Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Imagery pioneer Jeanne Achterberg dies

One of my personal healing heroines is Jeanne Achterberg – guided imagery pioneer, alternative health advocate and author who died earlier this month on March 7.

Everyone, including psychodramatists and creative arts therapists, uses guided imagery now. Years ago, however, guided imagery was considered on the side of woo-woo and weird.

Through the years, Jeanne advocated for the holistic approach with appreciation for the healing skills of the ancient shamans. Her book Imagery in Healing is acclaimed as a classic in mind-body studies. 

Another book, Woman as Healer, broke ground in surveying the healing activities of women from prehistoric times to the present. Rituals of Healing:  Using Imagery for Health and Wellness (with Barbara Dossey and Leslie Kolkmeier) is a primer on the use of creative therapies for health and medicine. Her most recent book, Lightning at the Gate, told the story of her personal journey, was published in 2001. 

Achterberg's core belief is that we are healed not by medicine but by the bonds we create with each other: care, love, trust, hope, belief, and all the other invisible facets that seem to have lost favor in modern health care:

"My mission has always been to bring humanity into health care, and I have done everything within my grasp that would allow for this to happen. I do believe in modern medicine, but also in traditional and integrative healing. Most of all, I believe in the power of the human spirit and in the web we weave with one another and with everything else on the planet."

Here's an early clip of Jeanne from an interview on Jeffery Mishlolve's Thinking Allowed program: