-enough you, so you can toss your blankie and carry her around with you all the time, and in so doing, not be so scared.)
This notion is baked into every guided imagery program I've ever written, but where you will find these ideas leaned on most heavily and overtly is in the imagery I created for Grief, for Heartbreak, Abandonment & Betrayal, and for Healing Trauma. So I recommend you use those.
I also think that William DeFoore's Nurturing Your Inner Child is just the ticket for using this ingenious construct of becoming your own Good-Enough Mother and re-parenting yourself, so you can install those images into your psyche now.
I hope this answer is useful to you, and best of luck!
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