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The Contemporary Spectrum of 

MI and GIM Methods


Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) in its original form (The Bonny Method) is most typically used in private practice settings, though not exclusively. In other settings, such as those in which music therapists typically work, the method can be modified in many different ways to accommodate client need. Thus in contemporary practice a range of Music and Imagery (MI) and GIM approaches are used (Grocke & Moe 2015). The MI methods are the simplest and have the widest application, including where other forms of GIM would not be suitable. This is especially so in the case of the Music and Imagery (MI) methods taught on the Integrative GIM Training Programme, which don't involved the client being in an altered state of consciousness. 

Short article providing an overview of Music and Imagery (MI) Therapy by Ian Grundy

Article about GIM, the contemporary spectrum methods used and their relationship with music therapy by Martin Lawes

Work involving the contemporary spectrum of MI and GIM methods may take place at a supportive (resource oriented), or at a deeper level, and be shorter or longer term. This whether with individuals or groups, adults or children. MI and GIM can be used in couples therapy, and in family oriented work. The process can involve creative work in other modalities such as art, movement and creative writing. MI and GIM can be integrated with many different approaches in counselling and psychotherapy and with other techniques including EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing), mentalization and mindfulness based techniques and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Indeed, work with imagery is becoming increasingly important in CBT (Hackman et al. 2011), where there are many overlaps with contemporary practice in MI and GIM.



Clinical Applications


Work with children and adolescents

MI and GIM methods are used in mainstream and special needs education, and in child and adolescent psychiatry including to help those suffering from eating disorders, and in Child Oncology. Music therapists who practice GIM with children sometimes integrate the method with other music therapy techniques (e.g. clinical improvisation).


Work in adult mental health

There are applications in acute, forensic, in- and out-patient psychiatry. Work has been undertaken with clients with a wide range of conditions including schizophrenia, complex post-traumatic stress disorder, dissociative identity disorder, psychosomatic disorders, survivors of abuse, eating disorders and addictions. Work is being carried out with those traumatized by war including traumatized refugees.


Medical care

There are many applications including with those suffering from AIDS, arthritis, neurological conditions including brain injury, Fibromyalgia, cardiac problems, chronic pain and who are pregnant. MI and GIM are also used in old age care, and widely in cancer and palliative care.


Other applications

Work is undertaken with musicians, including resource oriented work and for those suffering from performance anxiety. GIM is used as a therapy for trainee therapists, including music therapists. A type of GIM has been used to support team building in organisational contexts.


Self-development and non-therapeutic applications

GIM has long been used to support self-development including spiritual growth. This has included in retreat settings.






There is a growing body of research, including at PhD level, into the effectiveness of MI and GIM with different client groups.


Article about research in GIM (Grocke)


Different Types of Music Used


Non-classical as well as classical music is often used in contemporary practice. Therapists (Fellows) have created music programmes using world music (Hall), jazz (Leslie) and Chinese music (Ng), for example. Other genres are used especially in MI. In approaches like Supportive Music and Imagery, which is one of those taught on the course, single pieces of non-classical music that are simple in structure are often the most suitable. Longer classical music selections, where the music is more complex and a number of pieces are sequenced together, are on the other hand often the most suitable for deeper level work (the traditional Bonny Method).





Grocke, D., & Moe, T. (eds.) (2015). Guided Imagery & Music (GIM) and Music Imagery Methods for Individual and Group Therapy. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.


Hackmann, A., Bennett-Levy, J, and Holmes, E. A. (2011). Oxford Guide to Imagery in Cognitive Therapy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



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