1st Edition

Using Mental Imagery in Counselling and Psychotherapy A Guide to More Inclusive Theory and Practice

By Valerie Thomas Copyright 2016
    204 Pages
    by Routledge

    204 Pages
    by Routledge

    The therapeutic potential of working with clients' mental images is widely acknowledged, yet there is still little in the counselling and psychotherapy literature on more inclusive approaches to the clinical applications of mental imagery. Using Mental Imagery in Counselling and Psychotherapy is a unique, accessible guide for counsellors and psychotherapists who wish to develop their expertise in this important therapeutic practice.

    Contemporary practitioners have at their disposal a large repertoire of imagery methods and procedures comprising the contributions from different therapeutic schools and clinical innovators. Valerie Thomas identifies some of the common features in these approaches and offers a transtheoretical framework that supports integrative practitioners in understanding and using mental imagery to enhance therapeutic processes. The book:

    • Examines the development of the theory and practice of mental imagery within a wider context of the history of imagination as a healing modality;
    • Describes the different ways that mental imagery has been incorporated into therapeutic practice and evaluates recent developments;
    • Reviews explanations of the therapeutic efficacy of mental imagery and considers how recent theoretical concepts provide a means of understanding the role that mental images play in processing experience;
    • Includes reflections on ways to develop more inclusive theory and proposes a model that can inform integrative practice.

    Using a wide range of clinical vignettes to illustrate theory and cutting-edge research, Valerie Thomas proposes a new integrated model of practice. Providing clear and detailed guidance on applying the model to clinical practice, the book will be essential reading for psychotherapists and counsellors, both in practice and training, who wish to harness the therapeutic efficacy of mental imagery.



    1. Introduction

    PART ONE: Towards more inclusive theory

    2. An historical perspective on the therapeutic use of imagination

    3. The story of using mental imagery in counselling and psychotherapy

    4. Explanations for the therapeutic efficacy of mental imagery

    5. Identifying common features in the use of mental imagery in talking therapies

    6. Developing a more inclusive model of mental imagery in therapeutic practice

    PART TWO: Towards more inclusive practice

    7. An introduction to the model in practice

    8. The building image

    9. The path image

    10. The plant image

    11. Integrating a more inclusive approach to mental imagery into ongoing therapeutic work

    12. Practice issues

    13. Conclusion


    Valerie Thomas is a counsellor, psychotherapist and supervisor in private practice. Formerly, she was a Senior Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University and Course Leader for Counselling training.

    "Using Mental Imagery in Counseling and Psychotherapy by Valerie Thomas is a wonderful addition to academic literature on this subject. Carefully researched and notated, it is an excellent resource for those of us interested in an academic approach. Each chapter has a list of references used, making it a great go–to guide."- Randy Kasper, IMAGINEWS

    "This book is an exciting contribution to the use of mental imagery in counselling and psychotherapy. Grounded in the real-world, practical experience of the author, and developed from her in-depth Doctoral studies, it offers an original, inclusive model, well rooted in the diverse history of mental imagery in therapeutic work. It is presented in terms as vivid, imaginative and, above all, useful as the way of working it describes. It should be an inspiration for practitioners from across the psychological therapies, regardless of their theoretical orientation, and deserves a place on the bookshelf of everyone who seeks to work with the immense fund of creative opportunities the imagery of human minds can offer us." - Dr Stephen Goss, Principal Lecturer, Metanoia Institute and Co-Editor British Journal of Guidance and Counselling

    "This book is a highly practical and persuasive guide to developing a more inclusive practice with mental imagery. I wholeheartedly recommend it to all psychotherapists and counselors who recognize the importance of imagination in the therapeutic process." - Anees A. Sheikh, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Marquette University, Editor, Baywood's Imagery and Human Development Series

    "A welcome and comprehensive approach to imagery as part of the warp and woof of therapeutic and counselling work. Its wide-ranging approach to theory, and very specific guidelines to practice, makes the vital and much neglected usefulness of imagery accessible to any practitioner. Highly recommended." - Dr. Dina Glouberman, Skyros Holistic Holidays founder, Imagework pioneer, author of Life Choices, Life Changes, The Joy of Burnout, and You are what you imagine

    "In conclusion, for those experienced therapists who use or are interested in aspects of mental imagery, this book (particularly Part 2) is something I would recommend for taking along with you on your path of life" - Leona Tucker MA, PTUK Certified Play Therapist