Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) Training and Practice: a series of videos intended for music therapists, counsellors and psychotherapists interested in training in GIM:


GIM Training: Introduction

This introductory video discusses the importance of Music and Imagery (MI) methods alongside GIM methods in contemporary practice and research, explaining how GIM training and practice have evolved. Whilst traditionally training was at 3 levels this is no longer necessarily so, the content and structuring of courses varying, even though they all meet the same training standards currently set by the Association for Music and Imagery (AMI). Most especially some but not all courses teach MI in addition to GIM, with some courses also offering independent qualifications in MI. This includes the London based Integrative GIM Training Programme. This makes it possible to simply complete one or both of the relatively short MI trainings offered on the London Course and be qualified to practice MI without necessarily needing to go on and complete the full GIM training.

Overview of the Spectrum of GIM and MI Methods and Training

This video outlines GIM in contemporary practice and research as a spectrum of GIM and simpler Music and Imagery (MI) methods, allowing different types and levels of work to take place place with a variety of different client populations, across age groups, in individual and in group work, in short-term focused work and in longer term work. Training in this spectrum of methods is discussed as delivered by the London based Integrative GIM Training Programme.

The Bonny Method of GIM

The video discusses The Bonny Method of GIM as originally developed by US based music therapist and researcher Helen Bonny in the 1970s, the Bonny Method remaining the best known GIM method. The components of a session are discussed involving the client imaging whilst listening to a 30-45 minute programme of recorded music, in a deeply relaxed (altered, or non-ordinary) state of consciousness. The nature of the process, of the imagery and the role of the music is discussed. So is the role of the therapist where s/he provides non-directive support for the client's imagery experience, GIM differing from other forms of Guided Imagery in this respect. The processing of the client's experience is also discussed, sometimes involving creative processing (e.g. mandala drawing) as well as verbal discussion.

Different Levels of Psychotherapy in GIM and MI

The video outlines how the contemporary spectrum of GIM and simpler Music and Imagery (MI) methods makes different types or levels of work possible as part of a safe, effective and flexible approach to meeting client need. This is where it may not only be the case that different clients have different needs, but also be the case that the same client may have different needs on different occasions so that different GIM or MI methods may be appropriate. This is discussed with reference to Wohlberg's levels of psychotherapy (supportive or resource oriented; reeducative or problem/issue oriented; and reconstructive) and Summer's Continuum Model of GIM. Whilst the Bonny Method of GIM, the original method developed, is the most suitable for reconstructive level work which can be powerful and deeply transformative, clients do not always need or may not always be ready for this type of work whereas other GIM methods may be very helpful. MI methods may also be, the difference between MI and GIM methods being discussed in the video. 



Case Examples


A number of case examples of work in Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) are discussed to illustrate how the process works and can benefit clients.


A video description of a Bonny Method experience (Abrams)

This is a fine example of a Bonny Method experience recounted by GIM Fellow Brian Abrams. It illustrates the power of the method and gives a sense of how the music is central to the experience which is yet very much the client's own. The music comes from one of the first GIM music programmes created by Helen Bonny.


Video extract: Invited by Music (Clark)

Marilyn Clark was one of the first people to be trained by Helen Bonny and here describes her first GIM experience.


Music and Imagery Association of Australia (MIAA): Video Gallery


What is Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) Therapy? (Denise Grocke)


Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) Therapy – Individual Sessions (Carolyn Van Dort)


Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) Therapy – Anxiety Resolution (Rachael Martin)


Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) Therapy – Grief Resolution (Denise Grocke)


Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) Therapy – Group sessions (Carolyn Van Dort)


The GIM Process (Pat Hamilton)



Short articles and posters

What is The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM)?


This article describes the core elements of the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM)


What does 'guiding' involve in the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music?


People often aren't sure what guiding means in GIM, and it may not be what it is assumed to be.  Most especially, the therapist does not tell the client what to imagine. This article explains more about it.


What is 'imagery' in GIM?


This article outlines the range of imagery experiences that clients can experience in Guided Imagery and Music (GIM). Most especially imagery refers to far more than visual imaging alone. It can include experiences in all the sensory modalities, body-based experiences and the experience of the music itself; the interplay of music, emotion and image being central to the process in GIM.


Guided Imagery and Music (GIM): The Spectrum of Contemporary Practice


This article outlines the contemporary spectrum of practice in GIM based on a poster presented at the 2016 British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT) conference. 


Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) and the rise of imagery based practice and research in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)


This article discusses recent findings from empirical research in CBT where work involving mental imagery is a current 'hot topic' in CBT. The research affirms much of what is already known in GIM, whilst also bringing fresh perspectives to bear. 


The Importance of Listening - Just Listening….


This poster was created by Liz Coombes for the 2017 Nordoff Robbins 'Exploring the Spiritual in Music Conference'. It is about the use of GIM techniques with trainee music therapists.





Database on GIM Literature


This is a comprehensive database of GIM literature up to January 2016. It is a good place to start searches for literature e.g. for trainees, clinicians and researchers.


Approaches: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Music Therapy - Special Issue 9 (2) 2017: “Guided Imagery and Music: Contemporary European perspectives and developments” (free to download)




  • Celebrating Guided Imagery and Music developments in Europe

  • Evangelia Papanikolaou & Bolette Daniels Beck 




  • Trauma-focused group music and imagery with women suffering from PTSD/complex PTSD: A feasibility study (Gabriella Rudstam, Ulf Elofsson, Hans Peter Søndergaard, Lars Ole Bonde & Bolette Daniels Beck)

  • The Redescriptive Technique: An adaptation of the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (BMGIM) to bring tacit knowledge into awareness (Gabriella Giordanella Perilli ) 

  • Perspectives on Music Imagery and complex chronic pain (llan Sanfi & Erik Christensen)

  • Combining Schema Therapy and Guided Imagery and Music (Gert Tuinmann) 

  • Guided Imagery and Music (GIM): Reflections on supervision in training and therapy (Isabelle Frohne-Hagemann) 

  • The Process of Surrender: A psychotherapist’s homecoming (Katarina Mårtenson Blom)  

  • Music as dynamic experience of unfolding wholeness in Guided Imagery and Music (GIM): A psychoanalytic, musical, transpersonal and trans-scientific paradigm (Martin Lawes) 

  • The future of the Bonny Method: A perspective on Danish practice with a forecast to the future (Lars Ole Bonde) 

  • Fairy tale composing as an alternative creative processing in group GIM (Evdokia Smirnioti, Sofia Trifonopoulou & Eleni Tsolka)

  • Searching for the unknown: A case study with a young woman suffering from music performance anxiety (Alice Pehk)

  • Aging into childhood through loss, emptiness, and recognition: A GIM case study (Katarina Mårtenson Blom) 

  • ‘Soundscapes’: A Norwegian music programme in the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) elucidated through individual GIM therapy (Gro Trondalen) 

  • ‘New Blood’: A contemporary GIM programme (Svein Fuglestad) 




  • In search of the lost grail: An interview with Torben Moe (Torben Moe & Steen Teis Lund)


Conference report


  • 12th European Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) Conference ‘European perspectives on Guided Imagery and Music: Visions, challenges and crossroads’ (Maria Samara)


Book review


  • Variations in Guided Imagery and Music: Taking a Closer Look (Bryan Muller) (Reviewed by Martin Lawes) 


An Overview of Research in the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (free to download)


An overview by Denise Grocke published in 2010:


Parallel with the development of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM), Helen Bonny was also involved in research studies at the Baltimore Psychiatric Research Centre.  This article follows the development of research studies in the Bonny Method of GIM from the 1970s to the present day.  Some studies, particularly those focussing on medical conditions, utilize a quantitative framework in which measurement of variables is the cornerstone.  Other studies have focussed on a qualitative paradigm where the focus is on the experience of participants receiving the Bonny Method of GIM.  Further, many studies now use adaptations of the original form, either because the client group requires shorter programs, or different music, or because the therapist modifies GIM to provide a different experience to that of the individual 1.5+ hour session.  These adaptations are also addressed in this article.  Finally, researchers have explored the music used in the Bonny Method of GIM from different perspectives, either by analyzing the structure of the music, or measuring how the music effects imagery creation, or physiological measures of the body. What is evident from this overview of research is that many studies are done at Master’s and PhD level, or conducted by a team of researchers. There is great diversity in what has been researched to date, indicating that research will continue to be an important aspect of GIM practice.


PhD dissertations on GIM from Aalborg University (free to download)


Aalborg University has a PhD program where music therapy clinicians from all over the world do research in diverse clinical areas. A number of dissertations/theses are on GIM-based or -related projects:

  • Beck, Bolette (2012): Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) with adults on sick leave suffering from work-related stress – a mixed methods experimental study

  • Blom, Katarina Mårtenson (2014): Experiences of Transcendence and the Process of Surrender in Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) - Development of New Understanding through Theories of Intersubjectivity and Change in Psychotherapy

  • Bonde, Lars Ole (2005): The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (BMGIM) with Cancer Survivors. A Psychological Study with focus on the Influence of BMGIM on Mood and Quality of Life.

  • Christensen, Erik (2012): Music Listening, Music Therapy, Phenomenology and Neuroscience

  • Hertrampf, Ruth (2017): “Keyboard of Life" Music therapy in Psycho-oncology - Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) in curative and early palliative treatment for women with breast cancer or gynaecological cancer - a mixed methods study.

  • Maack,  Carola (2012): Outcomes and Processes of the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music and its Adaptations and Psychodynamic Imaginative Trauma Therapy for Women with Complex PTSD

  • Moe, Torben (2001): Restituerende faktorer i gruppeterapi med psykiatriske patienter - baseret på en modifikation af Guided Imagery and Music (GIM).

  • Story, Maya (2018): GIM with Military Women with Trauma: A Continuum Approach to Music and Healing

  • Summer, Lisa (2009): Client Perspectives on the Music in Guided Imagery and Music (GIM)

  • Torres, Esperanza (2015): Effectiveness of group MI with Fibromyalgia patients


Research Symposium Proceedings: 24th International Association for Music & Imagery Conference June 14-17, 2017 (free to download)


Supportive Music and Imagery: PhD (free to download)


Paik-Maier, S. (2018): An exploratory study of the processes of Supportive Music and Imagery therapy conducted in South Korea 


Pivotal moments in GIM: PhD (free to download)


Grocke, D. (1999). A Phenomenological Study of Pivotal Moments in Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) Therapy. PhD, University of Melbourne


Barcelona Publishers GIM literature and resources 


  • Bonny and Savary (1973 & 1990). Music and Your Mind: Listening with a New Consciousness

  • Bonny, ed. Summer (2002). Music and Consciousness: The Evolution of Guided Imagery and Music

  • ed. Bruscia and Grocke (2002). Guided Imagery and Music: The Bonny Method and Beyond. A revised version is currently in press.

  • Bruscia (2015). Notes on the Practice of Guided Imagery and Music

  • Digital Compilations of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) Programs

  • Bruscia (2015). Discography of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) Programs

  • ed Bruscia (2010). Case Examples of Guided Imagery and Music

  • Clarkson (2018). Spiritual Dimensions of Guided Imagery and Music

  • Muller (2014). Variations In Guided Imagery and Music: Taking a Closer Look.

  • Perilli (2017). Assessment and Evaluation of Narratives in Guided Imagery and Music (GIM).


Other publications from Barcelona Publishers featuring GIM Case Studies



GIM texts from Qualitative inquires in music therapy: a monograph series. Barcelona Publishers (free to download)


Volume 2 (2005): 


Volume 3 (2008):


Volume 4 (2007):


Volume 6 (2011):


Volume 7 (2012)


Volume 11 (2016):


Association for Music and Imagery (AMI) Journal & DVDs 


Journal of the Association for Music & Imagery: "The mission of the Journal of the Association for Music and Imagery is to promote knowledge and understanding of the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music for those trained in the method and for related professionals. To this end, the Journal publishes original research that advances knowledge of theory, applications, and outcomes of the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) and related methods. Articles may reflect any form of research, including quantitative, qualitative, theoretical, philosophical, and case studies. The Journal is published biennially and all manuscripts submitted to the Journal are subject to a masked peer review." AMI Journal contents


Nordic Journal of Music Therapy GIM research articles


  • Bonde, L. O. (2009): Music Analysis and Image Potentials in Classical Music

  • Bonny, H. (2009): Body Listening: A New Way to Review the GIM Tapes

  • Brooks, D. (2009): A Holistic Description of Beginning Trainee Experiences in Live Observation GIM Supervision

  • Grocke, D. (2009): Re-Imaging in GIM Supervision

  • Körlin, D & Wrangsjö, B (2009): Treatment Effects of GIM Therapy

  • Körlin, D & Wrangsjö, B (2009): Gender Differences in Outcome of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) Therapy

  • Meadows, A. (2009): Gender Implications in Therapists' Constructs of Their Clients

  • Moe, T., Roesen, A. & Raben, H. (2009): Restitutional Factors In Group Music Therapy With Psychiatric Patients Based On a Modification of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM)

  • Moe, T. (2009): Restitutional Factors in Receptive Group Music Therapy Inspired by GIM: The Relationship Between Self–Objects, Psychological Defence Maneouvres and Restitutional Factors: Towards a Theory 

  • Ruud, E. (2009): “Burning Scripts”: Self Psychology, Affect Consciousness, Script Theory and the BMGIM

  • Thöni, M. (2009): Guided Imagery and Music in Fifty Minute Sessions. A Challenge for Both Patient and Therapist

  • Short, A., Gibb, H. & Holmes, C. (2010): Integrating words, images, and text in BMGIM: Finding connections through semiotic intertextuality

  • Abrams, B. (2015): Development and evaluation of the Transpersonal Depth-Guided Imagery and Music (TD-GIM) inventory

  • Trondalen, G. (2015): Resource-oriented Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (R-oGIM) as a creative health resource for musicians

  • Honig, T. (2015): Heterotopia: A tool for understanding therapeutic space

  • Beck, B. D., Messel, C., Meyer, S. L., Torben, T. O., Søgaard, U., Simonsen, E.  & Moe, T. (2017): Feasibility of trauma-focused Guided Imagery and Music with adult refugees diagnosed with PTSD: A pilot study

  • Petra, J & Marita, H (2020): Exploring Guided Imagery and Music as a well-being intervention: A systematic literature review, Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, DOI: 10.1080/08098131.2020.1737185


Voices: a world forum for music therapy - Special Commemorative Issue on the Life and Work of Helen Bonny (free to download) 





Perspectives on Practice




Theoretical Articles


Research Articles




International Archives


Bush, C (1999). Healing Imagery & Music: Pathways To The Inner Self. Sterling.


One of the best introductory books about GIM including case studies.


Bonde, L. O., & Wärja, M. (2014). Music as Co-Therapist: Towards a Taxonomy of Music in Therapeutic Music and Imagery Work. Music and Medicine Vol 6 (2).