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


General information about the Music and Imagery (MI) methods taught on the course, involving supportive (Level 1) and re-educative (level 2) work*, 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 therapy is intended is to improve general wellbeing and support clients to cope with the challenges of everyday living and become more resilient. As an evidence-based method, SMI is suitable for short-term therapy that can be effectively delivered online as well as in person.

SMI is both a systematic and a flexible, client-centred approach. It has a wide range of clinical application and can be used with individuals and groups, and with young people and adults. The music used, which is chosen by the client with the therapist's support, can potentially be of diverse traditions and genres. There is a strong emphasis on collaboration and on the empowerment of the client.


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


  • the therapist helps the client identify an everyday supportive experience to work on

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

  • breathing awareness reduces tension and establishes internal focus

  • the client engages in mark/art-making (or in other expressive arts such as dancing or creative writing) whilst listening to the music so as to deepen the connection with, and integrate their chosen supportive experience and the associated feelings.

  • the client is encouraged to access their 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


SMI can be helpful for clients with a wide range of mental health issues. It can be especially useful for clients who have experienced trauma. The internalised supportive resources developed through SMI can help clients find the emotional regulation and safety needed to begin the process of addressing trauma without feeling overwhelmed or becoming disassociated. Indeed, for all clients work on inner resources comes first and forms the foundation for work focused more directly on psychological and emotional issues (Re-educative Music and Imagery - RMI). 

Whilst SMI training is complete in itself, and SMI can be an effective intervention without additional re-educative level work taking place, for those who have completed SMI training and wish to undertake further training, Level 2 is a similar length diploma course in Re-educative Music and Imagery (RMI)*

*the terminology used here to describe levels of practice in MI draws on Wolberg’s (1977) classification of levels of psychotherapy - supportive, re-educative and reconstructive.

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.

Training and requirements


The training 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 an integration of psychodynamic, music-centred, neurobiology-oriented (polyvagal) and trauma-informed theory. The 4.5 day training seminar is followed by a period of supervised client work, after which trainees will present their clinical work to one another before qualifying. The requirements to complete the course are to:


  • 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 7-9 small group supervisions (dependent on group size).

  • Complete required reading responses.

  • 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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