Using Imagery to Promote Emotional Change

Smucker, Mervin, Langkaas, Tomas, Hoffart, Asle, McCullough, Leigh. Using Imagery to Promote Emotional Change. Symposium presented at the 37th Annual Congress of the European Association for Behavioural & Cognitive therapies, Helsinki, Finland.

 The use of imagery interventions in CBT has been an emerging topic among CBT theorists and clinicians in recent years. Clinicians are finding that intrusive, affect-laden images can contribute to significant distress in a variety of psychological disorders, and that using imagery interventions directly on upsetting images can be a powerful approach that leads to alleviation of emotional distress.

Clinicians and researchers have increasingly observed that mental imagery is generally more emotional than verbal processing of the same material and that emotional memory tends to be visual in nature.  As such, directly challenging and modifying distressing images can be a powerful means of promoting emotional change.

The speakers in this symposium present different approaches that use imagery in CBT with both anxiety disorders and personality disorders. Case examples are used to illustrate the approaches.

Mervin Smucker