The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) is a music-centered depth approach to transformational therapy that uses selected sequences of classical music to support the generation of and movement through inner experiences. In GIM, the music serves as a catalyst and container for imagery that allows one to access and explore both the depths and the heights of the human experience.
The typical GIM session begins with a preliminary conversation during which the therapist assesses the mood and energy level of the client and selects the music program for the session. The client then reclines as the therapist offers suggestions for relaxing the body and focusing the mind in preparation for the music. Once the music begins the therapist does not make suggestions as is typical in other forms of music and imagery. Instead, the client takes the therapist along on his/her journey by describing the experience as it unfolds. The therapist's role is one of facilitator and witness, to support the client's engagement with whatever experience may come. After the 35-45 minute period of music, the therapist facilitates a return to waking consciousness, and the client and therapist review the session together.
Training in the Bonny Method
Appalachian State University offers all three levels of training in the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music for qualified professional therapists. All levels combine didactic instruction with supervised, experiential learning. Personal experiences in the Bonny Method are included at each level. This training is endorsed by the Association for Music and Imagery (AMI). Trainees who satisfactorily complete all three levels of training are eligible to apply to AMI for registration as a Fellow of AMI, the professional designation in the Bonny Method of GIM. Graduate academic credit and continuing education credits for both board-certified music therapists and board-certified counselors are offered.
The philosophy of Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) training at Appalachian State University is founded on beliefs in 1) the self-actualizing potential of every human being, 2) the wisdom of the Psyche, when heeded, to lead one toward growth, 3) the power of music to facilitate such growth, and 4) the capacity of the human imagination to provide a door into the Self, thereby serving as a conduit for growth-inducing experience. Grounded in Jungian and experiential models of psychotherapy, as well as the transpersonal psychology of Frances Vaughn and Ken Wilber, we view increased awareness; reconciliation and integration of opposites, both with self and between self and others; and exploration of transpersonal and archetypal experiences to be foundations for personal and spiritual growth.
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