Scientific research has shown that guided imagery healing can have profound effects on stress management, pain tolerance and many other forms of physical and psychological discomfort. Guided imagery is not only used in managing pain and disease, it can also help patients overcome bad habits and improve their overall wellness.
Practitioners with guided imagery training help their clients tap into the healing influences that the mind can have over the body, using relaxation techniques, directed thoughts, visualization, storytelling, and a variety of other methods.
Guided imagery healing sessions may take place one-on-one or in a group. Therapists will use one or more guided imagery techniques to lead the patient's imagination to a safe and peaceful place. Then, depending on the purpose of the imagery, the therapist may ask clients to picture their immune systems attacking cancer cells, or assist them in cultivating a relaxed state to aid in creativity or performance. While guided imagery can be practiced at home using written materials or audio recordings, practitioners with guided imagery training usually work out of an office, clinic or hospital.
Training and Education
What You'll Study in Guided Imagery School
Most guided imagery training programs consist of postgraduate curriculum aimed at health care professionals like mental health therapists, nurses or physicians. Often you'll be introduced to guided imagery healing through firsthand experience. Further study usually focuses on the theory, practice, and history of guided imagery as well as ethical and professional practice.
Average Length of Guided Imagery Study
It's possible to complete introductory guided imagery training in as little as a weekend of intensive study. Programs that end in certification may take up to a year to finish. The Academy of Guided Imagery requires 150 hours of study for its professional certification program, while the California Pacific Medical Center requires 500 hours.
Average Guided Imagery Tuition
Tuition varies widely depending on the type of guided imagery training program you are looking for. Basic guided imagery education ranges from $400 to $1,900. The cost for a full certification program is generally between $2,000 and $3,500.
Guided Imagery Certification
Practitioners of guided imagery healing are not formally licensed or regulated in the United States, but many training programs do lead to professional certification. Many organizations, such as the Academy for Guided Imagery and the Center for Healing & Imagery, provide training and certification for already-licensed professionals such as nurses, massage therapists or psychotherapists.
Mind/body medicine continues to become more and more mainstream, and both patients and clinicians are focusing more on preventive and drug-free wellness. As a result, practitioners with guided imagery training will be in higher demand in settings ranging from cancer treatment centers to stress management clinics.
Guided Imagery Salary
Salaries in the field of guided imagery meditation depend on your specific job role and where you're employed. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for massage therapists is $35,970; registered nurses earn $65,470, and clinical psychologists, $67,650. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.
Is a Guided Imagery Career Right for You?
The ideal candidate for guided imagery training is a caring clinical professional looking to enrich their career in health care, mental health or even bodywork, and someone who has an integrative, whole-person philosophy when it comes to medicine and wellness. Skilled practitioners can help bridge the gap between the conscious and unconscious mind, enabling patients to experience the therapeutic benefits of directed and focused mental imagery on both mind and body.
Sources: Academy for Guided Imagery, Center for Healing & Imagery, CPMC's Health Professional Education, Imagery International, Integrative Imagery Training for Health Care Professionals, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine