Facilitator Spotlight: Kathryn de Planque
I discovered Imagery when I was studying for my doctorate in the 90’s. There was a lot of emphasis on mind-body work in my program, and I was introduced to the power of imagery. I was told at that time that experiencing the image of one’s childhood room would be significant and powerful, but I had no idea how it would impact my life with just one very simple process I did on my own.
My room as a child was extremely important to me, and I realized that I had never really said good-bye to it until I did this exercise. My parents both died of cancer when I was a teenager, so my room was the place where I retreated. It was in the attic of our house surrounded by treetops. I grew up in the east, so the seasons were apparent by the leaves on the trees and the fragrances that dominated them. After I lost my parents, I had to leave my home. I was, of course, mourning the loss of my mom and dad, but did not realize how much pain I was carrying from the loss of my room. I experienced the pain of this loss when I had the incredible imagery experience of seeing, touching, smelling and enjoying, once again, every detail in my childhood room. I was able to say my final good-bye. Even those details I had forgotten came back to me vividly in the imagery exercise. After I finished it, I found myself sobbing from the deepest levels of my being. However, I then moved on without carrying so much heaviness and loss.
It had such an impact on me personally that I started to pursue more training from the experts in the field of imagery. I attended several seminars by Belleruth Naperstek and I used many of her books and tapes as models to begin my work with children and adults with chronic pain and cancer. Belleruth had provided many helpful scripts at that time. I also was exposed to further training through video programs and conferences by Dr. Marty Rossman and David Bresler.
I have used imagery in my work for over 16 years now as an integrative clinician on the Pediatric Pain Team at UCLA for young people with chronic pain and various diseases, including cancer. The director of the team is Lonnie Zeltzer, MD. As a therapist on this team, I use hypnotherapy, Integrative Imagery, and guided imagery in my private practice. I continue to facilitate groups for adults with cancer at Simms/Mann – UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology in which I provide guided imagery meditations. In 2009, I completed my certification in Integrative Imagery through the Beyond Ordinary Nursing training program given by Susan Ezra and Terry Reed. That training provided such a rich addition to my work with both pain and cancer patients, and I utilize imagery in my personal life as well on a regular basis. I am proud to say that I have watched hundreds of patients with huge challenges who are helped tremendously by applying the imagery techniques in their medical procedures. They are able to reduce and eliminate pain and experience healing in mind, body and spirit. Imagery helps reduce chronic anxiety and stress, helps to restore confidence, provides insight as well as renewal and rejuvenation. Imagery continues to be the most influential therapeutic tool of my professional career.
For more information and to join the “Meditation: Guided Imagery for Inner Healing” support group held at the Simms/Mann UCLA Center, go to: https://www.simmsmanncenter.ucla.edu/?p=1606