On Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) as Both Part of Music Therapy and as Separate From it


  • Martin J Lawes Integrative GIM Training Programme, UK




Guided Imagery and Music (GIM), Music and Imagery (MI), receptive music therapy, specialisms, advanced practice, scope of practice, competencies


Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) can be considered a specialism in which qualified music therapists may train, along with mental health practitioners from other professional backgrounds including psychotherapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists. For this latter group of practitioners, identifying themselves as music therapists, or implying this when describing GIM as a music therapy method in advertising their services, is controversial. It may indeed even be unlawful in countries where music therapy training and practice are regulated by the state.

The situation is a complex and inherently confusing one. This is because on the one hand GIM is an acknowledged international model of music therapy. On the other hand, as a specialism, GIM is distinct from music therapy in both training and practice, with GIM practitioners having various professional backgrounds.

It is proposed that international collaboration and discussion are needed, with recommendations made to foster public confidence based on a clear understanding of who is and is not a qualified music therapist and member of the music therapy profession, and who is qualified to practice what safely and effectively. The article aims to illuminate the issues that may need to be taken into consideration in developing a consensus position.

Author Biography

Martin J Lawes, Integrative GIM Training Programme, UK

Martin Lawes is a UK-based music therapist additional trained in Guided Imagery and Music (GIM). He is endorsed as a GIM trainer by the Association for Music and Imagery (AMI) and is founder of the Integrative GIM Training Programme which offers online and in-person training. He has published about GIM in four peer-reviewed journals. Martin was former chair of both the board and education committee of the European Association of Music and Imagery (EAMI) and has served on the AMI Standards committee. Martin has a special interest in the culture and ethics of GIM and its organizations and is part of an independent think-tank set up to explore this. Along with others, he provides independent GIM ethics consulting and support for those who have concerns.

Photo of author Martin J Lawes



How to Cite

Lawes, M. J. (2022). On Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) as Both Part of Music Therapy and as Separate From it. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 22(1). https://doi.org/10.15845/voices.v22i1.3448



Position Papers