What is Imaginal Dialogue?

Human beings are gifted with the ability to experience all five senses in the imaginal realm. Just imagine biting into a lemon, stroking a kitten’s fur, or breathing in the smell of newly mown grass. We can see colors, feel temperature differences, and experience movement! In fact, whatever we experience in the outer world, can be experienced in the inner. Not only that, the imagination—the imaginal realm—provides us with unlimited experience beyond what we know from the outer world. This means the psyche can create any situation and setting needed, in the imaginal realm, to help the client move into and through healing.

Imaginal dialogue happens when the client interacts with anything or anyone encountered in the imaginal realm: conversing with a lost beloved in order to say what was left unsaid, being protected by a fierce and loving lion while confronting a childhood perpetrator, feeling the soothing and comforting touch of an angel, dancing in delight and sheer joy with fairies in the forest. Imaginal dialogue is actual magic, and it is my honor to guide my clients to the imaginal realm and support them in their work there.

Children naturally engage in imaginal dialogue whenever they play “make believe.” When they talk or interact with an imagined person or creature, they are having an imaginal dialogue. This kind of play allows children to work through problems, rehearse future roles, and to enjoy life.

As it turns out, adults also benefit from imaginal dialogue, especially as part of counseling. It provides a unique way to look at problems and find effective solutions. It helps the counseling process in many ways, including the release of grief, building a stronger sense of self, and easing difficulties associated with trauma. Many people find imaginal dialogue to be a source of inner joy and celebration!