Visualizing and pain: Theory

Visualizing and pain: Theory

4 min. reading time


Louis Zantema

5 January 2020

Louis is a GZ-Psychologist with a great passion for gaming. For him, a game training that offers therapy is the most valuable thing you can develop: especially for pain complaints, which are on the interesting intersection of body and mind. His aim is to make himself dispensable as a therapist.

How come you can influence your own brain by imagining certain things? In the first blog this week you will learn a technique to practice with what we call 'visualizing', today I'll go deeper into how this works.

Fooling the brain

When you watch an exciting film, you can feel the tension yourself (if it is a good film). You know you are watching a flat screen, but the part of your brain where feelings arise (the emotional brain) doesn't understand this. It sees the film and creates tension. 

The emotional brain doesn't really see the difference between 'real' and 'fake'. The moment you imagine something, you could compare it to a TV, but within yourself. You look at the film that is going on in your head. 

And that film in your head can be anything if you use your imagination, as we mentioned in the previous exercise. It gives you the opportunity to imagine things that wouldn't be possible in real life, but that can help you move forward. Because pain also arises in the 'emotional brain'. 

Getting more control yourself

By using your imagination, you can get more control over the alarm center in your emotional brain after practicing for a while. This makes it easier for you to find peace and control in difficult periods - which in turn has a positive effect on your pain. 


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