Level 1: Certificate in Supportive Music and Imagery (SMI)


General information about the Music and Imagery (MI) methods taught on the course can be found on a separate page.


SMI is a music-centred psychotherapy method used to help clients develop and deepen the connection to their inner strengths and resources. The aim is to improve general wellbeing and support clients to cope with the challenges of everyday living. As an evidence-based method, SMI is suitable for short-term therapy (e.g. 6 sessions) that can be effectively delivered online as well as in person. SMI is both a systematic and a flexible, client-centred approach, where elements of the method can adapted if necessary in meeting client need.

SMI can be used with individuals and groups across ages and abilities. It can help those with a wide range of psychological and emotional issues develop the inner resources and resilience needed to cope in everyday living. This involves clients being supported to use music itself as a resource, music which can potentially be of diverse traditions, cultures and genres. SMI can also be effective as self-care for therapists: those in training are encouraged to explore this for themselves.


SMI therapists work collaboratively with clients to help them develop existing inner resources which they may be little aware of, and/or that may be undeveloped:


  • the therapist helps the client identify a positive inner resource to work on

  • the client to supported to select suitable music, whether from their own collection or the therapist’s

  • breathing awareness reduces tension and improves internal focus

  • the client creates a drawing (or engages in other expressive arts) whilst listening to the music so as to deepen the connection with, and integrate their chosen inner resource

  • the client is encouraged to access the inner resources in daily living, making use of their music collection to support this. Where possible, clients learn to carry out SMI at home as a complement to meditation or journaling practices, for example.

Short case study focusing on SMI as part of the Continuum Model of GIM by Carine Ries

Journal article about SMI by Sumi Paik-Maier


The competency-based SMI certificate course covers all aspects of the delivery of SMI through didactic and experiential learning. Case presentation of work with children, adults and groups is included along with theory. Those who train are also supported to develop a pool of suitable music of diverse genres, traditions and types for use with clients. The training seminar is followed by a period of supervised client and other work, after which trainees present their client work to one another before qualifying. 

Prerequisites for training


The certificate course in SMI is open to those qualified in music therapy, counselling, psychotherapy, psychology or similar, who have a minimum of 1 year’s post-qualification experience and are registered with a professional therapy organisation or regulating body. For those who are not music therapists, it is required to have a sufficiently well-developed relationship with music, though a formal music education is not required. 


The course is also open to Level 3 GIM trainees from other training programmes (subject to their Primary Trainer's approval) and GIM Fellows wishing to train in the method.



  • Develop and categorise a pool of SMI music of diverse genres and cultures.

  • Receive a minimum of 3 SMI sessions from a qualified Music and Imagery Therapist (MIT).

  • Give and receive 3 SMI sessions with a training colleague.

  • Undertake personal SMI as self-care.

  • Deliver SMI to 2 clients, 7 sessions each.

  • Receive 5 small group supervisions.

  • Complete required reading.

  • Complete case summaries and self-reflective learning reports.

Completion of training


Those who satisfactorily complete the course and its requirements will be qualified to practice SMI and receive a Certificate in Supportive Music and Imagery. Trainees will not, however, be qualified to practice Re-educative MI, The Bonny Method of GIM, or other forms of GIM. Those who satisfactorily complete the Certificate in Supportive Music and Imagery and are recommended by the Primary Trainer, are eligible to undertake the Level 2 Diploma in Supportive and Re-educative Music and Imagery (MI). 

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