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Facilitation Technique Category: Stress Management

Activity Title: Visual Imagery


Source: Dattilo, J., & McKenney, A. (2011) Facilitation Techniques in Therapeutic
Recreation. State College, PA: Venture Publishing, Inc
Equipment: No materials necessary
Activity Description: The importance of stress management cannot be understated in
regards to the health of an individual. If someone is constantly fighting stress, it can
result in obesity, heart disease, depression, and a number of different illnesses/diseases.
According to the American Psychological Association, if someone experiences intense
levels of stress, without having learned to manage said stress, this can then result in longterm health implications. Now, in order to better comprehend the concept of stress
management, we must also investigate the 3 definitions relating to stress. The 3
definitions relating to stress include: stress, distress, and eustress. Simply put, stress can
be defined as the brains response to any demand. Distress can be defined as, the bad kind
of stress (such as great pain, anxiety, mental suffering, etc). This type of stress can cause,
high blood pressure, emotional disturbance, headaches, fatigue, and change in
motivation. And Eustress can be defined as good stress (which is what allows us to
challenge ourselves, enjoy activities, and view events in our lives as challenges rather
than threats). This type of stress promotes enjoyment, improved self-esteem, and
competence. Having said all of this, the activity chosen for this week is called Visual
Imagery. The age range for this activity can be anywhere from Kindergarten-up. The
amount of people that can participate also has no range, however the smaller the group,
the more intimate and effective it can be (try to have no more than 20 clients per session).
And the purpose of this activity is for clients to learn the process of visual imagery as a
technique to help themselves calm down. The instructions for Visual Imagery include: 1)
the client will finds a comfortable position for them to sit in, 2) using a calm, slow voice,
the leader of the activity is to give sufficient time between each visual suggestion for
students to ease into the vision and see each step, 3) Create your own visual scenario
appropriate to the clients age, experience, and interest. For example, for the first vision,
the leader of the group will instruct the client of a vision of a beach on their minds. Here,
the leader will go as far as describing very single nice detail about the beach to the tee, so
that the client can get a better visual image (the better the description, the more
integrated/submerged the client will get into the vision. So the leader can say things like,
how nice/sunny the day was, how cool and breezy the water felt, and how the simple
aroma of the beach was so good, that just that the smell already got everyone feeling in a
good mood. Then (once the client is still imagining he is still on this beach), when you
are ready to go, go to the edge of the water and throw in anything that has been bothering
you. Anything that you wish to be rid of in your life, anything you are feeling sad or
angry about, anything you worry about (e.g. problems at home, violence in the
neighborhood, bullies, death of a loved one, issues with friends). The, you will picture
whatever it is that has been bothering you, as a big rock (or any image that helps you see
it as undesirable). The client will then throw this object into the ocean as far as you can.

Watch it sink and get taken by the waves. Once the visit is over, be thankful for the
release of the burden, the problem, the worry; then walk always peacefully back to the
warm sand and take a rest on your beach towel.
Leadership Considerations: A CTRS will function as an instructor for this activity, and
he/she will assist if any help is needed. If there are any limitations that a client may have
or that has already been diagnosed as having, it is essential that the CTRS gather this
information as early as possible. This is done so the leader can have time to
prepare/adjust the activities, according to the specific clients needs. In reference to the
leader of this activity, its also very important that they have the ability to paint as good a
picture as possible for the clients. One of the main objectives of this exercise is for the
client to forget where they currently are, and to immerse themselves into this visual
image that you are depicting for them. Also, if someone is unable to picture youre the
leaders image, assist them in creating their own image or happy place.
Adaptations: Participants with Traumatic Brain Injury: Traumatic brain injuries
(TBI) usually occur when an external force causes damage to the brain, which usually
comes by means of a violent blow to the head, which can cause brain dysfunction. The
effects of TBIs have a wide spectrum in regards to its effects, which can either be
physical or psychological. Additionally, some symptoms may appear immediately after
the traumatic event occurs, while others can show themselves weeks later. Some signs of
mild TBIs include: loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes, no loss of
consciousness but a sate of being dazed, confused or disoriented, and headache. Then, in
more severe TBIs symptoms may include: loss of consciousness from several minutes to
hours, persistent headache or headache that worsens, and convulsions r seizures. As far as
adaptations go for clients who have TBIs the list of adaptations include: reducing
distractions around the room, increasing the natural lighting in the room (some TBI client
scan be sensitive to certain lights), provide a to do list of instructions, and have them
cross off each one as they are completed, or allow them to tape record the instructions, so
that they may catch up/follow along if they get lost. Furthermore, if the client is unable to
sit, or vice versa stand, they can be provided a more comfortable chair, or cane, if they
are to be sitting/standing for extended periods of time (Ylvisaker et al., 2005).
Participants with Substance Related Disorders: Drug addiction, or substance related
disorders are considered to be a dependent on a legal or illegal drug or medication. When
someone is addicted, they are unable to control their drug use, and continue to use the
drug, despite the harm it causes. Drug addiction can lead to other problems such as,
serious, long-term consequences involving physical and mental health, relationships,
employment, and the law. Symptoms of substance related disorders include, having that
feeling/urge to use the drug regularly (which can be anywhere from daily to several times
a day), having intense urges for the drug, spending money on the drug even though you
cant afford it, and doing things to get the drug that you normally wouldnt do, like
stealing. Adaptations for clients who have substance related disorders include: providing
them with lots of praise and positive reinforcement (for encouragement), providing extra
interns/volunteers to supervise them (just in case for the safety/protection of others if they
have a relapse), and to have previously asked them or their doctors before hand, of any

possible triggers or topics to stay away from during the Visual Imagery activity (Caroll,
1998).
Adaptations References
- Carroll, K. M. (1998). Therapy Manuals for Drug Addiction, Manual 1: A CognitiveBehavioral Approach: Treating Cocaine Addiction. National Institute on Drug Abuse.
- Ylvisaker, M., Adelson, P. D., Braga, L. W., Burnett, S. M., Glang, A., Feeney, T., ... &
Todis, B. (2005). Rehabilitation and ongoing support after pediatric TBI: twenty years of
progress. The Journal of head trauma rehabilitation, 20(1), 95-109.