by Paul Overman Sound Ideas, 2003 Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Feb 8th 2005
Paul Overman, co-author of another
relaxation CD The Ultimate Brain, provides this guided imagery CD to
help listeners to relax. The first journey places the listener in a forest
with old trees, with the haunting sound of a flute in the background. He
launches straight into this, without any explanation, which I think is
preferable to spelling it all out, since it is pretty obvious what is going
on. He tells you to imagine yourself as tall as the great tree and rooted to
the ground, refreshed by the rain. He tells you to be open to new
possibilities and grounded to the earth. The next guided imagery piece takes
you to a moonlit garden, and the one after that tries to get you to imagine the
space outside your body, and the boundaries between yourself and the rest of
the world becoming permeable. There are six exercises on the spoken word CD,
and the rest involve a mountain, spring waters, and the sun.
I have reviewed quite a number of
relaxation books and audio-recordings over the years, but my back is just as
knotted with tension as ever. The paradox of guided imagery recordings is that
the people who most need to relax are the ones who are the least likely to
benefit from them. I have a highly critical point of view, and guided imagery
tends to make me giggle because I find it silly. I rarely find it particularly
effective. However, I can report that this recording did at least send me to
sleep when I first listened to it. Overman has a good voice for this sort of
work, although I confess that the second time I tried listening to the CD, I
reverted to my giggle response, and I had to suppress the urge to repeat his
words in a cartoon character voice.
I suspect that one of the factors
that made this CD rather more effective than others was the flute music in the
"Mind Suite" by Jorge Alfano,
which is less banal than the other supposedly relaxing music on the CD.
Unfortunately, the keyboard and harp on the rest of the CD are far more
generic. The second CD of this 2CD set is devoted to the music, and some
listeners may find it just as helpful as the guided imagery.
I will return to my search for an
effective relaxation method, but it is possible that some people will find these
guided imagery exercises worthwhile.
Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities
Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at DowlingCollege, Long Island. He is also
editor of Metapsychology Online Review. His main research is on
philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.