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Woman Playing the Violin

Musicians and Arts Therapists including trainees, may benefit from a creative approach to personal development, and by deepening their relationship to music and imagery. 

Little Music Fan

Children and teenagers can benefit from modified sessions to help them explore emotions in a safe way, developing through their creativity and imaginations.

Listening to Music

Adults who are interested in personal  development, may be struggling with change, or want to address other issues such as end of life care or pain management.

Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) was developed by Helen Bonny who described it as the intentional use of music "by a guide or facilitator to evoke sensory and emotional responses in the listener. These responses, in the form of imagery, symbols, feelings, past and present life review, sensations, unfolding metaphors and transformative experiences, become the heart of the session."



GIM can: 

  • Effect personal change: getting to the heart of the matter​

  • Offer support around times of life transitions, such as loss​

  • Be powerful, and yet work in a gentle way through the music​

  • Ease anxiety, stress or depression, by helping to bring into awareness their root cause

  • ​Be a supportive therapy for people living with severe or life-threatening illnesses

  • ​Be effective in helping to change addictive patterns

  • ​Help in recovery from trauma and abuse

  • ​Fulfil training requirements for student therapists and health professionals personal therapy

  • Enhance the connection to creativity

  • ​Offer a spiritual approach to personal development

  • ​Help in accessing inner resources for well-being​

  •  Support the unfolding of the individuation process

About GIM:


Music is used to facilitate a dynamic exploration of consciousness and inner experiences, in support of wellbeing and physical and psychological transformation. GIM is frequently used with individuals, although it can also be adapted for groups, and is a healing tool to address a range of psychological and self-development issues.


Sessions usually last between 1.5-2 hours and consist of a preliminary discussion with your therapist, followed by a relaxation focusing on the breath, and a music experience which is chosen to help you explore presenting issues. During the music, subconscious material in the form of imagery, memories or feelings, may surface to conscious awareness, as you share your experiences with the guide/therapist, who will support you to help the experience unfold. Afterwards there is time for further discussion, and processing may also involve drawing a mandala, to help you deepen your understanding of the imagery experienced during the music.

GIM may also be modified where there is a contraindication for these longer sessions, such as where severe trauma or mental health issues are present. Shorter forms of GIM may be more appropriate in these situations, and may be described as 'Music Imagery,' 'Music Breathing',  'Music Relaxation' or 'Supportive Music and Imagery,' indicating the practitioner is clinically trained in one or more of these adaptations. In these sessions, shorter pieces of music are used, and the focus may be on stabilising and supporting you until you are ready for deeper work. 

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