case study

Mike, 57

A 57-year-old executive with recently diagnosed diabetes mellitus was recalcitrant and not compliant with the medical regimen for his illness despite good diabetes education and the urging of his physician, family, and friends. When asked to allow an image to form of his disease, he imagined it as a ball and chain around his ankle. When prompted to express his thoughts and feelings about it, he replied that he hated it because it was weighing him down, preventing him from leading a normal life.

After inducing relaxation, he was asked to express his feelings toward the image, and then to let it communicate back to him in a way he could understand. The ball took on a sad face and said it was sorry, that it didn’t want to hurt him, but it was exhausted and needed some special care. He began to feel some empathy for it, and over time, the ball and chain turned into a small dog on a leash. In his imagery dialogues, it became a friend to him and assured him that he would feel better as well if he took better care of himself.

He realized that this was clearly in his own interest and as he began taking better care of himself and his ‘little dog’, he became more physically active, changed his diet, lost weight and ended up a year later feeling “better than I have in years!” Interactive Guided Imagery℠ helped him to gain a different perspective on his problem, to access and express his emotions, to find a better way of relating to his illness, and actually led him to make the changes that brought about good control of his disease.

While disease remission does not always occur, this type of imagery experience almost always leads to better self-understanding and enhanced coping skills for dealing with a chronic illness or condition.

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