Guided affective imagery is a psychotherapeutic visualization technique which was developed by the German psychiatrist Hanscarl Leuner (1918-1956) in the beginning of the 1950th. It is a Jungian inspired technique of daydreaming where you in a light hypnotic trance associate freely and produce inner pictures from ten standard themes. Thus guided affective imagery is an organized visualization technique and its point of origin is the deep unconsciousness. During the visualization process you are all the time guided and in a dialogue with the therapist. During your inner journey you will see and experience pictures of different things, e.g. people, animals, scenery, caves etc. which often are symbolic projections from the unconscious. The symbolic meaning of the journey will be uncovered in the aftertalk with the therapist and in this way you will achieve insight and redemption from your inner conflicts.
Most psychological problems involve an element of helplessness, but with the support of the therapist you will - through confrontations with the inner symbols - achieve a reduction of anxiety and a strengthening of your self-confidence. The process mobilizes your inner resources.
The symbols are often in themselves healing because they provide a bridge between the contradictions in the psyche. The formation of the symbols provides the psyche with seeds for growth and thus opens for a power source which will change your life in a positive way.
Guided affective imagery is a short term therapy which has been proven effective for:

  • Psychosomatic illnesses
  • Obsessive compulsive disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Anorexia, bulimia
  • Cardiac neurosis
  • Sexual conflicts
  • Mental crisis
  • Phobias




The Personal Totem Pole Process is a method of deep imagery developed by the Jungian psychologist and shaman Eligio Stephen Gallegos from New Mexico, USA. The technique is a unique blend of Jungian active imagination, the chakra system and the shamanic practice of speaking to and learning from the animals in the trance state. This method goes much deeper into the unconscious than guided affective imagery. Here the person is hypnotized and then the therapist guides him or her by the use of deep imagery to encounter an animal in each chakra or energy center. The imagery animals which emerges from these centers in the body are not only symbols from the unconscious, but also represent very strong inner energies. According to Eastern tradition there are seven main energy centers in the human body and they seem to correspond to certain important points of acupuncture. They are vertically aligned, running from the base of the spine to the crown of the head and they are connected to our thinking, feeling and willing. According to C. G. Jung the source of psychic development and self-realization lies dormant in the chakras.
The chakra animals act as your inner advisors and they will help you to strengthen your self-confidence and to gain the personal development you are looking for. Usually the animals bring an important message from your deep unconscious to you and they can help you to remember significant and repressed experiences from your childhood. The inner animals can also invite you to journey in your deepest unconscious and during this process many life problems and inner conflicts can be resolved. During the inner journey you are in a continuing dialogue with the therapist who will support you in the process. The co-operation between the animals is also of importance. If the animals fight this can be an important indication of some inner conflict that needs to be resolved. Should this happen then the therapist will help you to solve the problem. As the therapy progresses the animals will develop and/or transform themselves and the interaction between them will change in a positive way. The changes you are experiencing will be reflected in the transformation of the imagery animals. The symbolic images which appear during the therapeutic process can also be enhanced and strengthen if they afterwards are drawn or painted.

Hillebrand, Steve 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Steve Hillebrand 

Steve Hillebrand