case study

Jeffrey, 30s

Jeffrey was a successful middle manager in his thirties who had recurrent peptic ulcers for many years. With the help of a certified Imagery Guide℠, he learned to relax and use simple visualization to give himself temporary relief from his stomach pain. He pictured the pain as a fire in his stomach and would then imagine an ice-cold mountain stream extinguishing the fire and cooling the scorched area beneath it.

He was surprised and pleased to find that relaxing and imagining this process for a few minutes would relieve his pain for several hours to a day at a time, and he used it successfully for about two weeks. Then it stopped working. His pain grew worse in spite of his visualizations, and he began to despair. In his next session, he was asked to focus once more on the pain and allow an image to arise to help him understand why the pain returned. He soon became aware of an image of a hand pinching the inside of his stomach.

At the guide's suggestion, he mentally asked the hand if it would tell him why it was pinching him, and it changed into an arm shaking a clenched fist. He asked the arm why it was angry, and it replied, “Because there’s a part of you locked away where no one can see it, and it’s getting badly hurt.”He was then asked to form an image of the part that was locked away, and he saw a transparent sack that contained a “chaotic whirling of things inside - nothing is clear, everything is zooming around, bumping into everything else.” All he could make out were colors and shapes and a sense of discomfort. After observing them for awhile, he quietly said, “My heart is in there, and it’s getting bumped and bruised by all these things.”

Jeffrey was then asked to imagine opening the bag, but as he began, he became afraid and said there was too much pain there to let out all at once. The guide asked him to let just one thing out of the bag and then let an image form for it. He imagined his father’s face and recalled a number of painful childhood interactions with his father, who was quite emotionally abusive.

Over a series of sessions, he began to come to terms with the feelings he had locked away about this and started to feel much better emotionally and physically. In this way, he not only obtained relief from his ulcer pain, but also learned a method to better express and respond to his own emotional needs.

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