Imagery Manipulation

A to Z of
Creativity Techniques
Ideal Final Result
Imagery for Answering Questions

Imagery manipulation is employed in a psychotherapeutic context and requires skilled helpers or should be carried out under supervision. The technique does not utilize the usual rational framework (Explore problem, Generate ideas, Select and Implement) that is fundamental to most problem solving methods.

It is unnecessary for the helper to be made aware of the real nature of the original situation or the final solution, in fact any efforts by the client to introduce ‘reality’ will hinder success. Dissimilar to guides imagery activities, (Imagery for Answering Questions there is no preliminary relaxation phase required, and the exploration of the imagery is performed in a mater-of-fact way with both the helper and client in ‘adult’ mode, capable of critical judgement.

The helper asks questions and suggests answers, while the client views the current state of images and attempts his own answers. A client should be supported to reject or undo inappropriate suggestions they should feel a sense of responsibility for the management of their own imagery. The technique follows these 5 steps:

  1. Identify elements. In private the client should recognise their problem area and within that area identify say 3 – 6 key elements.
  2. Form symbols. Still working alone the client should give each of the identified key elements from 1, a symbol. The symbol can be visual, auditory, feeling etc, e.g. a new project may have the symbol of a tree, and an irritating colleague might be a squeaking door and so on. The Helper is aware of the symbols produced but not the source situation or elements.
  3. Describe image. The client is asked to form a mental image of the assembly of symbols and describe it to the helper. E.g. the green tree is in the background, and I can hear the squeaking door on my right.
  4. Joint exploration of image. The helper and client then investigate and expand this image. It often becomes apparent that the imagery drama is unfolding with a direction of its own and that it requires some further intervention with useful tactics such as:
    • Looking at thing from different perspectives
    • Moving the symbols about relative to one another, rotate them.
    • Filling in the picture (e.g. adding detail, adding more elements, extending it, exploring behind it).
    • Research possible transformations – what it might change into
    • Anchoring resources
    • Investigating other routes of intervention
  5. Moving towards resolution and closure. There comes a time when there is a natural sense of closure a ‘break point’. This may manifest itself in the pleasure and contentment clearly noticeable in the client by the helper. Alternatively a plateau may be reached whereby an intermediate resting point feels natural, with more to do at a later date. The process normally takes less than an hour.