Frequently Asked Questions
What is mental imagery?
Mental imagery is a technique that addresses the emotional, mental, and physical manifestations of PTSD by using images in the mind to gently reshape memories, feelings, and beliefs, and transform behavior.
Who should read Reversing the Trauma of War?
The book was designed specifically for military veterans and active duty personnel who suffer from PTSD symptoms, such as anger, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. The book also includes sections that address friends, families, and clinicians who support those suffering from PTSD.
How does it work?
Reversing the Trauma of War provides a step-by-step guide to using mental imagery exercises to treat specific PTSD symptoms. When practiced for several minutes per day for three weeks, the exercises have proven effective in reducing symptoms such as stress and hypervigilance, clearing traumatic memories, and helping those suffering from PTSD lead more hopeful and productive lives. It's like taking medicine, but instead of taking a physical medicine you are taking a mind medicine.
Where did mental imagery come from?
As detailed in Dr. Gerald Epstein’s article “The Western Metaphysics of Mental Imagery and Its Clinical Applications”, there is a centuries-long tradition of using mental imagery in the Western spiritual tradition as a method to turn our senses inward and tap into ways to direct our lives and heal. Clinicians have used mental imagery for decades to help patients use their imaginations to access their own “Invisible Reality,” which forms the basis of their spiritual life and well-being. Those images form their own language that when translated or “read” can speak truths about our inner selves, unconditioned by external distortions.
What is the difference between imagery, meditation, and hypnosis?
Imagery is a mental exercise used to access another level of consciousness in order to actively discover and explore otherwise hidden areas of one’s self. Meditation is a means of stilling thoughts, sensations, and feelings with the goal of clearing one’s mind. Hypnosis provides a method for leading someone into a deeply relaxed state where will is surrendered in order for a new set of suggestions to be imprinted to change behavior.
Who developed the imagery exercises detailed in Reversing the Trauma of War?
In addition to imagery exercises composed by the authors, Phyllis Kahaney and Rachel Epstein, Reversing the Trauma of War utilizes many imagery exercises drawn and adapted from their teachers’ published works, private notes, and personal communications authored by Mme. Colette Aboulker-Muscat and Dr. Gerald Epstein.
What evidence is there to show mental imagery is effective to help those suffering from PTSD?
Phyllis Kahaney successfully used metal imagery exercises as a core treatment modality during four years of clinical work with veterans at the Vet Center in San Diego. The book includes vignettes detailing some of those positive outcomes. There are also numerous published studies and papers showing mental imagery exercises have led to improvements for people suffering a variety of conditions and ailments, including PTSD, cancer, asthma, and stress. Relevant research studies include three by Dr. Epstein.
Tell me about the authors or, Who wrote Reversing the Trauma of War?
The book was co-authored by Phyllis Kahaney M.S.W., Ph.D. and Rachel Epstein, L.Ac., J.D. In addition to using mental imagery to help treat her own PTSD, Phyllis, who has a doctorate in rhetoric, spent four year using mental imagery as a core treatment modality in her work as a readjustment counselor at the San Diego Vet Center. Rachel is the director of the American Institute for Mental Imagery (AIMI) in New York City, which was founded by her late husband, Dr. Gerald Epstein, M.D. Rachel is an expert in mental imagery and runs a private, imagery based health practice and conducts classes at AIMI on mental imagery.
For more information on Phyllis and Rachel, click here
Where can I find the press release?
Find the press release here.
Where can I buy the book?