Mental Imagery (Imagerie mentale)
This is a form of analytical/psychodynamic psychotherapy: its theoretical bases are rooted in psychoanalysis as it was formulated following the post-Freudian and post-Kleinian developments. In the Mental Imagery approach, the ‘Imaginary’ (the realm of images and the imagination) has a fundamental role in the process of representing the internal world of a patient with its many affects (feelings) and desires, defence mechanisms and the content of transference. An essential factor is thus the ‘holding and containing’ function of the therapist, who in his interpretational work takes into consideration his own counter-transference. It should be noted that beneath an image there will be subconscious fantasies, which take on a new meaning in the therapeutic relationship and acquire a fundamental function of promoting knowledge of the internal emotional world of the patient, whose Imaginary tends to be modified in relation to the transformations of his/her internal world. The Imaginary reveals fundamental events in the encounter with fears, frustrations, aspirations, dependence, the asymmetry of the therapeutic relationship and defences relating to painful feelings activated through transference. When a patient is depressed for example, the Imaginary becomes enriched, more dynamic and articulated.
As a therapeutic methodology - and with the aid of a therapist – music therapy allows for a form of communication via alternative channels with respect to the customary verbal exchange, starting from the principle of the individual’s ‘ISO’ (Identité Sonore’) or ‘sound identity’, which uses sounds, music and movement to open up channels of communication and a window onto the inner world of the individual. From the therapeutic point of view, intervention becomes an active multi-sensory, relational, emotional and cognitive stimulation, used for various purposes, such as prevention, rehabilitation and support in order to attain a fuller integration on the intrapersonal and interpersonal planes, improved equilibrium and psycho-physical harmony. Music therapy adopts a holistic approach, which addresses both the spiritual and physical dimensions: at one and the same time, sounds provoke emotional reactions and physiological responses, and thus, with this kind of therapeutic intervention, the mind and body are considered as a single unit. Music therapy solicits a subject’s involvement, contributes towards a reawakening of the will in lethargic patients or moderating excessive impetuosity in people that are aggressive with others. There are various possible fields of application of this approach. The technique has been particularly useful in the improvement of disorders caused by anxiety and stress. Music therapy sessions can be very effective in relaxing subjects who are too tense or, inversely, may restore optimism and vitality in individuals suffering from moments of lethargy and depression.
Through acting, this psychological method allows people to express various dimensions of their lives and establish constructive links between them. By acting out scenes on a stage or within a ‘pseudo-theatrical’ setting, psychodrama facilitates the establishing of a more harmonious ‘weave’ between the intrapsychic needs and the demands of reality and leads to the discovery and valorisation of one’s spontaneity and creativity. In the 1920s, J. L. Moreno, a psychiatrist and pioneer in the field of group processes, saw the importance and therapeutic effectiveness of organising ‘theatrical’ representations of what an individual is experiencing, or has experienced, would like to experience, would have liked to experience and so on. The acting out of these dimensions of one’s desires and psychic tension allows participants to initiate within a secure and reassuring context a perceivable, active and constructive dialogue between the various aspects of their lives. Individuals may thus attain a higher level of consciousness of their inner self and greater confidence, and may access more spontaneous and creative modalities in their way of relating to themselves and to others. Psychodrama is a method of personal development essentially based on the activation of the content of one’s inner world. By means of this method, a person can ‘play’, bringing out and tangibly acting out on a stage his/her inner self.
This branch of medicine relates the mind with the body, reflecting on and studying an individual’s emotional world in relation to somatic reactivity (the disorder), and in more concrete terms, dealing with the detection and understanding of the influence feelings have over the body. Within the medical sphere, it is now customary to consider that an individual’s physical and psychic wellbeing are interconnected. The mind and body interact reciprocally. It appears increasingly evident that every physical disorder derives from a constellation of factors of varying origin, and amongst these the psychological factor is acquiring increasing significance. It is moreover hypothesized that the latter factor, depending on its nature, may act, facilitating the onset of a disease or, inversely, facilitating its cure. In the treatment of psychosomatic disorders or dysfunctions many different techniques are adopted. The various methods that have been developed include relaxation training, cognitive restructuring and biofeedback. These techniques offer very effective results in the case of anxiety disorders. In particular, biofeedback (which involves the use of electronic equipment designed to monitor in real time and provide ‘feedback’ on the main physiological functions, such as the heartbeat, blood pressure, breathing and muscular tension) is used to teach patients to control their bodily functions in a voluntary manner with the aim of producing an enhanced state of relaxation and greater awareness of the physical aspects of their life.
>>> (Character-Analytic Vegetotherapy)