The Positive Power of Imagery - HarnessingClient Imagination in CBT and Related Therapies
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More About This Title The Positive Power of Imagery - HarnessingClient Imagination in CBT and Related Therapies


The Positive Power of Imagerypresents the theory and practice of imagery therapy as a creative intervention that challenges therapists to learn the skills for creatively designing personalized exercises to match clients' specific needs, problems, and personalities.
  • Presents a unique integration of imagery therapy with CBT and positive psychology
  • Challenges therapists to develop imagery therapy techniques tailored to fit their individual clients' personalities and problems
  • Features case illustrations and guidelines for the use of imagery and metaphors for both adults and children


Tammie Ronen is a Professor at the Bob Shapell School of Social Work at Tel-Aviv University, where she is in charge of Child Clinical Studies. She is also the Head of the Renata Adler Memorial Research Centre for child welfare and protection. She has written widely in the areas of cognitive behaviour therapy, child therapy, and positive psychology, and is a well known international lecturer on these topics.


List of Tables.


About the Author.


1 Introduction: On Becoming a Therapist.

Who Am I and What Am I Doing? (The Emperor is Naked; The Wingless Bird).

How Can I Do What I Plan to Do? (The Ladder; Having a Dream).

Swimming Against the Tide: How Can I Remain Positive?

How Can I Best Do What Needs to Be Done? (Discovering Creativity and Guided Imagination).

Overview of the Book.

2 Thinking Like a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapist.

The Basic View Underlying CBT.

Traditional Behavioral Therapy.

The Transition to an Approach Integrating Cognitive Therapy.

The Integration of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies.

Self-Control Models: An Offshoot of Integrated CBT.

Constructivism Enters the Scene.

Mindfulness Becomes Part of CBT.

Major Tenets and Processes of CBT.

Skills-Directed Therapy.


Practice: Guidelines for Developing the Client's Profile.

3 On Being a Positive Therapist.

Becoming a Recognized Theory and Therapy.

The Positive View of Clients and Therapeutic Processes.

Defining Positive Psychology.

Positive Psychology and Happiness.

Subjective Wellbeing.

Training in Positive Psychology.


Practice: Guidelines for Applying Positive Psychology Exercises.

4 Creativity: Who Needs It, and for What?

What Is Creativity?

Creativity and Emotion.

Creativity, Genetics, and Intelligence.

How Can One Promote Creative Action?

Who Are Creative People?

Creative Psychotherapy and Creative Psychotherapists.

Noncreative Imagery in Therapy.

Techniques to Facilitate Therapists' Creativity.


Practice: Guidelines for Activating One's Creativity.

5 Applying Developmental CBT with Children.

The Unique Nature of Childhood.

Characteristics of Childhood Disorders.

CBT with Children as Distinct from CBT with Adults.

Applying CBT with Children.

Considering Developmental Components.


Practice: Guidelines for Applying CBT with Children.


6 Major Concepts Regarding Imagery.

Perspectives on the Major Concepts.

Imagery and Memory.

Historical Uses of Imagery.


Types of Imagery.

Pros and Cons of Working with Imagery.


Practice: Guidelines for Increasing Therapists’ Own Ability to Elicit Memories.

7 Using Imagery in Psychotherapy: How, Why, and What For?

What Kinds of Therapies Can Integrate Imagery, and for Which Client Problems?

Overcoming Resistance to or Anxiety about Imagery Work.

The Major Benefits of Imagery Use in Psychotherapy.

Dangers of Working with Imagery.


Practice: Guidelines for Therapists and Clients to Foster Imagery in Therapy.

8 Using Metaphors in Therapy.

What Are Metaphors?

Metaphors and Emotions.

The Role of Metaphors in Therapy.

Client- and Therapist-Generated Metaphors.


Practice: Guidelines for Therapists Beginning Metaphor Work.


9 Getting Ready to Start: Relaxation.

Preliminary Preparations.



Types of Relaxation Techniques.


Practice: Guidelines for Therapist Self-Relaxation Exercises.

10 Basic Guidelines for Conducting Imagery Therapy: From Setting to Termination.

Preparation of Therapist, Setting, and Client.

Pre-Imagery Exercises in Eliciting Images.

Pre-Imagery Practice of Client Relaxation, to Set the Stage for Generating Images.

Bringing Up Images and Describing Them.

Facilitating New Coping Skills Through Imagery.

Ending the Imagery Work Phase Within the Session.

Follow-Up to Imagery Work: Reflection, Interpretation, and Meaning Making.

Assigning Homework.


Practice: Guidelines for Summarizing Knowledge and Skills Needed for Conducting the Session.

11 Adapting Relaxation and Imagery to Children.

Applying Relaxation to Diverse Childhood Disorders.

Adapting Relaxation Techniques to Children’s Needs and Abilities.

Case I: Dianne's Television Phobia and Anxieties.

Case II: Ronnie's Stuttering.

Case III: Daniel's Test Anxiety.

Applying Imagery Techniques with Children.


Practice: Guidelines for Adapting Relaxation and Imagery to Children and Young People.


12 Using Imagery for Assessing Clients Throughout the Treatment Process.

Imagery Integration into Assessment.

Assessment in Different Treatment Phases.

Targets for Conducting Assessment.


Practice: Guidelines for the Main Questions Directed at Each Assessment Target.

13 Applying Imagery to Treat Past Events (Fears, Trauma, Posttrauma.

Treating Distressing Past Events.

Imaginal Exposure Followed by In Vivo Exposure.

Imaginal Exposure Instead of In Vivo Exposure.

Imagery as a Way to Elicit Memories and Remember Forgotten Material.

Using Imagery for Cognitive Restructuring of Past Trauma.


Practice: Guidelines for Choosing Between Options.

14 Imparting Assessment and Awareness Skills for Changing Present Behavior.

Imparting Skills for Self-Assessment.

Imparting Skills for Assessment of Relationships.

Imparting Skills to Increase Awareness of Internal Stimuli.

Imparting Skills for Changing Automatic Thoughts.


Practice: General Guidelines.

15 Imparting Skills to Improve Present Coping.

Skills for Coping with Performance and Test Anxiety.

Preparation Phase: Learning and Memorizing Materials Through Visualization.

Execution Phase: Alternative Positive Images, Gradual Exposure, Humor, and Role Reversal.

Eliciting Positive Images During Stressful Performance Situations.

Implementing Gradual Exposure to the Feared Situation.

Using Humor and Role Reversal to Gain Control and Confidence.

Skills for Improving Social Relationships.

Skills for Initiating Social Contacts.

Assertiveness Skills (Learning to Say No).


16 Imparting Skills for Developing a Positive View of the Future.

Planning the Future.

Facilitating Positive Emotions and Sensations.

Increasing Happy Relationships.


17 Imparting Skills to Help Children Change: Further Guidelines and Case Illustrations.

Treating Young Children.

Treating Children in Middle Childhood.

Treating Adolescents.


Practice: Guidelines for Imparting Skills to Children 274


18 Helping Therapists Help Themselves.

Skills for Self-Supervision.

Skills for Learning to "Get Rid" of Difficult Things and Continue Toward the Future.

Skills for Focusing on Your Own Positive Abilities as a Therapist.

Skills for Planning Future Therapeutic Processes.

General Skills for Helping Yourself.


19 Summary: Limitations, Dangers, and Future Directions.

Limitations: Is Imagery Therapy Evidence Based?

Are There Dangers in Applying Imagery Therapy?

Last Words.




“It is a well-written, easily and understandable book with lots of case illustrations and practical guidelines, which help not only the beginners but the more experienced therapists as well.”  (European Journal of Mental Health, 1 June 2012)


"Exceptionally well-written and expertly organized, The Positive Power of Imagery gracefully weaves together research, clinical experience, personal stories, images and metaphors in a rich and engaging tapestry. Ronen seamlessly integrates psychotherapeutic traditions with a fresh, exciting perspective on imagery work for various clinical problems and populations".
Robert D. Friedberg, Associate Professor, Penn State College of Medicine, USA

"I strongly recommend this book. It is an excellent guide to the use of imagery in psychotherapy in order to help clients overcome problems and attain goals. Professor Ronen gives numerous and valuable case histories which describe how imagery can be employed to this end. Her creativity and immense clinical experience shine through and offer readers many original ideas about ways in which they can harness imagery to benefit clients". 
—Isaac Marks, Professor Emeritus, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK

"Imagery, long a staple of psychodynamic therapy, has re-emerged as a powerful and important technique in the therapeutic armamentarium in cognitive behavioral therapy. With this incisive and comprehensive clinical volume, one of the international experts on CBT, Tammie Ronen, has brought imagery front-and-center for the CBT therapist. The content, Ronen's clear writing style and presentation of the conceptual, strategic and technical work, are superb. The clinical perspectives and examples make this an essential guide for experienced and novice CBT therapists".
Arthur Freeman, Director of Clinical Psychology, Midwestern University, USA

Tammie Ronen has written a remarkable book. She combines an intensely personal reflection on her own therapeutic practice with a scholarly review of a number of fields of enquiry, including positive psychology, creativity, and the issue of imagery and metaphor in therapy. She provides illuminating clinical examples throughout the book, and also suggestions for ways in which therapists can improve their practice. This is a fascinating book, which will be revisited again and again.
Ann Hackmann, Oxford University Department of Psychiatry, UK