What To Try When You Just Can’t ‘See’ Anything In A Visualization


Do you struggle to see any pictures in your mind at all when trying to create a visualisation? If so you are not alone.


Many people find it hard to see clear images of memories in their mind’s eye and just get a fuzzy impression, but for some it’s as if their minds are completely ‘blind’ and all they see is ‘whiteness’ or ‘blackness’ on their internal movie screen. This is a condition called Aphantasia and it may run in families and affect an estimated 2 – 5% of the population. People with the condition may not be aware they have it and it doesn’t stop them from living full and productive lives.  It can prove to be quite a challenge though, when trying to do the Gupta program, which does call for internal images of memories, anxious parts of ourselves, and imagined future events.

I have found that sometimes we can harness our other senses to access the emotions attached to good memories, without needing to ‘see’ pictures and this is great news because it’s those good feelings in the body that we are trying to access for the retraining process.


I worked with a client recently who could only see ‘whiteness’ when she tried to visualise, we focused instead on what she felt in her body when recalling a happy, joyful memory from the past. By coaching her to tune in more on a body sensation level, we got to the recognition of a warm, fluttery feeling of lightness that came up in her chest and back when she dwelt on her happy memory. For her this was happiness and excitement. This can then be used to think about an event in the future while those sensations are still present.

Describing a scene to yourself in language, especially using other senses such as hearing or smelling might also help. For example, if you were trying to recall the sense of being on a beach, listing all the elements of a ‘beach scene’ can help to make this come alive. So, describing that you could hear the waves crashing onto the shingle and rattling the stones as they wash back down the beach and feel the warmth of the sun on your face and smell the salty seaweed, might bring subtly alive in your body associated emotions of pleasure, calmness or joy, from accumulated memories of times when you have experienced this. This is what we are after in the visualisation anyway – the feeling of a good emotion in the body and for others who can visualise, the visual images are just a vehicle to this. The process can work whether you are recalling an actual time on a beach or an invented beach or any other happy time or place in your life.


So if you can’t visualise at all, do give working with your other senses like this a try and see if it helps you.


Clare Gee

Clare Gee, PhD

Director, Stress Resilience Coaching, Psychotherapeutic coach & Mindfulness teacher

Email: stressresilience@hotmail.co.uk

Website: www.stressresilience.co.uk

I am a highly experienced Gupta coach, who has been coaching with the program since 2012. I used the program to fully recover from CFS and fibromyalgia and was so inspired by it that I re-trained, so I could share what I had learned with others.

Originally, I trained to PhD level, as an environmental research scientist. I am now an NLP Master Practitioner, psychotherapist and mindfulness teacher, with additional training in positive psychology, self-compassion and resilience. I am qualified, through the Universities of Bangor and Oxford, to teach mindfulness programs and I often incorporate mindfulness skills into my coaching sessions for additional benefit. This is supported by my decades of mindfulness and Zen meditation practice and ongoing study with meditation teachers in the UK, US and Ireland.

1 thought on “What To Try When You Just Can’t ‘See’ Anything In A Visualization”

  1. I struggle very much with parts work and have talked with two counselors about it but I can’t find the parts or focus on a part so I cannot seem to figure out how to do this work. Any tips?

    Also any tips on visualization because I have the same problem not finding words or sensations or pictures of those times even though I know good times happened this are overshadowed by my stress and nerves.

    Thank you.

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