The scope of this book

There is a very wide range of applications of mental imagery across therapeutic and other cognate disciplines. Because the scope of this field is so vast it has been necessary to impose some limitations. The explicit focus of this book is the therapeutic use of mental imagery in counselling and psychotherapy. Therefore, although reference is made in the text on occasion to the following, they are not the subject of significant attention:

  • • Other modalities that make significant use of mental imagery such as hypnotherapy and art therapy. These are particular ways of working with mental images, each having a set of specific procedures.
  • • Dreams. This book focuses on mental images that are produced in a conscious relaxed state rather than imagery recalled from unconscious states such as sleeping. This is a somewhat artificial boundary, of course, and in therapeutic practice clients’ dream imagery may well become the starting point for further active work as one would with an image produced in a guided visualisation.
  • • Transpersonal imagery. Transpersonal therapeutic work makes significant use of imagery and symbols. However, an in-depth consideration of this subject sits outside the remit of this book. The work presented in this book focuses mainly on the use of imagery to represent aspects of the self. However, this does not mean that it is an explicitly secular work as imagery can appear in these settings that incorporates or depicts transpersonal dimensions.
  • • Self-help and self-development literature. Although this genre includes some excellent guides to using imagery procedures, these techniques are designed for individual creative practices rather than being delivered within a therapeutic setting.
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