Developing a more inclusive model of mental imagery in therapeutic practice

I still recall the excitement during my research project when I realised that the group of functions identified through the analysis of the data had the potential to deliver a more inclusive model of mental imagery. This realisation happened when I noted something glaringly obvious: the six functions divided into two groups that mapped onto the commonly accepted distinction in clinical practice between directive and receptive imagery.

In this chapter I describe this mapping in more detail and I go on to explain how the six identified functions model the way that mental images operate as an interactive communication process between the rational and imaginal perspectives. The chapter concludes by offering some thoughts on the advantages of this model as a more inclusive framework for practice and also acknowledges its limitations.

A description of the model

The model proposed in this book captures two fundamental aspects of the way that mental images operate in therapeutic processes. First, it differentiates the ways in which mental images operate as a means of communication between the rational and the imaginal perspectives. Second, it clarifies how one mental image can operate in different ways in the context of therapeutic work. In this section I explain in detail these two aspects and finally present a diagram of the resulting model.

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