Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Guided Imagery in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Angelina M. ZieglerEmail author
  • Danielle A. Black
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_84


Mental imagery; Mental representation; Visualization


Guided imagery is a cognitive behavioral technique in which the therapist guides a client through a series of positive images or positive outcomes. This process, sometimes known as positive suggestion, involves the therapist directing the client to imagine a positive outcome of some type, usually relating to mental or physical health (Sherman and Fredman 1986, p. 58). This technique serves a number of different uses in therapy. Numerous studies provide evidence of guided imagery’s effectiveness for such issues as coping with stress, reframing painful memories, opening up emotionally, discovering one’s values, connecting spiritually, finding comfort in one’s interpersonal relationships, and increasing the quality of those relationships (Kayser et al. 2010; Wadsworth et al. 2011; Roland 2002; Scuka 2012; Wheeler 1982; Leedes 1999; Sell et al. 2018).

Theoretical Framework

Guided Imagery originates from a Cognitive...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Applied Psychological and Family Studies, The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityChicagoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Brian Baucom
    • 1
  1. 1.University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA