My personal experience of GIM – Guided Imagery and Music

I had the privilege to experience my first Guided Imagery and Music session in 2007. The experience was incredible, and GIM has subsequently enriched and healed my life in a profound way.


Due to childhood trauma, and teenage depression I have struggled with a feeling of disassociation from my body for a number of years. I found ways of not feeling my body, and not feeling my feelings in order to cope with life.

Throughout the GIM session, I felt the power of life, the vibrant energy of vibration in my whole  body. It felt like the instruments were ‘dancing’ underneath my skin. It was an entirely new sensation for me. GIM has since taken me on a journey of gentle and deep healing. The secret lies in the healing power of music and this unique holistic approach of working with it. GIM can be seen as a specialised form of Music therapy.

Guided Imagery and Music, GIM is a music-centered, psycho-therapeutic healing modality, which can be applied in a variety of settings during individual sessions or group work. It was developed by the late Helen Bonny, in the United States in the 1970’s. It is a process of exploration of consciousness, facilitated by listening to specifically sequenced music programs in a relaxed state, accompanied by a GIM fellow – trained GIM practitioner. Music is seen as an auditory co-therapist and partner of the guide/GIM fellow. It acts upon the body, mind, and spirit of the traveler, to facilitate integration and healing.

Most often this broad framework is followed during an individual GIM session:

1. Introduction, choosing a theme and setting an intention

2. Relaxation

3. Music: Listening to recorded music program in a relaxed state – traveling to the GIM music program

4. Art expression of the journey – Mandala drawing

5. Post-talk

What are benefits of experiencing GIM as an individual?

GIM assists in stress reduction, it facilitates a feeling of well-being in a holistic way. It is particularly effective in the healing of grief, loss, depression and anxiety. GIM stimulates physical pain relief and healing of physical symptoms. It also brings about self-awareness and deep transformation, which brings about personal growth

A person who undergoes the GIM process, has the opportunity to integrate all of his/her mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of well-being. In addition to the feeling of wholeness as a human being, he/she is often awakened to a transcendent identification with the Greater Whole. Persons who experience GIM go through profound changes and, as a result of one or more sessions, make choices that lead to a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

The GIM method of healing was brought to South Africa in March 2007, by Prof. Dr. Gina Kaestele from the “Imago Institute”. A group of  enthusiastic students enrolled to do the training with Dr. Kaestele. The majority completed their training in September 2010.

The 10 South African GIM fellows are now practicing in a variety of settings in Cape Town and Gauteng. The South African network of Guided imagery and music was formed in August 2010. This network aims to support the SA GIM fellows in their work. It also aims to promote GIM in South – Africa and to organise further training possibilities. Visit for further details.

Please follow and like us: