The Pleasant Place Image
- Grounding the somatic imagery experience
- Somatic imagery as an entrance into an inner space
- Pleasant Place Image
- Permissiveness of the imagery process
When you begin somatic imagery work for yourself or the people that you see, you are starting on a journey to the inner part of yourself. As an embarkation point, I like to use the pleasant place image which follows.
Get as comfortable as you can in your chair or couch. Close your eyes and let your body relax as completely as you can. Feel the presence of a warm, golden light which brings a stream of peacefulness and relaxation with it. Feel the warmth and clarity of the light slowly move from the top of your head over your whole body, down to the tips of your toes. As the light moves over you, that sense of relaxation and peacefulness will permeate all of you until the tension leaves your body.
>Now let this light carry you away to a place that is comfortable and pleasant for you. Look around and see what’s there. What are the sights and sounds and smells in this place? Know that there is nothing you have to do here but be present. Perhaps you are alone — perhaps others are there. Let it be however it is. Stay here awhile, seeing what unfolds before you. Is there anything here attracting your attention? When the image itself seems to want to end, slowly, at your own pace, make your way back to the room.
I use this image in the beginning of therapy work because it acquaints the imager with a relaxed state and couples the relaxation to a pleasant destination. This comfortable place can be returned to in later work, or new pleasant places may crop up. This image can be used by the client whenever later work stimulates too much anxiety or distress as a grounding, comforting image. Knowing that one has this image as a fall back, makes it easier for clients to venture into new territory. It emphasizes the fact that we all image every day. We all have places in our mind’s eye that we like to go to or think about.
A mental image is an internal representation that sometimes reflects an accurate memory of external reality, but always mirrors internal reality. Not everyone sees visual images. Often there is an emotional feeling that comes with an image, or a sense of smell or taste, or a memory linked to the image. When you begin doing imagery for the first time, images may skip around, going from one image to another without settling down.
Whatever happens to you is important and part of the imagery experience. I hope that you embarked on this first imagery journey with a sense of excitement and curiosity about the trip. There will be many more to come.