The historical foundations of Guided Fantasy are found in psychoanalysis. In the famous case of  Anna O. (Breuer and Freud, 1895), a directed mental imagery technique was employed, but Freud later discarded the use of guided imagery, and developed methods involving free association and dream analysis.Growing out of this  analytic tradition, Kretschmer (1922) and Happich (1938) developed    meditative approaches to psychotherapy, and Schultz (1956) used a  systematic method for using the mind’s images called the “autogenic    training technique.”   Especially significant to the more  recent publicizing and legitimizing of fantasy psychotherapy were the methods of French psychotherapist Robert Desoille and German psychiatrist  Hanscarl Leuner. Desoille’s (1966) work with  the  waking  dream (rêve  éveillé) demonstrated that therapist-directed  daydreaming could lead patients to increased self-understanding and emotional maturity. Leuner’s (1969) “guided affective imagery” technique involves the guiding of the subject through a series of  structured fantasy situations, each with a specific theoretical purpose in analysis and therapy.

Contemporary approaches to Guided Fantasy have moved away from emphasis of the analytic value of  imagery and more toward the inherent therapeutic value of the fantasy experience, along  with action-oriented approaches for integrating  the fantasy experience  into positive growth (Kelly, 1974). Shaffer (1972), for example, has used  “induced guided fantasy” as a primary mode of  treatment with several clients in therapy. “Psychosynthesis” makes use of a variety of Guided Fantasy methods (Crampton,  1969). Behavior therapists have often  modified and structured Guided Fantasy for use in Systematic Desensitization.The real history of Guided Fantasy is being written now, as more therapists make use of  these techniques and as journals and societies focusing on mental imagery begin to appear. For a more definitive discussion of the history of  fantasy  therapies, see Margaret Crampton’s (1974) historical survey.

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