Guided Visual Imagery Copy

Visual imagery is a form of relaxation in which a person creates a mental image, usually of a pleasant place or a personally meaningful place (i.e., ocean, forest, grandma’s house, etc.) and tries to mentally experience its sensory characteristics: the colors, smells, temperature, sounds, motion, taste, etc.

The idea behind this exercise is that imagining being in ‘a special place,’ which is safe and cozy, can produce the same relaxing effects on the body as if perceived by senses in reality. This exercise is particularly helpful for those re-experiencing symptoms of trauma.

Nelson imagines himself in his grandma's garden
Nelson imagining himself inside his grandma’s garden

There are numerous scripts for guided visual imagery, but we usually let the child propose a special place, and then ask the child to imagine the place and its characteristics as if it is real. The ‘special place’ could be a specific place from the child’s experience or memory, or it could be one that they invent. The child does not need to share details with the therapist, who is there to provide guidance with prompts. Have several different scripts ready in case the child doesn’t come up with one on their own.

Visual Imagery Exercise

Practice this visual imagery exercise by imagining a special place. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel? What do you smell or taste? Try describing all the details of this place for about 4-5 minutes.