Catathymic Image Experience

Catathymic image experience, also known as catathymic-imaginative psychotherapy or under other similar terms, is considered as a well-organized psychotherapeutical daydream technique. This therapy method was developed in the 1960s by Prof. Dr. med. Hanscarl Leuner (1921–1996) at Universität Göttingen. It is psychoanalytically and depth-psychologically oriented in its basic principles.

Therapeutical use of catathymic image experience resembles a continuous creative process in which own pre- and unconscious conflicts appear as visual imaginations. This mental illustration process is the therapy’s focus.

“The gates to pre- and unconscious areas of the psyche and to all kinds of conflicts and positive experience cores are being opened.” (Leuner)

In relaxed circumstances and by showing suitable themes the therapist inspires the patient to vividly experienced imagination. The existing themes of catathymic image experience thematically stimulate typical depth-psychological conflict areas to imaginative illustration.

With respect to the own rules and the inner autonomy of the psyche’s natural imaginative profiling ability the therapeutical guidance is aimed at encouraging the spontaneous course of the imaginative processes.

Catathymic image experience is preferably used to treat neurotic and psychosomatic diseases. It is methodically used for crisis intervention, in short-term and long-term psychotherapy. It is also used in single, couple and group therapy and with patients of all ages.