Emotion-Image Therapy as a method of a dialogue with an unconscious nature of a human

World Journal «Psychotherapy» 2013, №1 (6), pp. 73—77

Nikolay Linde, Prof., Ph.D., Moscow Institute of Psychoanalytic Therapy, Head of the Emotion-Image Therapy department, member of the Professional Psychotherapeutic League, President, Linde N.D. Emotion-Image Therapy Center. E-mail: nlinde@mail.ru

Report for the plenary session of the Congress. The Report is dedicated to some particularities of Emotion-Image Therapy (EIT) that allow achieving the fast and sustainable results when analyzing the unconscious world of the client and correcting the impacts on the pathogenic emotional state. The Report gives practical samples and comments, explaining the effects. This year we tested the new form of a master class where the teachers trained by us deliver lectures in turn. Such approach attracted the great interest and raised the enthusiasm among all participants of the new form of master classes. It stimulates the teachers to perfect and improve the skills of the therapists, including the teachers of the future therapists as well. We have one supervisor in our school who has been educated in PPL and received the relevant certificate. But the work of the supervisor in our department needs the further development.

Key words: emotions, sense, image, unconscious human being, self-cognition, dialogue.

The psychotherapy solves two interconnected tasks such as the help to the client in self-cognition and in self-modification. The self-cognition assumes that the client does not realize certain things about himself, in other words, the client is not conscious of something.

He should realize the inner psychic causes that create the problem, and then the need to solve the problem using the specific method. That is why we call Emotion-Image Therapy (hereinafter “EIT”) analytically effective and causal therapy. Emotion-Image Therapy presumes the new ways of the emotional state analysis and the corrective measures using the spontaneously generated images by the client.

Our methods let us realize the real causes of the sufferings and demonstrate it to the client eye-mindedly and impressively. Then we offer to the client our help in affecting mentally the emotional image thus changing not only the image itself, but modifying the initial negative state and transforming it into the positive image.

We consider the development of EIT methods in a very inspiring light. Just to say, that we can cure asthma, allergy, neurodermia, chronic algia, thyroid disorders, tachycardia and arrhythmia, various phobias, anaclises, sufferings caused by any distresses and losses, the relational problems, sense of quilt, sorrow, anger, lack of femininity or masculinity and many other problems.

The client’s consciousness works the image, thus embracing all senses and influencing upon himself. The obtained results are stabilized and transformed into the stable psychological and somatopsyclic state, that remains later in the subconscious psychic world of the client.

That is why EIT lets achieve the fast and stable results in treating the psychic pains, allergies, phobias, troubles, anaclises, sorrows, dissociations and other problems. The developed EIT methods demonstrate a quite original technique of analyzing the images and treating the emotional states such as return of “investments”, a paradox resolution, rain contemplation, the adoption of an inner Child, a return of a “gift”, etc.

Moreover, there is a whole system of completely new imaginative exercises that allow revealing the concealed problems or obtaining resources. EIT is based on the original theoretical approaches such as a role of emotional states in the development of the psychological problems and grounds for its conception, the interaction of the consciousness and unconsciousness, and the possible correction of the emotional state through the client’s mental activities, aimed at the image, the emotional focus and the principles of rescue from the compulsive images. The system of philosophical conceptions which is under the permanent development in EIT plays a significant role in the whole process.

In a process of Emotion-Image Therapy the client stays in a permanent “on-line” contact with his own unconscious being and is subject to the continuous interaction with a therapist. The therapist realizes what happens with the client who is submerged in the process and does not always realize what he does at the moment. But the therapist directs his efforts in finding the environmentally correct solution of the problem.

Freud believed that the analysis of the dreams was the “tsar’s road” in the psychoanalysis. EFT creates the real dreams, but such dreams are directed and associated with the principal negative emotional state, which generates the studied problem. In this way we hit the target at once, in other words, the initial emotional conflict which creates the whole system and which is not realized by the client. He generates the images unconsciously and knows the real causes of such images; moreover, the images mirror the essence of the matter. The images shall be interpreted, but sometimes they explain the origin of all symptoms and the therapist shall only “select” the instant truth.

Example 1: “Small hedgehog”.

At the seminar a woman, a psychologist, requested me to treat claustrophobia. She said that “the claustrophobia is not so strong, but all doors are removed in her house”. The first time she faced the problem after delivering a child, who was very ill for a whole year.

Currently this phobia may happen in any enclosed space, for example, in a lift. I asked her to imagine herself confined in some premise, room or lift, and describe her feelings. She answered that even now just imagining such situation she worried a lot, her hands trembled and heartbeat was so strong, that she could hardly breathe.

Then I asked her to imagine it just now. Without thinking twice she said that she saw a small hedgehog beating the drum with wood sticks. At first sight it was ridiculous. How and in what way the claustrophobia could look like a small hedgehog with a drum?

But I realized immediately what was behind the realization of my client. The hedgehog is always associated with a man, and it means that a small hedgehog is associated with a kid. I asked her if she had a boy.

She nodded in agreement. Then I realized that the motherly anxiety for the sick child was the reason of the fears of the confined spaces where the mother could not control the health of her child. The drum meant the heart of the mother which worried about the small hedgehog (it drummed causing the tachycardia). That is why all doors were removed from her house! All other confined spaces cause the fears by the virtue of the associative transfer law.

At present the child is absolutely healthy and I said to her: “Please, say to the hedgehog mentally that you allow it to stay healthy and independent without my support”. She repeated it mentally several times, feeling much better. Very soon she saw how the hedgehog dropped drum-sticks, left for another room and kept playing there with its toys… The strong heartbeat ceased and the hands stopped trembling. Later I explained to her the meaning of the images and the mental liberation of the kid from the obsessive attention and the client agreed with me.

The séance supported with the imagination of the confined space by the woman brought the complete serenity to her, and the claustrophobia was gone. The practical exercises on the next day gave the same results.

The example demonstrates the “direct hit at the fixation point” of the client by the therapist, followed by the client’s immediate deliverance from the obsessive image.

In most cases Emotion-Image Therapy demands some “investigations” of the images created by the client. In such cases the Socratic dialogue is needed and during the séance the created images are asked questions as if they were the living beings. But the client answers the questions himself, sometimes sitting down on the chair, which projected the image and playing the role of the image.

The therapist asks the questions aimed at the development and study of the therapeutic hypothesis; sometimes he asks the client to do some actions related to the image and describe the transformation of the image under such actions.

Only after the “mosaic” builds the clear picture demonstrating how the specific psychological cause generates the negative psychological consequences the therapist asks the client to make the actions to erase the initial cause.

Example 2: “Nasty rat”

At the seminar one of the students expressed the wish to solve her problem. She complained about the frequent inner weakness, apathy, but she believed that “fear of belly” was the main symptom. In other words, she felt something very unpleasant in her stomach, something resembling the tension, fears, and it became stronger if somebody touched her belly, even if this somebody was her friend. She fought with this feeling. She even pieced her navel for a ring, but nothing helped. The thought if she could deliver a child in the future tortured her (she was not married at that time; she was only 20). We would call her Katya.

I asked her to imagine this “fear of belly” on the chair in front of her. She answered at once and described the image of a nasty dirty rat with a long tail. The rat wanted to eat something inside her stomach.

N.L.: ‘Ask it, why the rat is doing it?’

K.: ‘It wants that I would disappear … ‘

N.L.: ‘And why it wants you to disappear?’

K.: “Simply it wants that I would not exist at all…’

N.L.: ‘But why?’

K.: ‘Because I am not wanted here… ‘


The Socratic dialogue with the rat image revealed that the girl felt her unwanted in this world. Very often it may be the result of the parents’ words or deeds. Now we should learn what caused such reaction…

N.L.: ‘Tell me since when and why you feel unwanted?’

K.: ‘Always. Because my parents did not want me as I was an unplanned child, and my mother was going to have an abortion. I was the last child in the family, unwanted child, as my parents already had children and did not want the another one. In addition, when I was born the parents had hard times and needed money. Later everybody loved me, and now they love me, both my dad and mom. But nevertheless, I always do my best to please them, to be likable, as if I am trying to justify my existence’.

N.L.: (Addressing the students). ‘In theory it is known as the “myth of birth” I told you about it in my lectures. The child feels guilty for his or her “untimely” or “wrong” birth and the depression or the hidden suicidal intention might be the result of it. Per se, you told already about your will to interrupt your existence… ‘

Comments: Now Katya’s fears that she would not deliver her own children become evident.

K.: ‘I am ashamed to admit it, but it is so. At the same time I realize that it is wrong.’

N.L.: ‘Do you understand that the rat in your stomach is having the same abortion your mother hadn’t?’

K.: ‘Yes, I understand’.

N.L.: ‘Would you like to get rid of this auto aggression, materialized in the rat image?’

K.: ‘Yes, I do! But I don’t know how… ‘

N.L.: ‘So I ask you to do exactly as I say: spread the hand mentally, stroke the rat and tell it: ‘I would never send you away or reject you. You are very good and I accept you for who you are and rat, I really need you a lot!’


The image of a rat is always associated with the rejected child. Here we face the problem of self-rejection, and the proposal of N.L. is aimed at the negotiation of this emotional fixation. I did not explain it to Katya to watch the séance process and prevent her resistance. In her mind Katya understands that the “rat” hates her. So she does not want to display good feelings to the rat. Nevertheless, in reality Katya accepts herself, returning the sense of pertinence in the dialogue with her unconscious being.

K.: ‘Aloud or silently?’

N.L.: ‘Better silently… But keep telling me what happens to the rat while you talk with it’.

K.: (For some time she is concentrated on her thoughts). ‘The rat diminishes in size’.

N.L.: ‘Are you feeling better or worse? What about your belly?’

K.: ‘Better…’

N.L.: ‘So continue talking with the rat…’

K.: (Katya stays concentrated for some time more). At last the rat turns into the merry lop-eared puppy.

N.L.: ‘Do you like it?’

K.: ‘Yes, it is very nice, and you can play with it’.

Comments: The rejected inner child has transformed into a joyful, natural and desirable baby!

N.L.: ‘Oh! Your eyes shine! How do you feel now?’

K.: (Smiling happily, but shyly). ‘Jolly good. Don’t know why, but I am hot, as if the warmth spread through my whole body.

Comments: The return of warm attitude to herself as a child that affected even the physiology.

N.L.: ‘Do you like the puppy? Are you agreeing to accept it for ever as the part of your personality?’

K.: ‘Sure!’

N.L.: “What do feel in the stomach now?’

K.: ‘Excellent! No tension. Only pleasant feelings’.

N.L.: ‘Just imagine, that somebody touches you belly, for instance, a young man…’


Just for checking the stability of the results using the approach to the critical situation.

K.: (Shyly). ‘Everything is fine, no negative feelings’.

N.L.: ‘Do you want that such changes stayed with you for ever?’

K.: ‘Of course, I want it’.


The sincere agreement of the client is enough to serve the proof of the results. Now I can give my explanations as such explanations would not cause the resistance of the client.

N.L.: Now I will explain what has happened if you do not mind… As a result of your pertinence feelings you rejected the inner child. The child automatically started the unconscious process of self-destruction, an abortion. That is why the child turned into the nasty aggressive rat attacking your stomach, and your stomach tensed in response. That is why you had doubts about delivering children. Now when you accepted your child, he became your friend, the auto aggression stopped, the tension in the stomach gone. That is all… If you have any further doubts or any questions I am ready to continue…

K.: No, everything is clear. I feel good and know that I would feel the same farther… I went to visit the other therapist and was disappointed. Thank you very much. I did not believe that it is possible.

N.L.: Well, that is excellent. The séance is over.

In about two weeks time I asked her about her feelings and got the proof that all was right. One year later she gave a birth to her child and kept attending classes with a baby carriage. She has not even recalled our séance.


The séance took 15-20 minutes, but the basic Katya’s problem was resolved for her future life. Let’s note that during the séance Katya realized the concealed associations between the events in her childhood and psychological problems. The impact upon her own unconscious being was done by the client himself but under the guide and with explanations of the therapist.

During the therapy the images may behave oddly, violating the laws peculiar to the physical objects as the images represent such objects. But the images are subordinate to the emotional world laws, and in the process of the amazing transformations a human is freed of psychosomatic problems which he or she did not hope to resolve. That is why the people who experienced our method very often call it “fantastic”.

Example 3: “Broken bottle melts”

At the seminar one of the students (let’s call him Sergey) knowing that I can cure the pain in the spine asked me to help him and treat the chronic pain in the lower back. For the first time the pain started three years ago when he left the army. I asked him if he had any trauma, physical or psychological, during his service, or was there any hazing.

‘No’, answered Sergey.

N.L.: What has happened? Did you suffer any stress?

S.: My girl did not wait for me till I come back from the army and got married! For the whole two years I was in depression.

N.L.: Well, picture and describe your pain.

S.: If to break the bottle with Champaign the second half of the bottle will have the sharp ends, so-called “rosette”. I feel as if this rosette is trust into my lower back!

N.L.: Now ask this rosette if it has something to tell you?

S.: It says that this is for being unable of holding the girl!


May be, it isn’t by chance that the rosette selected the sexual chakra according to yoga. May be, it is not by chance the image was in the form of “rosette” thus resembling the woman.

N.L.: I ask you to tell this bottle that you permit it to disclose all feelings concealed in it…

S.: And how the bottle can express its feelings?

N.L.: Do not worry about it, simply say it …

S.: Then the bottle starts melting and dropping wax. (At this moment the tears started running down his cheeks). Oh, sorry, I do not understand what’s happening. I can not stop crying…

N.L.: That’s okay, nobody sees it. (The students sat behind and could not see his face). Let all tears go, it is good! But, please, tell me, what’s happening with the bottle.

In some time Sergey said that the bottle melted completely, and the tears stopped running down his cheeks. The pain in the lower back was gone as well. In two years I met him in the institute. Sergey thanked me and said that even now he did not understand what has happened and what I’ve done to him, but since that day he had no pain in the spine and problems with the girls.


In fact, the image of the bottle symbolized the anger of Sergey. We helped him to relieve the pain, and hence the anger has passed and, as a result, the pain disappeared.

The imaginable sounds, and even the imaginable smells, might be used to treat the psychosomatic problems. The olphactive (sense of smell) method proposed by me to treat the stress and heart ache is perfect even if the beginners use it when treating completely unprepared clients.

Briefly, the method may be described as the offer of the psychotherapist to the client, suffering from pain in the breast. The psychotherapist asks the client to imagine the scent of the pain (depending on the client) and then to nose it till the client feels that the imaginable scent dissipated fully or vanished. The surprising phenomenon which can be observed in such case (that is permanently proved by any clients) is based on the fact that the pain a human suffers goes away and disappears together with the dissipation of the imaginable scent. At that, the whole psychotherapy process takes three – five minutes maximum. Moreover, not only the painful sensations disappear, but the normal color returns to the face of the client together with all normal physical functions, and the client can continue his routine physical activities without difficulties or fears. The positive results are evident in 100% cases if the client follows the instructions. I use this method successfully already for 20 years.

Example 4: “Scent of stress”.

Quite recently I used the method to treat a woman who had the stress. The stress was caused by the information about her hospitalized father with a sudden stroke or heart attack. Her father lived in Uzbekistan. She could not stop crying and tears were permanently running down her face; the ends of her lips and even eyes sank; she could not breathe normally; something dragged her right hand down and she could not move it, and in the center of the breast she experienced the spiritual pain. I offered to mentally put the pain on the palm of the left hand, smell it and describe the smell.

Despite her sufferings she obeyed and started to list the smells. At first it was an unpleasant smell of formaldehyde, then a smell of another medicine, then another, then a smell of flower, and then the smell of freshness and at this moment the pain was gone.

The whole process took only 2 minutes. The tears stopped and the woman started smiling! The dragging pain was gone also, and the woman could breathe deeply and freely! She looked at me perplexedly and repeated asking me: ‘What was it? Hypnosis?’ I explained that it was not hypnosis, because she can do it herself at any moment and it is the method of emotion self-regulation through the olfactive centers of our brain.

* * *

There are many other examples in Emotion-Image Therapy, hundreds of similar cases. The examples demonstrate how easy the dialogue with the unconscious being of the client can be if the client responds quickly and spontaneously and does the first thing that comes to his head. So we do utmost for the client could relax without expectation of any pressure, tricks or blame from us. But the client does not realize what he tells about himself in images created by him and so he does not suppress it. It does not exclude the fact that sometimes the process of the resolution of some problems may take much longer period. It depends on the resistance of the client to the therapy as the client may derive certain benefits from the problem; too much associated with the problem, or the client can not agree to accept the philosophical principles, offered by the therapist. In such case the séance may lead to the philosophical discussions based on the Socratic dialogue, including parables and jokes.

Emotion-Image Therapy is rapidly developing. Every year 40 up to 80 people attend EIT master classes. Many of the students attend master classes for the second and even the third time. We developed three EIT programs which were approved by Professional Psychotherapeutic League (PPL): the first, the second and the third degree programs. The most active and talented students have the special training courses to become EIT teachers in future. In 2012 we have trained 9 EIT teachers who were granted the official certificates signed by me and approved by Professional Psychotherapeutic League (PPL). At present one more group of students attends the systematic training courses to receive the status of EIT teacher. In this way we develop the uniform training system. Last year we have been awarded the diploma of Professional Psychotherapeutic League for the establishment of the scientific and practical school.

This year we tested the new form of a master class where the teachers trained by us deliver lectures in turn. Such approach attracted the great interest and raised the enthusiasm among all participants of the new form of master classes. It stimulates the teachers to perfect and improve the skills of the therapists, including the teachers of the future therapists as well. We have one supervisor in our school who has been educated in PPL and received the relevant certificate. But the work of the supervisor in our department needs the further development.