The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (also known as GIM) is a powerful music-centred form of therapy, where relaxation techniques and well-researched GIM Music Programs are used to facilitate access to deeper levels of consciousness, beyond the everyday logical ego state. A specific GIM music program is chosen to fit the therapeutic intention and state of the client in the moment, and both the music and the non-directive questions of the therapist (also called the guide) elicit and deepen visual imagery. Significant imagery holds symbolic and metaphoric meaning and is usually accompanied by intense emotion. Deeper layers of meaning, knowledge, intuition, associations and insights explored during GIM can lead to personal healing, growth and transformation. The experience is carefully prepared for prior to the music listening, contained during the imaging and music, and processed afterwards in order to maximize therapeutic benefits (see GIM EXPLAINED for more detail).
The Bonny Method of GIM was developed in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s by the American music therapist, music educator, violinist and researcher, Dr. Helen Bonny, initially in collaboration with a respected research team at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center in Baltimore. GIM has since spread across the globe and is currently practiced in 28 countries, with GIM training being offered in 10 countries. GIM standards of practice, training and ethics are regulated by the Association for Music and Imagery (AMI – see AMI website under LINKS) as well as EAMI (European Association for Music and Imagery).
GIM was brought to South Africa in 2007 when Prof. Dr. Gina Kaestele, a licensed therapist, GIM Fellow and Primary Trainer from Germany trained the first group of South African GIM students. There are currently 15 South African GIM Fellows, many of whom offer individual and group GIM sessions and workshops. (See list under Contact Us).
GIM Training is currently offered in South Africa and involves an in-depth part-time training, usually spread over a period of three years. Training is available to qualified, registered mental health professionals (see GIM Training for more detail).