Known as the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music, GIM is a music-centered, consciousness-expanding therapy developed by Dr. Helen Bonny. Therapists trained in the Bonny Method choose classical music sequences to stimulate journeys of the imagination. Experiencing imagery in this way helps clients to integrate mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of well-being by accessing the unconscious.
In the 1970’s Dr. Helen Bonny was working with patients at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center. She was using LSD to help them access the unconscious while she played pieces of classical music on the violin. But she discovered that LSD was not necessary and that it was possible for patients to have moving and transformative experiences just listening to carefully selected pieces of classical music while being guided by a therapist to pay attention to, and develop, the images that arose.
Dr. Helen Bonny went on to design different programs of music to facilitate this process.
Practitioners of Guided Imagery and Music, or Fellows, are trained in a three level program of study in literature, music, and psychology, including a study of possible issues that might come up during sessions. To finish training, Fellows must complete 78 hours of GIM work on themselves with trained therapists, and 94 hours of practice on clients, much of it supervised.
Fellows are members of the Association for Music and Imagery and must continue to pursue continuing education, and adhere to the AMI Code of Ethics.