AACBT Master Clinician Series Webinar – Imagery

31 Dec 2023
12:00 pm
- 01:40 pm
Non-member link after registration; Member via "My Account"
  • Emily Holmes
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This event was recorded live and is now available for on-demand viewing.


Mental Imagery in CBT

Presented by Professor Emily Holmes


Part of the AACBT Master Clinician webinar series.


This event was recorded live and is available for on-demand viewing.


(Please note that there may be a delay in receiving the link to this event for non-members as transactions need to be verified.)


(AACBT members – log into your account for access)



This approx. 1hr 40 min Master Clinician webinar was recorded in October 2020.


Using mental imagery is complementary to almost any therapeutic approach/age/diagnosis and may open up extra tools.

This masterclass will discuss the science and practice of imagery-based cognitive therapy, as well as new techniques developed in reference to our team’s work in trauma, depression, and bipolar disorder.

From a cognitive science perspective, mental imagery involves an experience like perception in the absence of a percept: seeing in our mind’s eye, for example. Imagery has extremely interesting properties – recruits similar brain areas to actual perception, enhances memory and learning and, compared to verbal processing, mental imagery has a more powerful impact on emotion.

From a clinical practice perspective, intrusive, affect-laden images cause distress across psychological disorders. Imagery-based intrusive memories and “flashbacks” to a past trauma are the hallmark of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Intrusive mental imagery can also occur of the future, such as ‘flashforwards‘ to suicidal acts or manic pursuits in bipolar disorder. We need to know how to work with dysfunctional imagery, and promote adaptive imagery using imagery-focused cognitive psychotherapy techniques.

Key Learning Objectives

  1. Explain and demystify mental images
  2. Understand how imagery has a powerful impact on emotion, motivation and behaviour
  3. Imagery “microformulation”, and how this leads to treatment selection

Emily will:

  • Explain and demystify mental imagery
  • Present what is mental imagery from clinical and theoretical perspectives
  • Illustrate how to assess and ‘micro-formulate’ mental imagery across psychological disorders
  • Briefly introduce a range of techniques for working clinically with mental images
  • Use examples of how to apply these techniques in treating PTSD and bipolar disorder – other conditions will also be considered


Holmes, E.A., Hales, S.A., Young, K., Di Simplicio, M. (2019) Imagery-Based Cognitive Therapy for Bipolar Disorder and Mood Instability. Guilford Press. ISBN 9781462539055.

Hackmann, A., Bennett-Levy, J. & Holmes, E. A. (2011).  Oxford Guide to Imagery in Cognitive Therapy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0-19-923402-8.  [NB – AACBT members have full access to this via our e-library.]

Holmes, E. A., & Mathews, A. (2010). Mental imagery in emotion and emotional disorders. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(3), 349–362.

This is a free event for all AACBT members; bookings are only required for non-members to receive the link.

AACBT Members can access to the recording via My Account.


Non-members can join AACBT now to get free access to all of our recorded events, plus all the other advantages of AACBT Membership!


Images supplied.