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Feasibility of Imagery in Psychopathology

by Remco Van Der Wijngaart

General Abstract:

Imagery is a powerful experiential technique that allows to access early memories through an emotional pathway, bypassing rational control mechanisms. Due to its powerful characteristic imagery plays a fundamental role in psychopathology as it allows accessing, healing, and changing the content of early childhood memories related to actual symptomatology.
In this symposium we will first present an overview of the development and working mechanisms of this technique, adding some practical tips and tricks. Further, specific applications of imagery will be provided within different psychopathological conditions (e.g., Eating Disorders and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), where imagery was used with different purposes, and in different settings (individual vs group context).

Presentation 1

Title: Imagery: an overview of its development and working mechanisms

Presenter's Name:

Remco van der Wijngaart

General Abstract for Presentation 1:

Background and Objectives: Imagery re-scripting has been described as a method of change in psychotherapy for more than a century. Over the last two decades, however, there has been a significant growth in the clinical and scientific interest in the applications and working mechanisms of this technique. This presentation gives an overview of this recent development and how imagery re-scripting can be applied as a treatment method for various complaints, such as personality disorders or as a stand-alone treatment of anxiety and mood disorders.

Methods and conclusions: The presentation will have a clinical orientation, showing the different phases of the technique. It explains how imagery exercises can be used in the diagnostic phase, how the therapist will rescript images during the initial phase of treatment and how clients will learn to rewrite meaningful images from the past. Finally, it argues how imagery re-scripting can be a method to prepare clients for future trigger situations. Based on the latest scientific research, practical tips and tricks to enhance the effectiveness of this powerful therapeutic tool.

Level of Experience Required for Participants: 


About the Presenter:

Remco Van Der Wijngaart

Remco van der Wijngaart is a psychotherapist and healthcare psychologist. For over 20 years he worked in the academic department of an outpatient mental health institution. As a therapist he participated in numerous treatment studies into anxiety, somatic symptom and eating disorders, as well as personality disorders. In a first treatment study into the effectiveness of schema therapy for borderline personality disorder, he was trained and supervised in imagery re-scripting by Jeffrey Young, the founder of schema therapy. Remco has his own independent practice for psychotherapy in Maastricht. Together with others, he developed various audio-visual productions including Fine Tuning Imagery Re-scripting; 35 scenes showing imagery re-scripting in all its facets

Why Schema Therapy?

Schema therapy has been extensively researched to effectively treat a wide variety of typically treatment resistant conditions, including Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Read our summary of the latest research comparing the dramatic results of schema therapy compared to other standard models of psychotherapy.

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