BONNY METHOD OF GUIDED IMAGERY AND MUSIC
For you daydreaming, insight-seeking, metaphor-loving humans, the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (BMGIM) may be a modality for you. BMGIM is a depth-process therapy that uses music to assist you in expanding your consciousness and moving through your inner experiences through imagery. Experiencing imagery in this way helps you integrate aspects of your mental, emotional, social, physical, and spiritual health.
BMGIM was developed by Helen L. Bonny, Ph.D., in the 1970s. A musician who had a mystical experience while playing her violin, Bonny had a unique and innate understanding of how music could be used to foster healing at a deep and spiritual level. Bonny used this understanding as she provided musical support during the federal government’s research into the consciousness-expending effects of LSD at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center in the 1970s. Bonny initially began using relaxation techniques and classical music to support research subjects’ experiences while under the influence of LSD; however, after facilitating sessions with research subjects’ family members without the drug, she recognized that the music was the catalyst for change. She left the Center and consequently continued to develop, research, and refine the Bonny Method. Since then, BMGIM has been used successfully with adults, adolescents, and individuals with terminal illness, in psychiatric settings, in recovery from substance use disorders, and others.
Individual BMGIM sessions last up to two hours and typically begin with a verbal check-in that sets the tone for the session. You are then invited to either lay down or recline as I provide a guided meditation to help you relax your body and focus your mind. Based on the tone of the session, I then select and play recorded classical music selections that sparks your inner experience. This could be visual pictures, emotions, body sensations, memories, or even nothing; whatever you experience is welcomed and honored. As your inner experience unfolds, you share it aloud with me, and I write it down; I am also there to help you deepen the experience as you choose and to provide support throughout. After the music selection is concluded, your experience is processed based on what is most supportive through you, whether that be verbally, through creating art, through musical improvisation, or another form of processing to work through and integrate your experience. You are given a transcript of your experience during the music as a record and potential tool to utilize between sessions. This format of sessions may be modified based on your needs.