Question: What’s the difference between Creative Visualization and Guided Imagery?
Answer: There’s not a lot of difference. First, I want to address the terms Visualization and Imagery. They’re the same thing, though some people have gotten the impression that Visualization means simply picturing an image, as if it’s on a mental screen. This isn’t the case. In every book I’ve read that mentions Visualization, (and I’ve read a lot of them, some forty and fifty years old) the author states that you should include all the senses when you visualize. To imagine what you’d sense, feel, hear, smell in that situation. Some people are more visual, some sense or feel the imagery, some hear words. We all have a combination of these, but one or two seems to be stronger. With practice, you can strengthen the senses that aren’t as obvious. Recently, many books have used the term Imagery, because it seems to escape some of the misconceptions associated with the word Visualization.
The difference between Creative Visualization and Guided Imagery lies in the words Creative and Guided. Creative Visualization is a deliberate mental imagining, meant to change your mind, thereby affecting your life. Such as, visualizing yourself as more slender, noticing how you feel, what actions you’d take, etc. You’re building the picture as you go. Since the mind can’t tell the difference between and image and reality, you’d eventually begin to act on that mental image. You’re picturing the desired end result.
Guided Imagery is when you or someone else guides you through a series of visualizations. Again, the goal is to effect some sort of change in your life. But this time, there’s a beginning, middle and an end. An example would be to imagine a white light flowing into your body, melting away any excess fat, and your body getting slimmer.
But these terms are so closely related that it’s difficult to separate them. I wouldn’t get too concerned about which means what, as long as you recognize that your life is created by the mental images you focus on. You have the power to change them.
Copyright 2001, 2010 Linda Ann Stewart
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