Since early this year I have been providing child life services on the inpatient surgical and orthopedic unit. This has proven to be one of the best units for me to exercise my guided imagery and relaxation techniques as many patients need a support when being weaned off of pain medications. In the text book Meeting Children’s Psychosocial Needs Across the Health Care Continuum by Rollins, Bolig, and Mahan there is a story that impacted me greatly when I first read it as a child life student.
Indeed, the power of story to distract should not be taken lightly. In 1794, before the use of anesthetics, a young boy had surgery to remove a tumor. He was told such an interesting story during his operation that it absorbed his attention and removed pain from conscious awareness. Eighteen years later, this true believer in the power of story, Jacob Grimm, wrote Snow White (Hilgard & LeBaron, 1984 in Rollins et. al, 2005, p. 143)
Guided imagery has the power to not only take one’s mind somewhere else and away from the present but to change the way in which they view things. For example, a child with cancer imagining chemo as the superhero’s and cancer as the “bad guys”.
You can find many resources on guided imagery with a simple google search or even on Pinterest. My favorite resource for guided imagery is the book “Healing Images for Children: Teaching Relaxation and Guided Imagery to Children Facing Cancer and Other Serious Illnesses” by Nancy Kelin. I purchased this book during my practicum and have used it tremendously throughout my time as a student and as a CCLS. The book provides different guided imagery stories for you to read which center around different themes – some to help with pain management, some to help with nausea, some to help with waiting in doctor’s offices, etc.
Some resources you can use to help support your guided imagery session(s):
- Eye masks to help with relaxation
- Essential oils + diffuser for aromatherapy
- Relaxing music/white noise – many free apps for Apple + Android available
- A small stone/pebble to place on (older) patient’s forehead to help him/her keep still & focus on stone
- A soft bristle paint brush to help patient focus on positive sensation on skin rather than pain
Remember, I’ve uploaded tons of freebies from teacherspayteachers.com on this subject. Click the link below to view: