Guided imagery is one of the most potent tools we have as individuals to manage stress, unleash our creativity, change our attitudes, set and reach goals, tap into our inner wisdom, relax, stimulate peak performance, and activate our natural healing powers. Whole Person has published a variety of books filled with a wide range of guided imagery scripts to use with audiences of all ages.
Even though our books can be used by individuals, they are especially valuable to use with groups. Using guided imagery scripts with a group can be especially powerful. Not only does each individual benefit from the personal inner journey, comparing notes afterwards allow us to learn from each other’s experience. Talking about visualization usually deepens its meaning to the individual and heightens the sense of connection to others in their separate journeys.
Be prepared. Whatever script you choose for a particular situation, be sure to involve yourself with the images personally before using them in a group setting. Start by practicing on your own. Record the script and then let the tape guide you through the visualization as if you were a participant. This will give you good feedback about your pacing and inflection.
Choose appropriate images. First identify the goal you would like to achieve through guided imagery and then choose the guided imagery scripts that will be most appropriate. Read through several visualizations with similar goals to find the one you think will best fit the time frame and the group.
Create a healthy environment. As a group leader you have the power to control the environment in which the group learns and works. For guided imagery, make sure you create an environment that is flexible. There is no right or wrong way to visualize. If some relax better on the floor, make sure their space is comfortable. If the guided imagery scripts you choose would be enhanced by an outdoor setting, go on location. Be prepared to dim the lights, if necessary.
Prepare the group with information. In most groups you will find some people who are familiar with guided imagery and others who are complete newcomers. You may even encounter some folks who are hostile or anxious because of what they have heard about visualization. In most situations, giving information about the technique and clarifying the specific activities you will be using goes a long way toward alleviating resistance and getting the group on the same playing field. Encourage your participants to approach using guided imagery scripts with an open attitude and a vacation mentality of exploration.
Read the script with authentic style. There is no one right way to read relaxation and guided imagery scripts. Some narrators use an expressionless monotone. Others infuse their reading with pacing and inflection intended to heighten the imagery. Some speak with strength and authority. Others barely whisper. You need to find your own natural style. However, there is one essential guideline for reading: take your time. Remember that your listeners do not know what is coming. They need time for the mental images to form and unfold. They need time to explore and sense. They need time to make transitions.