Skip to content

Guided Imagery and Music

Personal tools
You are here: Home » Nyheder » Nyhedsarkiv » Report on the 5. European GIM conference, 2002

Report on the 5. European GIM conference, 2002

Document Actions

Nedenstående referat er udgivet i NORDIC JOURNAL OF MUSIC THERAPY 11(2) 2002 og gengives her med forfatterens tilladelse

REPORT ON THE 5TH EUROPEAN GIM CONFERENCE Catherine O'Leary The 5th European GIM conference took place from the 19thÐ 22nd of September 2002. Following precedence, or what we can now almost call tradition, the conference centre was located rurally in beautiful countryside. This time it was outside the village of Krummendeich, close to the Elbe, north of Hamburg. Forty-seven participants from eight countries attended the conference. Before the conference thirty of the participants took part in a three-day workshop entitled "Group Process through Music and Imagery" given by Frances Goldberg and Lisa Summer. Fran and Lisa outlined the theory of Group Therapy at the Supportive, Re-educative and Reconstructive levels with particular reference to Yalom"s ideas. Our learning about Music and Imagery group-work in particular began with a ten minute experiential guided with a voice-over by Fran. It was a powerful introduction. Teaching and discussion over the three days focussed mainly on the differences between Music and Imagery work at the three levels mentioned above and GIM, especially in the original dyadic form, and also on the music. Many of the group members expressed difficulty with the recommended music repertoire, the use of less stimulating music, most of which is non-classical and outside the usual GIM programs. However experiencing the music selections as part of a group experience, where the value of the "small container" was actually felt, allowed this to be a more open discussion. Judgements such as "this is good music or this is not good" were modified by the effect of the music in the group experience. If transformation is seen as the ultimate goal of therapy, it may be possible only for a few. There is so much work to be done on the journey towards that ultimate goal. Fran and Lisa have recognised that much of their own therapeutic work takes place at the supportive and re-educative levels. The feeling at the end of the workshop was that we had been on a journey through the three levels ourselves having been gently guided into rethinking how we work with groups. Information on Music and Imagery Group work is available in a new article by Lisa . The conference itself got underway on Thursday evening with an energetic welcoming exercise. The different nationalities present had to recognise when their (obscure) music was being played and move their chairs to a location that represented their geographical relationship, e.g. north of, west of etc. This generated lots of discussion, laughter and a little tension: a perfect recipe to start a conference.

Dag Körlin gave the first presentation of the conference, titled "A Neuropsychological theory of Traumatic Imagery in GIM". Dag introduced a neuropsychological perspective at the 2nd European GIM conference in 1997. Since then he has continued his research in this area. This presentation focussed on what is happening in the brains of clients who have suffered trauma, when they are imaging and they re-experience that trauma. The gates to flashbacks are lowered in altered states. GIM can facilitate access to this difficult material. However there are implications for the guide. Traumatic experiences tend to recur as direct re-experiences rather than as symbolic imagery. It is very important to recognise the difference between the two and guide appropriately. Dag showed PET scan images of clients, some of whom had suffered trauma, others not, taken while they listened/imaged to stories created to evoke flashbacks. The scans showed very obviously how the integrating areas of the brain were not active in those clients who were re-experiencing the trauma. The wide range of processes in GIM facilitates reintegration. The music and guide mobilise analogical symbolisation (through imagery) and discursive symbolisation (through thoughts and words). Dag showed some mandalas of clients where, as a result of the flashback, the dissociated memory was shown as a terrifying fragment, sometimes looming large on the paper, and where gradually over a series of sessions the picture was filled out. Tuning in to these horrifying images it was easy to understand Dag's advice not to work with too many difficult clients at the same time. Dag has developed his theory and presented a lot of the material mentioned in a new article . Klaus Leidecker's presentation "Between Association and Integration-Special Qualities of Music in GIM- (Group) work" focussed on music choices for different stages of the therapeutic journey. Klaus outlined seven stages: Safety, Initiation, Setting Off, Self-Encounter, Calming Down, Appreciation and Grounding. There are particular factors to be taken into account when choosing music for GIM group-work, for example, that the listening period is shorter and that there is no accompanying dialogue with the traveller. Klaus accompanied his talk with extracts from his recommended repertoire. He also introduced us to his "Intuitive Analysis" worksheets. These were developed to help students become more aware of what is needed to become a GIM group leader. While the sheets include spaces for describing what is going on in the music, the focus primarily is on the "analysis of the person as a sounding art". Klaus explores these ideas further in his new book to be published in 2003. Kerstin Brachaus introduced us to a method of sound reproduction that is designed to reproduce sound in its natural three dimensionality rather than the usual two-dimensional reproduction of normal loudspeakers. Physicist Rudolf Mechow developed the new design of spherical sound columns. We can only practice GIM with help from technical elements and we have a responsibility to question all our working tools. As sounds are filtered out or added in artificially in most recordings, we are not getting the sound experience that is best for our health. Research in these new types of spherical sound columns, "Kugelschall", is only just beginning. It could be very important for GIM. Frances Goldberg's presentation "A Holographic Field Theory of the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music" was a holographic extension of her original "field theory". The holographic field includes music; music, emotion, imagery cycles; the Self and all states of consciousness from unconscious states and ego states through to the transpersonal and spiritual realms. GIM addresses the entire spectrum and allows the Self to access the state of consciousness appropriate to the work that needs to be done. The Self is the centring, organising principle of all GIM experiences. Fran also spoke of the importance of "defensive manoeuvres" for the traveller, as a way of building power and managing the experience. Defensive manoeuvres are to be encouraged and supported and are not to be confused with the Freudian defence mechanism. Ð Fran's theory is thoroughly described in a new article . Gina Kästele's presentation "Dancing with the Client" introduced us to one of the techniques she uses in the verbal processing part of the session. Gina believes that for some clients it is more effective to stay in the imaginal realm during the processing period. To facilitate this she uses "magic stones", which, when allied to different elements in the mandala, can allow for some in-depth exploration; direct communication between opposites, for example, or to point out resources the client may be unaware of on the conscious level. The technique can enable clients to come away from the GIM session with something concrete. Gina uses it "when a client can't get a handle on what has gone on in the session". Gina demonstrated the technique and we had time to try it with each other. Questions were asked about the need to use the processing time for grounding and whether this technique interfered with that. Lisa Summer led an experiential, which focussed on the consciousness of the guide in the GIM session and how it affected the session. Lisa says it is our task as guides to be in a state that will allow all of the music to come to the traveller. It is actually a duality, both open and focussed. Underneath her belief that we should study the consciousness of the guide is the effect it has on the traveller. "It has the greatest effect" is a very strong statement, but in our experiential, where ten members of the group played while the rest imaged or guided, the feedback showed clear links between the two. In this case the musicians' focus or lack of it seemed to be reflected in the experiences of the travellers. Choice of music was central once again in Urs Friedrich's presentation. This was a very generous presentation with lots of visual stimulation and impeccable timing. Urs invited us into his therapy room, a plan of which was drawn on a flip chart, and introduced us to Florina, his client, who has diagnosis of hebephrenic schizophrenia. One of Urs' diagrams was a "ladder" of a hierarchy of states of consciousness and an overlay that showed what progress up the ladder you might expect with GIM depending on the starting point. Many of the clients he sees start at a low level of functioning. We returned to the question of how stimulating the music can or should be, in particular with clients who suffer from psychosis. Whilst adapting the "big" GIM session for use with less stable clients, Urs believes passionately in the use of classical music. He feels the music can never be as complex as some of the disturbances his clients have experienced alone. Also, in GIM you have the advantage of having a guide. He finished his presentation with a eulogy celebrating "the power of music to evoke relevant, creative, constructive possibilities in each traveller's very personal way". His account of GIM with Florina certainly demonstrated this. The final paper of the conference was appropriately enough very grounding. For many of us this meant coming back to the absolute basic level of our computer literacy. Lars Ole Bonde introduced the "Database on GIM Literature and Music" and made it all seem so simple. He has done an enormous amount of work. The GIM bibliography currently has 508 references, most of them with abstracts. The GIM programs database includes a massive 86 programs and also includes program abstracts of Helen Bonny's original programs, and the music selections database contains 426 selections, many with descriptions and analyses. Lars Ole has written many of the abstracts himself. Log onto for a free trial of the Endnote software, and link to for access to the databases. This is a wonderful resource for all of us involved in GIM work and it was great to be guided in accessing it. Contributions are welcome. Further riches of the conference included Ilse Kjær's GIM game, Angela Freyer's paintings and a memorable concert from a quartet called The String Thing. Ilse created her board game for her final project in her GIM training. It's a quiz and all questions relate to GIM. It is very beautiful and great fun to play. Angela's paintings were an attempt to integrate her art and her music. Each painting was an "analysis "of a cut on a GIM program. We saw pictures relating to the GIM programs "Peak Experience", "Death and Rebirth" and "Transitions". Without saying what music the paintings related to, Angela invited us to write down what we felt looking at them. These comments were read out eventually as we listened to extracts of the pieces and looked at the paintings again. It was a pity Angela was unable to be with us to hear the consonance and harmony between the words, the music and the paintings. A new event at our European conference, but one that will be included each time from now on was the ceremony to welcome new Fellows of AMI. Twelve Fellows were welcomed in this time. GIM in Europe is growing and also moving east. The next conference in 2004 will be held in Bulgaria and perhaps the Bulgarian GIM trainees will be ready to be welcomed as Fellows in their own country. This conference did not have a title but one does spring to mind. The idea of "many levels" rang out again and again. This was also apparent in us, the participants. All professionals in our own fields, educational, medical, musical, psychological, therapeutic, we were all at different levels of being trained in the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (BMGIM), from those who were just beginning their training to those who were Fellows for many years. The result of this mix of professional backgrounds all practicing the same therapeutic method means that in a very real way our gathering and sharing together shapes our practice. This conference typified that. We were stretched as each presenter had something to teach about the practice of GIM from within his or her own professional framework that was new to those outside of it. Perhaps an appropriate way to end this report is with a thought-provoking quote from Fran Goldberg that has remained in my mind since the conference and that echoes the "many levels" idea: "GIM addresses the entire spectrum: physical, emotional, spiritual. We are unique. I don't know of any other approach that can do that".

References: Goldberg, F. S. (2002). A Holographic Field Theory Model of the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (BMGIM). Guided Imagery and Music: The Bonny Method and Beyond. K. E. Bruscia and D. E. Grocke. Gilsum NH, Barcelona Publishers: 359-377. Körlin, D. (2002). A Neuropsychological Theory of Traumatic Imagery in the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (BMGIM). Guided Imagery and Music: The Bonny Method and Beyond. K. E. Bruscia and D. E. Grocke. Gilsum NH, Barcelona Publishers: 379-415. Summer, L. (2002). Group Music and Imagery Therapy: Emergent Receptive Techniques in Music Therapy Practice. Guided Imagery and Music: The Bonny Method and Beyond. K. E. Bruscia and D. E. Grocke. Gilsum NH, Barcelona Publishers: 297-306.

Created by bo
Last modified 2005-11-13 21:11

Powered by Plone

This site conforms to the following standards: