Learning Experience Choosing the wrong imagery

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View from the far side of the recliner

Learning Experiences Chapter 1

Choosing the wrong imagery for deepening relaxation;


Although I learned the technique of using the concept of an elevator to help the client go deeper into a trance it’s one that I don’t use. Many people if they aren’t flat out claustrophobic are at least uncomfortable in elevators. An elevator can be a socially awkward place, trying to avoid eye contact while your personal space is getting squeezed and memories from the many movies and TV shows that used the situation of people trapped in an elevator run through you head. Elevators can be funny, George Carlin talked about farting in one and sending it empty to another floor. (George Carlin had a lot of very funny things to say. His bit on gas is classic.) There are scenes with people in elevators used for humor but laughing even though very beneficial in many ways doesn’t help the person get to that deep place. It just isn’t worth it to me to use as a method to calm people. Stairs seem to work better for me. Maybe I like the exercise.

Other Imagery; Falling/Fire

I haven’t used the imagery of falling, off a building, a bridge, a mountain, a tree, into a hole, a well any type of falling other than “deeper into sleep”.

Fire, as in looking into can be very relaxing. Other aspects of fire could get you burned.


After asking about my client’s history to make sure there have been no negative experiences with water and determining that the client does find being in water in some setting is relaxing, water is my go to imagery.

The Learning Experience

I had a client and friend that had grown up near the ocean, went on at least annual river trips, basically water seemed like the perfect medium for relaxation. This person suffered from occasional incapacitating migraine headaches. Sometimes if you can catch them early enough it just might work to either stop it or at least take the edge off. This time the situation was doomed from the beginning. My friend already had the headache for a while, thinking that I could help her anyway (hey I was new at this) I went to her house. Then I made things worse by using the imagery of floating on the water with the gentle rocking of the waves helping you becoming even more relaxed. The feeling of rocking, gentle or not just made her feel nauseated. The only good things are that she is still my friend (I think) and her migraines have become infrequent. Maybe she just says that so I won’t offer to help.

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