Image Guidanceis a counseling technique I developed which uses imagery to integrate the self through spiritual, emotional and physical healing; it is a powerful tool which helps clients access their own inner wisdom through their own unique images. Though it does not replace conventional medical and psychological interventions, Image Guidance often allows clients to understand the roots of their issues and to find strategies for dealing with these issues in 1-2 sessions. I have used this process for helping clients in the following ways: to understand the causes of illnesses, negative attitudes, addictions, and problematic behavior patterns; to prepare for difficult or unpleasant medical procedures, personal confrontations or challenging situations; to discern what is most life giving when several choices present themselves; to live in harmony with situations which cannot be changed such as terminal illness, permanent disability, or irreversible loss; to understand and deepen relationships with God, self and others. The applications of this process are as varied as life itself. I have helped clients re-enter their dreams, return to specific moments in their childhoods, imagine a new future, reduce physical symptoms, and find courage to deal with the challenges which present themselves.
The process involves the following steps:
* Allowing an image to surface which reflects the issue at hand. The Guide asks leading questions until the Seeker arrives at suitable means of "picturing" the presenting issue.
* Examining the context from which the image arises. Guide and Seeker converse about the presenting issue so that the Guide has a full understanding as to what the Seeker is dealing with and what he or she hopes to accomplish through Image Guidance.
* Emptying oneself through deep breathing and relaxation exercises so that one can attend to the image. The Guide leads the Seeker into a deep state of relaxation in which the Seeker focuses on the image alone.
* Encountering the image. The Guide gives verbal directions so that the Seeker can interact with the imagery according to his or her comfort level.
* Conversing with the image while sharing with the Guide what one has seen, heard and felt. The Seeker descends into the unconscious where he or she is open to the wisdom which surfaces.
* Returning to "ordinary consciousness." When the Seeker has received the desired wisdom, the Guide helps him or her make the return journey.
* Processing the experience. When the Seeker is re-oriented to the present moment, the Guide discusses the experience with him or her and helps evaluate all that has happened.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH IMAGE GUIDANCE
I have published two books of case studies with Paulist Press: Image Guidance: a Tool for Spiritual Direction (1992) and Image Guidance and Healing (1994). In addition to working extensively with private clients, I have presented my research in numerous settings across the country, providing training to the following organizations: The Illinois Nurses Association; National Association of Catholic Therapists; The Office of Ministry Formation, Archdiocese of Chicago; The Wellness Center, Arlington Heights; Spiritual Directors International (SDI); Resurrection Hospital (chaplains); American Association for the Study of Mental Imagery; Catholic Theological Union (CTU); Queens Retreat House, Saskatoon; Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago (LSTC); the Lesbian Cancer Project, Chicago; St. Scholastica Priory, Duluth; St. Xavier University, DePaul University, Columbia College etc.
COURSE IN IMAGE GUIDANCE FOR LIFE COACHES/ SPIRITUAL DIRECTORS (10 ICF approved CEU's)
This course is designed specifically for Life Coaches so that they can learn to use aspects of Image Guidance in coaching contexts, especially in spiritually-based Life Coaching. The goal here is not to train coaches to become therapists or healers but to have another “tool of the trade” which they can use as brief interventions with certain clients. Applications would include but not be limited to: helping the client to identify and describe emotions such as fear, frustration, excitement, enthusiasm; assisting the client to name “blocks” to success and to trace the origins of these blocks, thereby reducing their negative energy; providing the client with an additional tool for discernment; assisting the client to imagine new possibilities and outcomes and to work towards these goals; helping the client to prioritize, take action and evaluate; affirming the client’s hopes and dreams while re-enforcing his/her belief in self; encouraging the client to accept new positions of leadership or areas of professional or personal responsibility etc. The course involves: lecture, readings and discussions, model sessions of Image Guidance conducted by instructor and participants; evaluation of transcripts provided by students. Syllabus available upon request.
Life Coaching * Spiritual Direction * Christian Spiritual Coaching* Catholic Spiritual Direction * Christian Retreats * Imagery and Healing * Workshops * Motivational Seminars * Keynote Addresses * Courses
Dr. Elizabeth-Anne Stewart
LIFE COACH AND SPIRITUAL GUIDE