Interactive guided imagery and EMDR:  Synergy and complementarity


I. What is Imagery? An image is a thought-form with sensory qualities. It is an internal representation of personal reality. Imagery is the natural, efficient way the human nervous system stores, processes and accesses information. Imagery is the major natural language of the unconscious II. What is Interactive Communication? There are three levels of interactive communication. (1) Non-interactive communication in which the client is a passive participant of suggestion and the guide sets the pacing and direction of the experience. (2) One way interactive communication in which the guide provides the direction but the client sets the pace (e.g. "let me know when you are feeling more comfortable and relaxed). (3) Two way interactive communication in which the client provides both the pace and the direction of the experience. There are many great advantages to working interactively. Greater client participation in the process leads to greater client empowerment, and with a greater sense of personal control, clients are able to progress more rapidly with less resistance to the change process. III. What is Interactive Guided Imagery"? - Interactive Guided Imagery is a therapeutic approach that quickly accesses and simultaneously utilizes the rich resources available from both the client's conscious and unconscious minds. It includes a set of techniques designed to enhance relaxation, reduce the effects of stress, modulate affect, increase motivation, expand creativity and problem solving abilities, resolve conflicts and the sequellae of trauma and facilitate action planning. IV. The Inner Advisor - The Inner Advisor is an internalized image that has the qualifies of wisdom and compassion. It can represent a crucial inner support system for clients dealing with PTSD. Participants are taught how to find their own Inner Advisors and to establish a dialogue that can lead to future inner exploration. The benefits and potential complications of working with Advisor figures are discussed. V. EMDR and Interactive Guided Imagery - (IGI) Drs. Bresler and Rossman discuss what Interactive Guided Imagery and EMDR have in common and how they differ. In particular, EMDR therapists are encouraged to utilize Conditioned Relaxation to enhance the clearing process during eye movements, and to recruit the assistance of the Inner Advisor to prevent or reduce flooding, traumatic insight, and/or regression panic. Conflict resolution techniques are also discussed.






Martin Rossman
David Bressler

Original Work Citation

Rossman, M. & Bressler, D. (1995, June). Interactive guided imagery and EMDR: Synergy and complementarity. Presentation at the EMDR Network Conference, Santa Monica, CA



“Interactive guided imagery and EMDR:  Synergy and complementarity,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed November 24, 2020,

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