The concept of Integrative Health Care involves bringing conventional and complementary treatment approaches together in a coordinated way. Guided Imagery is one of the top ten most common complimentary health approaches . It belongs to the group Mind and body practices.
Guided Imagery bases on visual part of experience, but it also activates all parts of the sensory system including, smell, sound, taste and feel. During utilization of this tool, images are recalled from long-term or short-term memory, or created from fantasy, or a combination of both, in response to guidance, instruction, or supervision . The main goal of Guided Imagery is bring about a desired mental and physical response to alter thoughts, emotions and behavior.
The technique can be realized in the usual way and provided by therapist or interactive way when participant follows guidance provided by a sound recording, video, audiovisual media, sites or smartphone applications.
The practice of Guided Imagery can comminute a hypnotic induction, breathing techniques, relaxation and meditation.
There are types of imagery which can be used for psychological intervention: anti-future shock, positive, aversive, associative and coping imagery .
Researchers identify four phases of Guided Imagery: generation, maintenance, inspection and transformation images .
Guided Imagery is applied for managing stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression and symptoms related to chronic pain conditions [5, 6].
Stress does not only affect an individual’s mental well-being, it also directly contributes to the progression of disease and damaging physical illnesses .
Guided Imagery is demonstrates the efficacy a constructive distraction that allows the individual to detach and redirect the stress , the ability to increase optimism , relieve levels of perceived stress and improve physical function as well as enhance one’s sense of self-efficacy .
Self-Guided Imagery, in turn, can be helpful for emotional selfregulation . These kinds of protocols show good accessibility . But they need previous engagement of instructor for understanding and treatment credibility.
At the same time, studies show that Interactive Guided Imagery is no less effective than the traditional guided by therapist way. Interactive Guided Imagery may be feasible and effective in managing of stress biomarkers: “acutely reducing salivary cortisol levels” , “cause changes in brain oscillatory activity” .
The main problem of Interactive Guided Imagery is to adhere to the principle of positive content of images for the person. But it can be solved by different imagery techniques, as “structuring training stimuli so that they started ambiguous as to their potential resolution but always ended positively” .
Guided and self-guided imagery is seen as a powerful technique and is widely used in modern psychotherapy and psychological training. But almost all the knowledge achieved is associated with traditional guided or self-guided imagery with including of therapist during all guided imagery process or instructors at the first stage.
Estimation of the potential of autonomous interactive guided imagery is a question of practical importance. It might offer new strategies to combat negative emotions and minimizing of technical and social barriers access to psychological support. The using of mobile applications for guided imagery can be a possible solution, as effective playful instrument to use in therapy for stress management.