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Guided affective imagery (GAI; also known as katathym imaginative psychotherapy) is a legally recognised psychotherapy method. It is a therapeutic technique in which a facilitator uses descriptive language intended to psychologically benefit mental imagery, often involving several or all senses, in the mind of the listener. In this method, the imagination plays an important role together with discussions with the client. It was developed by German psychiatrist Hanscarl Leuner, based on his research in guided mental imagery, "catathymic influences" (the interaction of mental contents and emotional processes), dreams and daydreams.


  • Leuner, H. (1969): Guided Affective Imagery (GAI). A Method of Intensive Psychotherapy. American Journal of Psychotherapy, Vol. 23, No. 1, p 4-22. pdf
  • Utay, J.; Miller, M. (2006): Guided imagery as an effective therapeutic technique: a brief review of its history and efficacy research. Journal of Instructional Psychology, March 2006

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