Mervin Smucker. The Use of Imagery in CBT to Promote Therapeutic Change.

Mervin R Smucker

The use of imagery interventions in CBT has been an emerging topic among CBT theorists and clinicians in recent years. Clinicians are finding that intrusive, affect-laden images can contribute to significant distress in a variety of psychological disorders, and that using imagery interventions directly on upsetting images can be a powerful approach that leads to alleviation of emotional distress.

Research has found that emotional memory tends to be visual in nature, and conversely, mental imagery is generally more emotional than verbal processing of the same material.  As such, directly challenging and modifying distressing images appears to be a powerful means of promoting emotional change.

In recent years, a number of different CBT treatments have emerged that use imagery to promote change with a range of anxiety disorders, depression, and personality disorders.

Mervin Smucker