Guided Imagery and Music

Level I: Introduction to the Bonny Method

The Level I Bonny Method course, as designed by the Atlantis Institute for Consciousness and Music, will be taught from May 22-26, 2019, in Denton, TX by Nicki S. Cohen and Santiago Vilá. The following section will provide information about this training. 

Atlantis Institute

Level I: Bonny Method


Learning Objectives

  • Course Objectives and Accompanying CBMT Board Certification Domains

 1. Demonstrate knowledge of fundamental concepts about The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM), a music-centered form of psychotherapy (IIA-3-c-f; IIA-4-e). 

2.   Articulate the functions of GIM music programs in generating imagery via didactic lectures (I-D-13) 

3. Participate in an introductory experience in the roles of both traveler and facilitator during group GIM sessions (I-D-15; II-A-1-b) 


 The introductory training in the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music at Texas Woman's University is taught as a 5-day, 42-hour intensive at the campus. This immersion in the Bonny Method offers experienced therapists an entryway into training in this method and provides advanced students in music therapy and mental health professions with an experiential taste of the power of music as an agent of change.  

Miscellaneous Information:  Earn 42 CMTE hours during a five day/four night  format.  Registration = $575 and meals = $150. Lodging fees are optional. The course deadline is May 10, 2019. Students who cancel after the May 10 deadline will be refunded 50% of the full registration costs. 

                                  COURSE PREREQUISITES

•  Have successfully completed a bachelor's degree in a medical or mental health field

•  Preferably an MT-BC with at least one year of clinical practicer


· Training course registrations will be confirmed when signup has been made in the case of Level I, and applications and fees have been received, in the case of Level II and Level III training modules.

· In order to cancel or reschedule a confirmed training please submit an email request to the Primary Trainer with whom you have registered.

· Please submit all cancellation requests within 45 calendar days of registration and no later than 15 days prior to the scheduled course date in order to receive a full refund of paid registration fees.

· No shows or cancellations not made within the specified cancellation period will incur the full cost of registration, except in the case of illness or emergency. This will be handled per individual case and circumstances.

Cancellation by Atlantis Institute

· An Atlantis Training program reserves the right to cancel any training course due to insufficient enrollment at least 15 calendar days in advance of the scheduled course date. Notice will be provided with the option to reschedule for a future course date or to receive a full refund of registration fees.

· Atlantis Institute is not responsible for any expenses incurred by the trainee if a training course is cancelled.

· If a training class is cancelled due to any unforeseen circumstances such as weather or natural disaster, the trainee is entitled to reschedule for a future training course.

                       Level I: Introduction to the Bonny Method

                                    Daily Schedule (38 CMTE Hours)



May 22, 2019

4:00  Arrival and registration

5:00  Welcome  and Introductions; Overview of Course Schedule 

6:00 Dinner

7:00  Introduction to Bonny Method, Definition and Elements

Historical Overview and Perspectives

8:00-9:00  GIM Experiential 

May 23, 2019

8:00 Breakfast

9:00 Guides and Travelers/Traveler types

10:30 Demo of GIM session

12:00 Lunch and rest

2:00  Mind Maps

2:30  Inductions at Level I

3:30 Dyad # 1 and Post Session Processing

6:00 Dinner

7:00-9:00  Story of Helen Bonny

May 24, 2019

8:00 Breakfast

9:00 Music as Co-Therapist

10:30 How to Guide at Level I 

11:00 Dyad #2 

12:00 Lunch and rest

2:00 Dyad # 2 Post Session Processing 

3:00 Level I Music Programs: “Explorations” and “Reflections” 

Lev I Music Lab Analysis Overview

5:30 Introduction to Body Work for Level I 

6:00 Dinner

7:00-9:00 Mandalas

May 25, 2019

8:00 Breakfast

9:00 Power of the Image

10:00 Level I Music Program “Quiet Music”

11:00 Dyad # 3 and post session processing

12:30 Lunch and rest

2:00 Non Ordinary States of Consciousness (NOS) 

3:00 Dyad #4 and post session processing

5:00  GIM with Groups 

6:00 Dinner

7:00-9:00 Contemporary Music Programs with Worksheet

May 26, 2019

8:00 Breakfast

9:00  Applications of GIM and Contra Indications

10:00 Ethics and Standards of Practice

10:30 Overview of Personal Process 

11:30 Looking Ahead: Level II Application, Pre and Post Requirements,  Q and A

12:00 Lunch 

1:00   Adapted GIM

2:30-3:00  Closure and Evaluations

Bonny Method Sessions

Bonny Method Sessions


 Classical Bonny Method sessions are in four sections: prelude, induction, guided music listening (usually to recorded classical music), and postlude. While the music plays, the client and therapist participate in an ongoing verbal dialogue about the client's imagery experience, which has been evoked by the music. 

  • Traditional sessions are approximately one-and-one-half to two hours in length. 
  • Adaptations of Bonny Method are practiced depending upon the therapeutic setting and the client's needs. These include: creating artwork to music, writing to music, collaborative group artwork or movement to music, short individual sessions, and continuous verbal directions by the  therapist while the music is playing.
  • An introductory session with a trained Bonny Method practitioner will help to determine a client's suitability for Bonny Method work and will discern whether a classical or adapted Bonny Method approach is most recommended. 
  • The Bonny Method may not be appropriate for all persons. The introductory meeting is for the Bonny Method practitioner to determine whether this method is well-suited for the client. If the practitioner determines that the Bonny Method is not appropriate for the client, the practitioner will refer the client to other, more suitable therapists.
  • The Bonny Method is not a form of verbal psychotherapy and should not be used as a substitute for verbal counseling.

Association for Music and Imagery (AMI)

All Bonny Method practitioners, or Fellows, are trained by programs approved by the Association for Music and Imagery (AMI). AMI also approves all Bonny Method Fellow or Trainer applications. 

Association for Music and Imagery

Bonny Method Training

Pre-Requisites for Training Levels

Level One

To qualify for Level I training, students must have received one personal Bonny Method session or have attended an Introduction to the Bonny Method continuing education course. 

Level Two

To take the Level II course, the student must apply to the Atlantis Institute, give 10 personal sessions, receive 4 personal sessions, complete one musical analysis assignment, and read 5 related books. Half of the requirements are meant to be done prior to the training and the other half is meant to be done following the training. 

Level Three

Students must attend 3 Level III courses that contain Advanced Clinical, Archetype and Myth, Transpersonal Healing, Music and the Psyche, and Supervisory training. Students must apply and be accepted by the Atlantis Institute. To successfully complete the training and become a Fellow of the Association for Music and Imagery, Level III students must give 75 client sessions, receive 15 personal sessions, receive 15 supervisions, read 15 books and write reports, complete and present a 10-session case study at one of the Level III trainings, and analyze in writing all 19 of the required Atlantis GIM music programs. 

Meet the Trainers

Both Nicki Cohen and Santiago Vilá were taught to be Trainers through the Atlantis Institute for Consciousness and Music, which is directed by Sierra Stearns and Carol Bush. The Atlantis Institute has prepared many excellent Bonny Method Trainers.

Atlantis Institute

Nicki Cohen and Santiago Vilá


Nicki Cohen

Nicki Cohen, Ph.D.,MT-BC is a Fellow and Trainer of the AMI. She teaches for the Atlantis Institute in Denton, TX, where Nicki is also a Professor of Music Therapy at Texas Woman's University.. She has a private GIM practice that incorporates music therapy techniques and modified forms of the Bonny Method as needed. Nicki conducts all levels of GIM trainings, and also offers workshops, supervisions, and therapeutic sessions. She is willing to teach internationally.  Nicki published a book  entitled, Advanced Methods in Music Therapy Practice (2017), by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Nicki loves to sing, play her ukulele and accordion, listen to her finches fidget and  beep, drink tea, and laugh. She is forever grateful to Helen Bonny, her mentor,  for how GIM has fully transformed her life.  

Nicki Cohen's Faculty Web Page
Santiago Vilá

Santiago Vilá

Santiago Vilá has been the music therapy coordinator of Tákim Institute in Bogotá, Colombia since 2011. He is a professional drummer and holds a Master´s Degree in Music Therapy from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He is Fellow and Primary Trainer of the Association for Music and Imagery. Although Spanish is his mother tongue, he speaks fluently in English and Italian. Kriya Yoga is essential in his soul journey, and he incorporates meditation techniques in the therapeutic processes. In his private practice, he uses GIM specially for spiritual growth, recovery from trauma and addictions. 

According to Santi, "Since I lived that first peak experience, the healing nature of that expanded state caused by music has been the source of inspiration to accompany others in their healing and transformation paths." 

Contact Santiago at  or

Santiago Vilá's web page

The Students

To study the Bonny Method, one must believe in the wisdom of the Self to heal when given support and non-directive guidance. Students can be music therapists, counselors, spiritual directors.  or other related professionals who believe in the power of music and imagery as means of transformation. A student who pursues Bonny Method training must have a strong and close relationship with music, clinical experience as a mental health therapist, the required certification for their profession, and have a master's degree by the time they finish their training. 

Session Rates

Individual Bonny Method Sessions

$90 per 1.5-2 hour session

$60 for a Bonny Method trainee

$50 for a demonstration session, limit of one

Group Session

$120 per group session with maximum of 6 members


$75 per supervision


$75 per consultation


The amount will be based on number of days and topic. Contact Nicki Cohen using  the form at the end of this website if you are interested in a workshop on the Bonny Method or a similar topic. 

Nicki Cohen: Publications and Presentations

Cohen, N. (2017).  Four advanced methods of music therapy practice. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Cohen, N. (2017). Helen Bonny: The Seed or the Flower? Southwestern AMTA conference, Lubbock, TX.

Cohen, N. (2017). Advanced methods of  music therapy practice. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London, UK.

Cohen, N. (2017). Helen Bonny: The Seed or the Flower? Conference of the Association for Music and Imagery, Montreal, Quebec, CA

Cohen, N. (2015).  Kud’sha b’reekh hu (from the Sacred Wellspring). In Siddur Kol Ami.Congregation Kol Ami, Flower Mound, TX.

Cohen, N. (2015). The floating leaf: A case study of guided imagery and music for a person with brain damage. In Guided imagery and music: A spectrum of approach. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Cohen, N. (2016). Principles of objectivist research. In Music therapy research (3rd. ed.). Barcelona Publishers. Commissioned Chapter.

Cohen, N. (2013). Neurogenic communication disorders. In Guidelines for music therapy practice: Medical care of adults (ed. J. Allen). Barcelona Publishers.  

Cohen, N. (2002). Ethical considerations in guided imagery and music. In K. Bruscia and D. Grocke (Eds.) Guided imagery and music: The Bonny method and beyond (pp. 483-496). Gilsum, NH: Barcelona Publishers.

Cohen, N. (2011). Featured Speaker in The Healing Powers of Music. Channel 33, Dallas.

Cohen, N. (2010). To Tense and Release: Reconsidering Relaxation Strategies. American Music Therapy Association Conference, Cleveland, OH.

Cohen, N. (2010).Therapeutic music as narrative. Narrative and Healing, the telemedicine component of LitSite Alaska. University of Alaska, Anchorage.  

Cohen, N. (2009). Featured Speaker in TWU Music Therapy [DVD]. Annis Leung, Director and Producer. 


Cohen, N. (2009).The Rock and Roll Threshold: How Loud is Too Loud?
American Music Therapy Association Conference, San Diego, CA.

Cohen, N. (2008). Featured Speaker in Invited by Music: Explorations in Consciousness [DVD]. The Bonny Institute.

Cohen, N. (2008).The 10 Lenses: How Cultural Diversity Impacts Music Therapy Practice. Presented at the American Music Therapy Association Conference.

Cohen, N.  (2007). Bonny Method Practice and Cultural Diversity: Finding the Balance. Presented at the Association for Music and Imagery Conference.

Cohen, N. (2006). Cultural Diversity and Music Therapy: Finding the Balance. Presented at the American Music Therapy Association Conference.

Cohen, N.  (2005). Musical choices: An interview with Helen Lindquist Bonny. Journal of the Association for Music and Imagery, 9, 1-26.

Summer, L., Cohen, N., Goldberg, F., McKinney, C., & West, T. (2005). Music and Imagery: Roundtable for Current Practice and Training. Association for Music and Imagery Conference, Vancouver, B.C.,Canada.

Cohen, N. (2004). Applications of GIM Research to Music Therapy Practice. Aalborg University, Denmark

Cohen, N. (2002). Ethical considerations in guided imagery and music. In K. Bruscia and D. Grocke (Eds.) Guided imagery and music: The Bonny Method and beyond. Barcelona Publishers.

Cohen, N., & Burns, D. (2002). Music Relaxation Techniques: Considerations for the Music Therapist. American Music Therapy Association Conference, Atlanta, GA 

Cohen, N. (2001). Music and Imagery Techniques. Sookmyung University, Seoul, South Korea

Cohen, N.  (2000). The Sounds of Loss: Music and Imagery in Bereavement Support. 13th International Congress on Care of the Terminally Ill, Montreal, Canada.

2019 Bonny Method Classes in Texas


The following Bonny Method of guided imagery and trainings will be offered during  2019:

•  Level I training. May 22-26, 2019 @ Texas Woman’s University. Denton, TX. Deadline is May 10, 2019.

• Level II training. July 30-August 4, 2019. Denton, TX. Deadline is July 15, 2019. 

Cancellations made by students after the deadlines will result 

in a 50% refund. 

Contact Me

Send Message

Bonny Method Services or Circles of the Self Course

  • Are you interested in Bonny Method of GIM personal sessions, group sessions, supervisions, consultations, or Bonny Method training courses? 
  • Are you interested in taking the Circles of the Self course? 
  • Please leave your contact information and indicate your interest in the message box. Nicki Cohen will respond back to you within 24 hours.  

Guided Imagery and Music

Denton, TX

(940) 391-3538

Hours-contact me anytime!

Please leave a message for me at anytime, am or pm, and I will get back to you within 24 hours. Please indicate whether you would prefer for me to call you or email you. Nicki Cohen