The Importance of Listening - Just Listening

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The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) was developed by Helen Bonny who described it as ‘the purposeful use of prepared classical music by a guide or facilitator to evoke sensory and emotional responses in the listener.  These responses, in the form of imagery, symbols, feelings, past and present life review, sensations, unfolding metaphors and transformative experiences, become the heart of the session.’ (Helen Bonny 2001)

While studying GIM and leading the MA in Music Therapy at the University of South Wales, I became aware of a growing interest in transpersonal/spiritual experience in many music therapy students. These experiences gave me cause to wonder whether aspects of GIM could be beneficial to trainee music therapists, and led me to include music and imagery experiential elements in my teaching seminars.

Trondalen (2014) has explored resource-orientated GIM as a creative health resource for professional musicians and music students. Tsiris' (2016) work shows that 76% of music therapists who responded to his survey reported that spirituality was connected to their identity. It would seem, therefore that there is the potential for a body of evidence to be collated to support the benefits of disseminating elements of GIM methods for trainee music therapists. These could possibly also benefit those who are currently practising.
This poster will display personal, clinical and pedagogical aspects of the above collated from GIM trainees, music therapy students and music therapists who have experienced GIM to explore this area of thinking.
Keywords: Music Therapy, training, GIM, spirituality
Bonny, H. (2001) Music and Spirituality. Music Therapy Perspectives, 19(1) 59-62. doi: 10.1093/mtp/19.1.59
Trondalen, G. (2014)Resource-oriented Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (R- oGIM) as a creative health resource for musicians. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, 25,1,5-31 doi: 10.1080/0898131.2014.987804
Tsiris, G. (2016) Music therapy and spirituality: An international survey of music therapists’ perceptions. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, 25, 4, 1-27 doi: 10.1080/08098131.2016.1239647
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2017
Event4th International Spirituality and Music Education Conference - Nordoff Robbins Centre, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Dec 201710 Dec 2017


Conference4th International Spirituality and Music Education Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Music Therapy
  • Training
  • Spirituality
  • GIM


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