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Solving Behavioral Problems With Guided Imagery

Guided imagery is often helpful for finding the reasons behind negative behavior problems that people struggle with, and changing them. One way this can be done is to do a guided meditation in which you meet the "part of yourself" that controls the undesirable behavior patterns and address them directly. ("Parts work" is typically associated with the modality known as NLP -- Neurolinguistic Programming -- but there is some relationship between this and guided imagery.)

Let’s say that you have a behavior pattern of talking too much, and you’re aware of it, but find it hard to stop. In a guided process you might address the part of yourself that does this, perhaps identifying it as your “Over-Talker”. Once you’re in a state of deep relaxation, you might say, “Over-Talker, why do you monopolize conversations the way you do?”
 
As a possible example, sometimes over-talkers suffer from a desperate need to feel heard and understood, and sometimes they feel an obsessive need to stay in control of every interaction. Your guided exploration can provide insight into the motivation behind the behavior, as well as the reasons behind the motivation.
 
Once you know the reason behind the behavior, you have the opportunity to do some negotiation. For example, you might explain to that part of yourself that, sure, sometimes people don’t listen to you, but people might like you better if you listened to them more. And if that part of you would agree to back off a little, you would be willing to spend some time working on expressing yourself in other ways, like music, art or writing, that would allow your feelings to be seen and heard. This is a kind of “two way” dialog with yourself, using guided imagery. Your “over-talker” might show you images, or give you feelings, or even speak to you in words.

This is an example of guided meditation that’s best done with another person -- preferably someone trained in this kind of work -- rather than with a pre-made recording. That way your helper can guide you during the session based on your immediate responses, instead of following a set script. One of the practitioners I know who is quite adept at such work is a hypnotherapist by the name of James Serendip.

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