Workshop 3: Thursday 16th July 2020
Using Imagery Techniques to Help People with Complex Reactions to Trauma
Kerry Young, Woodfield Trauma Service and Oxford Rose Clinic, John
Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford
Distressing, imagery-based intrusive memories and flashbacks to past trauma
are the hallmark of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD.
However, they can occur in psychosis, depression, OCD, Bipolar Disorder,
SAD, eating disorders, personality disorders and beyond. This workshop will
discuss the science and practice of using imagery-based techniques to work
with these phenomena. The emphasis will be on working with intrusive images
in complex PTSD presentations, but time will also be given to how to
analyse and intervene with troublesome trauma-related imagery in any
Mental imagery has extremely interesting properties - recruits similar
brain areas to actual perception, enhances memory and learning and,
compared to verbal processing, it has a more powerful impact on emotion.
Learning how to 'harness' the power of mental imagery to help alleviate
distress is an important tool for any CBT practitioner.
Key learning objectives:
1. Understand how to assess troublesome trauma-related imagery
2. Learn about the neuroscientific findings which help to explain the power
of mental images
3. How to select treatment targets within complex trauma presentations
4. Discuss and demonstrate how to use imagery re-scripting and
meta-cognitive techniques to intervene with distressing trauma-related
5. How to extend these imagery techniques across other presentations.
I hope that at the end of the day, participants will feel more confident
about where to begin when working with distressing trauma-related imagery.
I really enjoy the work that I do in this area and hope to spread some of
that enthusiasm and knowledge to others.
is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead of the
Woodfield Trauma Service in London, UK, a leading centre for the
treatment of asylum seekers and refugees suffering from PTSD. She also
works at the Oxford Rose Clinic, a service for the medical and
psychological treatment of women who have experienced Female Genital
Mutilation. She has advised national bodies on how to train clinicians
to work with refugees, PTSD and Complex PTSD. Kerry is an expert in
mental imagery techniques, particularly imagery re-scripting, and its
life-changing use with clients who have experienced complex trauma. She
has published in the field of trauma and mental imagery.
Arntz, A. (2012). Imagery Rescripting as a therapeutic technique: Review of
clinical trials, basic studies and research agenda.Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, 3(2), 189-208
Holmes, E. A., & Mathews, A. (2010). Mental imagery in emotion and
emotional disorders. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(3), 349-362.
Holmes, E., Hales, S., Young, K. & Di Simplicio (2019) Imagery Based Therapy for Bipolar Disorder and Mood Instability.
Pearson, J., Naselaris, T., Holmes, E. A., & Kosslyn,
S. M. (2015). Mental imagery: functional mechanisms and clinical
applications. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 19(10), 590-602