QUESTIONS ABOUT GIM:
Is GIM dangerous?
GIM sessions involve a deep relaxation and the imagery work often occurs in a 'non ordinary' state of consciousness, which is one of the key elements in the effectiveness of this therapy. By working in a relaxed state, the subconscious can access feelings, experiences and intuitive knowledge that may take longer to reach through words alone. At the deepest levels the body knows how to heal itself or which direction is right. GIM practitioners are trained to work at these depths and to modify the approach to make it accessible and appropriate for each client.
Will I be told what to imagine?
There is no suggestion of images in the same way there might be during a visualisation relaxation at the end of a yoga class or a mindfulness session, and the only therapist-directed part of the session is the guided relaxation. The experience with the music allows for a spontaneous mixture of images, feelings or body sensations to arise which are then reported to the therapist, who will respond accordingly.
What happens if I don't have any images or fall asleep?
This rarely happens and most people are generally surprised by how easily they are able to experience imagery in the sessions. 'Imagery' may also include the thoughts, body experiences, feelings and memories people have alongside, or instead of visual imagery. The consultation session is designed to give you some idea of how this works to help you decide if GIM is for you, (though it can take a few sessions for you to get used to the music and imagery experience and for it to deepen to achieve its full potential).
What qualifications do GIM practitioners have?
All GIM practitioners are fully qualified and highly experienced therapists, typically music therapists or psychotherapists, who have completed an approved post-MA training in the Bonny Method of GIM, which entitles them to become fellows or facilitators of the Association of Music and Imagery (AMI).
AMI has a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice that members are expected to follow.
Qualified Music Therapists in the UK are also required to be registered with the Health & Care Professionals Council (HCPC) which publishes its own standards of proficiency to ensure safe and effective professional practice. Those whose original training is different (for example, psychotherapists) are usually registered with an alternative appropriate professional body with its own code of ethics and standards of practice. Individual practitioners will be able to advise you about which professional bodies they are registered with.
Is there research on the effectiveness of GIM?
Many written accounts into the potential, effectiveness and applications of GIM appear in professional journals, books, professional newsletters and in peer reviewed publications such as The Journal of the Association for Music and Imagery and both qualitative and quantitive research methods have been applied to the study of GIM.
For more information there is a comprehensive listing of research and other articles on GIM which can be found at the University of Aalborg, Denmark:
How many sessions am I likely to need?
This varies according to your aims, individual circumstances and needs. After the first consultation, a series of sessions will be agreed, with the option of reviewing and extending these if new areas of exploration unfold.
Why would I choose GIM therapy?
For anyone looking for emotional and psychological support or a structured form of personal development and growth, GIM may have a lot to offer, and is often able to get to the heart of the matter effectively and efficiently.
Sometimes talking over and over the same thing doesn't help us go beyond a cognitive and rational understanding of ourselves. Usually, the root cause of a situation or issue lies at a deeper level within our emotional and psychological makeup. GIM provides the tools and the access point for working at a deeper level, and provides a way in which we can tune in and listen to the emotionally intelligent parts of ourselves, which may have something new and different to tell us.
Is GIM like hypnotherapy?
There is no suggestion during the relaxation phase of the session, so the mind is free to explore its own healing process, and this is one of the things that makes GIM so powerful - the idea that the mind, emotions and body have an inbuilt intelligence and know what they need to do; the GIM session gives the space and support for this process to work.
Is GIM Music Therapy?
To avoid confusion, MAIA and the international GIM organizations do not identify GIM as a type of music therapy. Whilst some qualified music therapists undertake the additional training necessary to practice GIM, people from other professional backgrounds also train in it. These other professionals do not, on this basis, become qualified music therapists. Because the title of music therapist is legally protected in the UK, no one may claim they are a music therapist or even imply it by describing their practice as music therapy unless they are a qualified music therapist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Music therapists employ ‘active’ approaches involving improvised music-making with clients or song-writing for instance, and sometimes ‘receptive’ or listening-based approaches. GIM is a specialist ‘receptive’ approach employed by those music therapists and other professionals who have trained in it.