I love this work. Click through for more and larger images.

It is good to see that research is being done on the imagination. However, as with so much research, the expectations and methods tend to bring results that stay within a rational framework. I doubt that such research will learn much about the arational aspects of the imagination.

Picture yourself winning the lottery. A telltale pattern of brain activity can be seen on an MRI machine.
— Read on www.inquirer.com/science/mri-imagination-depression-alzheimers-joseph-kable-20210601.html

This article from the New York Times explains in a somewhat superficial way how daydreaming has gotten a bad reputation. While imagination is mentioned, no clear distinction is made between it, visualization, and daydreaming. I bekieve that these three activities are similar enough to be considered synonyms with, perhaps, minor distinctions.

Although I am now retired, I have used a free-form imagery process, Interactive Guided Imagery, extensively in my art therapy/professional counseling practice to great effect to help clients to access deep self awareness, personal growth, and healing.

As expressed in this article, daydreaming can be a mere escape when used in an unstructured and unintentional way. But it can also enable one to allow information from the non-linear, arational mind to manifest which, along with the structure of the linear, rational mind, can synthesize new integrated awareness.

I have found in my own life that accessing imagination in a process that might look like daydreaming can help me to better awareness of possibilities for creativity, awareness of interconnectedness that wasn’t previously obvious to me, and have deeper and more profound spiritual experience.

Perhaps researchers using rational methods miss the arational potential of these processes. But from the therapists view and the personal process view I must support the positive regard for daydreaming/imagination/visualization

Here are some links to further explore this subject. this subject is addressed frequently in this blog so explore further here as well.

Internal Links: Role of Imagination, Imagination in Counseling and Psychotherapy, Visualization vs Imagination

External Links: Academy for Guided Imagery, Interactive Guided Imagerysm

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Leonora Carrington. “And Then We Saw the Daughter of the Minotaur.” 1953. Oil on canvas.


I’m always happy to see surrealist images pop up now and then on the web, like this one from MOMA. I’m happier still to read about how an individual uses art for their mental health. The take-away quote: “There are things that are not sayable. That’s why we have art”.


From The Museum of Modern Art, N.Y., NY

As a Surrealist, #LeonoraCarrington’s works are fantastical and otherworldly, but more than that, they give us a window into her inner world.

On #WorldMentalHealthDay, engage in a guided visualization of Carrington’s “And Then We Saw the Daughter of the Minotaur,” led by Jackie Armstrong on our Education team, for our Artful Practices for Well-Being audio playlist.

Visualization and mindfulness can be powerful tools for reducing anxiety, increasing awareness, and healing distress; the artist understood that mental wellbeing is inextricably linked to physical health, and that balance is important.

Throughout her life, Carrington struggled with her mental health, at one point being involuntarily committed to an asylum as grief over her lover Max Ernst’s internment at a prison camp caused a severe decline in both her mental and physical health.

Carrington was ultimately able to use her art to process and heal. As she writes in her memoir, “There are things that are not sayable. That’s why we have art.”

Start listening at the link in our bio. #ArtfulPracticesforWellbeing

[Leonora Carrington. “And Then We Saw the Daughter of the Minotaur.” 1953. Oil on canvas. © 2020 Leonora Carrington / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York]

A short film by John Thornton. (20:08) This is a short but rich biographical film about the contemporary art of Frank Galuszka with comments from the artist and many pictures of his beautiful paintings. Recommended.

Abstract art can help evoke a sense of psychological distance, a new study finds. That distance is enough to change our mindsets in a measurable way.
— Read on www.inverse.com/mind-body/abstract-art-mindset-study

Imagination and Health

June 17, 2020

Rossman Interview Clip


Imagination’s Healing Power: A short clip of an interview with Dr. Martin L. Rossman



With two weeks to go until my retirement from professional practice, I held the last of a long series of groups last night. We had been meeting together for four hours a session approximately monthly for about ten years. The group was started at the suggestion of one of its members, who asked me to pick the other members and to lead it. With only a few changes, the group had a consistent membership for its entire life. It was composed of four women and myself and was based on the use of interactive deep imagery and art as a way of knowing. Although it was focused on personal growth it was statedly not a therapy group.

The ending of the group was, one would expect, a little sad and a little sweet. Everyone recognized the growth they each had experienced and how it has manifested in their lives. There was also a clear recognition of the deep bonding that developed between the participants and how significant that was for them.

As for me, I, too, learned and grew. As the years went by I learned I could trust the process to carry the group with my role being as an organizer the hold the parameters of the schedule, the structure, and help the members to stay focused on how the inner dialog with the imagination can address problems and questions in an organic way, learning to trust one’s intuition and use the intellect as a support. I was often surprised by the members feeling the necessity to take notes when I reflected on what was happening, as it all seemed so obvious to me. This helped me to see and accept aspects of myself which are usually below my normal awareness.

I prepared no final talk or goodby but, following the process, I let the flow of the four hour/ten year group come to its natural conclusion. Near the end of our time, I silently asked for an image to come to me to help me to know whatever I needed to know about this moment. My inner advisor, trusted guide, and manifestation of my own unconscious mind came and filled the space with its blue/black energy which felt, undoubtedly, like love.

That is what we had been doing all along for those ten years- learning how to love ourselves and each other. How to be in the flow of being and accept and support others to do so as well. No one left last night feeling all their problems were solved but everyone felt they had a better understanding of how to cope with them and how to foster continuing learning and growth.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to engage with others in this way that served us all.

Here is a link to an article by Christopher Clarey in the New York Times of February 22, 2014 that shows how imagery (visualization) is used by Olympians to support their skills. Notably, the use of imagery is widespread and effective for these athletes.



Emily Cook, a U.S. freestyle aerials Olympian, goes beyond “visualization” in her training. “You have to smell it,” she said. “You have to hear it. You have to feel it, everything.” Clive Mason/Getty Images

Feb 1, 2011

February 1, 2011

Using imagery in therapy is energy medicine. If energy medicine can be defined as the means to change subtle energy systems in the body, then the use of imagery qualifies by addressing negative emotions in a way that can lead to transformation. Guided imagery, active imagination, and art therapy all can be used in this way.

Interesting new web site

September 11, 2010

Guided Imagery Collective Logo

Take a look at this new web site I discovered a couple of days ago, Guided Imagery Collective. Jose Said Osio is a kindred spirit and his well constructed and attractive site is about his interest in guided imagery, art, wellness, and spirit. Check it out.

Here’s good idea well presented by the folks at Getty. Change Me is a worldwide project that brings together people to share ideas. The idea of the site is to ask participants to choose an image from GettyImages creative or editorial collections and comment on why you find it to be affecting or impactful.

From the site:

You may want to use an image to change my opinion about what’s beautiful or important. You may want to change my mood. If your ambitious, you might change my ideals, or even change my life. Or maybe you’d just like to raise a laugh, or a quiet smile.

Each image submitted supports Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria and Getty will donate $10 for each entry up to their goal of $250,000.

The site is not only a good idea but very well designed- you may find it to be fun to navigate.