Guided Imagery Essay

945 words - 4 pages

I chose to take a closer look at some studies of guided imagery and its effect on children. I chose this topic because I am curious to know more about this therapeutic modality, as I do not have extensive experience with it. I chose children as my population because I have experience counseling kids of all ages in a school setting and would like to learn more about how guided imagery may be an effective resource in working with them.
A 1998 12-week study published in the Journal of Multicultural Counseling & Development looked at how the use of guided affective and cognitive imagery affected self-esteem among Hawaiian children. The article states that lowered self-esteem is a common issue among Hawaiian children, as the values of their culture are different from that of the mainstream educational system which recognizes autonomy, independence, and competition as a form of success; the Hawaiian culture places more emphasis on group effort and recognition of the group as a whole. Lowered levels of self-esteem put the kids at increased risk of feeling alienated and powerless, as well as committing crimes later in life. In this particular study, the sample group included 60 children (26 boys and 34 girls) ages 8 to 12, and all are at least 25% Hawaiian. The experimental group included 14 boys and 16 girls. Various inventories were administered at the beginning and end of the study and covered topics such as academic/school-related self-esteem, social/peer-related self-esteem, general self-esteem, and home/parent-related self-esteem. The children were administered a series of weekly 45-minute guided imagery exercises, which addressed issues such as problem solving, self-defeating behaviors, family, self-affirmation, relaxation, and more. The results favored guided imagery as having a positive effect on the self-esteem of the children. In the academic/school-related self-esteem category, children in the experimental group showed considerably higher subscale scores; the children were more motivated and appeared happier. Additionally, teachers who were interviewed two months later stated that their positive behavior had continued, which demonstrates the long-term effectiveness of guided imagery exercises. Children in the experimental group also felt better about themselves at the end of the study compared to the children who participated without the use of intervention strategies. There was not a significant difference noted in the social/peer-related category, and neither the home/parent-related category. However, the subscales showed that they were moving in a positive direction. A limitation of the study in these two categories is that parental involvement and social interaction were not included in the exercises.
Another study published in the American Journal of Psychotherapy demonstrates a therapist’s use of guided imagery with the use of archaic figures and symbols. When introduced to the child who is in a relaxed state...

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