*Regenerating Images in Memory (RIM™): Awakening the Unconscious for Insight and Healing
Perspectives in Psychiatric Care Vol. 43, No. 2, April, 2007
Deborah L. Sandella, PhD, RN
Deborah Sandella, PhD, RN, is an international bestselling author, originator of Regenerating Images in Memory (RIM), and founder of the RIM Institute in Denver, CO.
“No journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within us.” Lillian Smith (1994)
*Regenerating Images in Memory (RIM™) is an innovative transformational method that can be used as an adjunctive technique in traditional psychotherapy or as an innovative practice model. I developed this method of working with clients after 25 years of doing traditional psychotherapy as a university professor, community mental health program director, and private practitioner. A synthesis of a variety of techniques that access the unconscious mind, this therapeutic tool combines Ericksonian Hypnosis (Gilligan, 1987), Interactive Guided Imagery (Rossman, 1987), and Somatic Therapy concepts; it provides us the language to program the unconscious radar, so we can consciously choose our direction and heal our history.
Practicing RIM over the last 10 years, it has evolved into a completely new practice model. I have labeled it a Transformational Technique to distinguish it from psychotherapy. Traditional psychotherapy is a pathology centered model where the relationship between client and therapist creates a laboratory to offer clients a reparative experience. The client is considered broken in some way, and the therapist’s job is to facilitate the fix. In comparison, RIM shifts the focus of connection away from client and therapist and refocuses on the relationship between client and inner self. RIM Facilitators are guides who escort clients to their inherently whole center beneath the layers of human experience.
Repeatedly seeing the remarkable results, I have come to truly trust the wholeness that lives at the heart of every human being. Clients also recognize their true selves and are amazed at their own power and wisdom. It becomes a healing moment and frequently, they are initiated on a journey of relating to their inner self and unconscious mind with increased respect and wonder.
RIM uses preverbal primary image associations to dip into the well of the unconscious and bring back hidden insights. As Socrates profoundly described eons ago, imagination is the language of the soul. Anna Wise (2002) has demonstrated in the biofeedback lab that the unconscious mind can be heard in the quiet spaces between the chatter of our intellectual thoughts. When you slow down rapid-fire thinking focused on the external world, you sense the insight of your unconscious. Merely by closing your eyes, you begin to focus in the direction of the invisible unconscious. Try it, and notice how easily your attention shifts from external analysis to intuitive sensing.
Research has proven repeatedly the immense power of imagination. For example, Baylor School of Medicine physician Dr Bruce Moseley (Moseley et al., 2002), surprisingly, found that patients who received placebo surgery for severe debilitating knee pain had the same level of improvement as those patients who had the shaving of damaged cartilage and surgical removal of inflammatory material in the knee joint. The placebo group who received “fake surgery” were sedated and given three standard incisions. The surgeon also talked and acted as if it were real surgery, including splashing salt water to simulate the sound of the knee-washing procedure. After the release of these findings, the media filmed people from the placebo surgery group walking and playing basketball, things they could not do before surgery.
More recently, Dr Joseph Dispensa explained in the movie What the Bleep!(Arntz et al. & Vicente et al., 2004) that the same parts of the brain light up on MRI when a person looks at an actual object, or if they imagine the same object in their mind. In other words, the brain does not distinguish the difference between real and imagined experience. This is very good news—it suggests that we can transform traumatic or troublesome memories and destructive beliefs, and the mind will integrate the new version.
The relationship between the body and the unconscious has become the focus of an explosion of new research since Dr. Candace Pert (1997) discovered that neuropeptides and their specific receptor sites are scattered throughout the brain and the body, including the immune system. Pert suggests the neurologic patterns of our unconscious experiences are recorded at these sites; thus, the body holds a cellular log of unconscious content that is activated as a default response whenever triggers are present…