Image by Free-Photos
Editor's Note: While this article is written to help a child contact their inner advisor, it can also be used for an adult to do so as well.
The fascinating technique of the "Inner Advisor" is number two on my list of hits. The parent guides the child to bring forth an image that represents wisdom, love, support, and safety. This image can be anything: a family member, an animal, a spiritual figure, a shape, or even a presence.
Inner advisors can be guardian angels, imaginary friends, or simple intuition -- that important small voice within. The child is guided to interact with that image while the parent aids the child in describing the image and asking the image questions.
Keep in mind that listening is an important part of the parent's role. Be patient, and give time for the child to do the work. It is essential that nothing should be rushed, and patience on the parent's part is vital. When the child or teen is interacting with the imagery, it is an active process.
Liaison Between Conscious and Subconscious Mind
The inner advisor is the liaison between the conscious and the subconscious mind and is a powerful concept and tool. In imagery, the guidance from the inner advisor figure makes our unconscious minds more accessible. The inner advisor is a wonderful image for the child to interact with because many times the advisor has the answers to the child's feelings about specific symptoms. The inner advisor figure can be used for support, diagnosis, conflict resolution, problem solving, and symptom control.
Martin Rossman, M.D., of the Academy of Guided Imagery has said, "[Y]our whole inner mind is an advisor because it contains a vast amount of information about you and your well-being. It will naturally try to express those thoughts, feelings, and actions that are most important in your life. When you ask your image about something, whether it's a symptom, an illness, a problem, or a feeling, the image will give you information about that 'something' which you may not have been aware of."
Who Knows You Better Than You Do?
Another way to think of it is to ask the question: "Who knows you better than you do?" You actually have all the answers to the questions that concern yourself, but they are deep inside under many layers. This pertains to a child as well as an adult, but the child just may not be sophisticated enough to have the tools to get answers to those deeper questions. The inner healer or advisor gives the child these tools. It is an image of a person or thing that is more concrete (though built in the imagination) to work with.
Get The Latest From InnerSelf
Keep in mind that the image can speak to the child with words or telepathically. For a kinetic child, the inner advisor may be a feeling or a presence. Through the senses, this imagined image helps the child to touch the inner core or being, with awakened and heightened awareness in order to be able to listen to the small voice within. This connection is especially crucial concerning health issues. Naturally, a young child may not immediately grasp how the inner advisor works, and that's okay. The parent should not get hung up on a lot of explaining to the child, so let the process take its course. Keep in mind that you can use a different word instead of advisor or healer. I have used doctor, helper, friend, or nurse, usually in the case of a younger child.
Inner advisors can help with all aspects of exploration in imagery. They are there for guidance and advice, assisting in answering questions about symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. They help the children and teens to uncover information, solve problems, and resolve conflict.
Do a relaxation exercise prior to the imagery.
You are taking quiet, deep breaths ... relaxing your body ... making yourself quiet and calm ... letting go of any tension ... deeply breathing ... listening to your breath....
Now that you are relaxed and quiet ... feeling open and comfortable ... go to your special place and let an image ... or picture come to you.... This image is very nice and would never hurt you. It is here to help you ... it can be anything at all ... a person ... an animal ... just let it form.... It is someone or something that is safe and very wise ... just let it come ... it will answer any questions you may have ... take your time ... there is no rush ? slowly... When you are ready, raise a finger (or nod your head) to let me know you are ready. ... When this image comes to you, take a moment to become relaxed and comfortable with it, looking at it.
[This is where the child is interacting with the image and giving you information during that interaction.]
Go slowly ... What does it look like? ... Tell me more ... go ahead and introduce yourself, and ask the image its name ... ask your advisor if it is going to help you ... letting the image talk to you ... answer you ...
[Encourage communication with the image.]
... no rush ... ask the image any question you may have today... anything about your illness (symptoms). What does it say?... Tell me more ...
[Be patient and give time for the child to do the work. Nothing should be rushed.]
If this image cannot help you, ask if there is someone or something else that could. If so, ask the image to introduce you to this "new" image.
[Repeat the above questions to this image. It may be the true inner healer.]
When you are finished, thank your new friend and advisor for coming today and answering your questions.... Offer a gift of thanks (e.g., berries if the image is a bird). Ask your advisor if it will meet with you again and continue to be there for you ...
When you are ready, begin to return to the room ... taking your time ... thinking of your breathing again ... hearing the sounds in the room ... slowly ... begin opening your eyes ... your body relaxed, comfortable ... feeling wonderful that you have a special friend(s) to help you whenever you need advice.
Wrap-up: Let the child tell you about the image of the inner advisor and how that felt. What did the child find out? Was anything about the imagery surprising? Did the inner advisor help? Did the feelings change from the start of the session to the end of the session? Did the child learn anything new?
More Than One Inner Advisor?
Please note that a child can have more than one inner advisor. Frequently, I have found that the first image may not be the true inner advisor/healer but, rather, a guide that introduces the child or teen to other images.
I practice with some children who have numerous inner advisors to help them with specific issues. For one of my patients, there is "Stanley" the horse, for when the child feels the need for control and strength. There is "Dr. Chirp; the goldfinch who helps with all the little stomachaches and headaches. There is "Goldy" the fish who helps with math -- and all the while "Lauren" the raccoon is the hostess, introducing new helpers that live in the child's mind.
As you can see, once the child has started to trust imagery, the imagery can expand and grow into many areas, helping the child in ways you have never imagined.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Beyond Words Publishing Inc. ©2001.
Guided Imagery for Healing Children and Teens
by Ellen Curran.
Their own naturally rich imaginations are one of the best resources for healing children or helping them through difficult times. Guided Imagery for Healing Children and Teens shows parents, caregivers, and wellness practitioners how to tap into this powerful source of healing to help children overcome the pain and discomfort of anything from a minor fever to cancer. This easy-to-use manual includes an explanation of mind-body medicine and imagery, real-life case studies from the author's experience, and many rich, scripted imageries for both the younger child and teenager. Equipped with these valuable tools, children can connect with their self-healing abilities, strengthen their self-esteem, and enjoy their own imaginations!
Info/Order this book. Also available as a Kindle edition.
About the Author
Ellen Curran has been a registered nurse for twenty-four years. She has been certified in Interactive Guided Imagery through the Beyond Ordinary Nursing Program (BON), sponsored by the American Holistic Nurses Association. Ellen has a private practice in guided imagery where she works with children with multiple disabilities and pain problems as part of their wellness plan.