“Visualize yourself on a beautiful beach…” Wait what?!… Why can’t I see anything?

Visualization is a great resource in experiences like meditation sessions, manifestation exercises and hypnotherapy. However, it is often misconceived that seeing images in the mind is the only way to imagine; people can experience imagination in a variety of forms.

For instance, science says imagination is a cognitive way for our minds to create representations of things, while Aristotle defined imagination (phantasia) as the “sixth sense” implying there are five additional senses which also create channels for such experiences.

Today it is acknowledged that a small percentage of the population is unable to picture images in their minds, a phenomenon defined as A-phantasia: Lack of visual imagery. Perhaps the continuous visual over-stimulation provided by today’s technology, hand-held devices and television contributes in part to the underlying causes for people to be aphantasic, which is neither a mental disorder, a disability, nor even an impediment when experiencing hypnotherapy, in fact it is an opportunity to allow our other senses to step up and guide us through it! 

People with aphantasia can be widely creative and imaginative, they experience sensory inputs through alternative neurological pathways simply because creativity is actually a unique individual process which has everything to do with the way a person can perceive and understand the world. Although the lack of visual imagery is not inherent to the creative capacity of an individual, it has been reported that people who were unable to visualize have improved their ability to do so through the practice of self-hypnosis and meditation.

In hypnotherapy there are no rules about how you are supposed to experience hypnosis or whether you are supposed to see or feel a particular thing during your session, you might want to engage one or all of your senses to experience hypnosis, you can also use your sense of knowing/ intuition or you might simply pretend just like you did when you use to play as a child. Hypnotherapy is very allowing and often feels as if you were making things up, but in reality it is the way your subconscious mind relays the information: conveying memories, sensations and emotions making it a life changing experience for many people.  We can conclude then, that mental imagery, visual impressions and visualization are great but not required in order to remember, create or accomplish your goals.

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