Recognizing the Power of Visualization
Visualization is a powerful therapeutic tool that helps patients to focus on specific mental images and trains of thought. It is intended to help improve their lives by working through trauma, visualizing future success, changing ingrained and toxic thought processes, and motivational issues.
Psychology research has shown that strong visualizations actually activate the same brain areas that doing a particular task requires, making visualization an effective tool in many forms of training and therapy.
How Visualization Works
The mind is a powerful tool in psychology, and using this tool to eliminate or reduce toxic and negative thought processes is a significant step towards improving patient health. When positive images replace the negative images in a patient's mind, it helps to create positive thought processes that occur on a consistent basis. It takes time to move away from the original thoughts that the patient has, but with enough repetition these thoughts take root and help your patient become happier overall.
Visualization also helps patients who have motivational issues or are overwhelmed by all of the steps leading up to their end goal. Instead of focusing on the entirety of the steps they must take, the patient focuses on the end goal, and visualizes how they will feel once they accomplish this goal. From there, you can help them visualize succeeding at each step of the task to make it feel as though they have already accomplished it. Over time, the patient's brain will realize that they are capable of succeeding and start avoiding any negativity.
Who Can Benefit from Visualization
Visualization is a versatile tool that can be used across the therapy board, but there are a few areas where it is particularly well received by patients. Patients with phobias of various types use visualization as a way to safely meet the fear in a controlled manner, helping with the desensitization process. Depression is another area that allows patients to focus on positive thought patterns to try to break the cycle of negativity that depression brings. In sport-exercise therapy, athletes focusing on visualizing their successes and overcoming obstacles along the way, as part of their efforts to optimize their performance in upcoming competitions.
While visualization can stand on its own as a therapy technique, it is often combined with other treatment options such as multimodal therapy, hypnotherapy, and cognitive processing therapy.