Forthcoming workshops:

FRIDAY 15 & SATURDAY 16 FEBRUARY 2019: Distraction Pain and Guided Imagery workshop: Women, Children and Youth Division, Top End Health Services, Royal Darwin Hospital, Northern Territory, Australia.

THURSDAY 21 FEBRUARY 2019: Distraction Pain and Guided Imagery workshop: Barwon Health Geelong Hospital, Victoria Australia.

WEDNESDAY 27 FEBRUARY 2019: Distraction Pain and Guided Imagery workshop: Monash Children’s Hospital, Melbourne Australia.

WEDNESDAY 27 MARCH 2019: Distraction, Pain and Guided Imagery workshop: Swedish Pediatric Pain Society Conference, Uppslala Sweden.

(Royal Marsden Hospital: Pain and Palliative care events)

Please click on the above link for a list of Pain and Palliative Care Events hosted by the Royal Marsden Hospital Conference Centre.  Also, The Royal Marsden Neuro-Oncology Conference: Managing Brain Metastases in the 21st Century.  21 June 2018.

Workshops Available

ACT on Stress workshop: Living and working with high-level stress.

Distraction, Pain and Guided Imagery workshop: Procedural pain and fear in children and adolescents.

Palliative Care Workshop for Health and Social Care Professionals.

Stress, Emotions and Pain in Palliative Care: Workshop for Parents.

Please use the Contact link for more information or to register for a workshop.  The Distraction, Pain and Guided Imagery workshop brochure is available for download here. The Stress, Emotions and Pain workshop brochure for parents is here.  The Palliative Care Workshop brochure for health and social care professionals is here.  Please click on this link for the ACT on Stress Workshop.

If you would like Dr Bernie Whitaker to speak on managing pain and fear, anxiety, ACT or Palliative Care and Guided Imagery at your conference or event please Contact Here.

Welcome to Top-Down Pain Control: Education and training in managing procedural pain and fear in children and adolescents and ACT and guided imagery skills for parents and health/social care professionals in palliative care.  The approach is a synthesis of Personal Construct Psychology and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

Bernie, I am using guided imagery on a weekly basis in my anaesthetic practice, finding it very useful for successful procedures (iv line placement, mask tolerance) in children and adults.  You have changed my anaesthetic career for the better and helped me help many patients.

(Email from an Anaesthetist, Australia)


The first time I used guided imagery with a child in a procedure was 30 years ago.  The boy was 5 years-old and I took four sutures out of his eyelid in an emergency department while he sat with his eyes closed happily engaging with his friends, playing football (Aussie Rules) in imagery.  When we had finished he opened his eyes and asked me, "Is it going to hurt?" My astonished reply was along the lines of, "We're all done Mate".  I have to say that sparked a passion to learn more about managing procedural pain and fear in children.  With this in mind I explored the types of imagery that worked well in a Masters degree and then a PhD in psychology examining the effects of distraction, relaxation and imagery on procedural pain and fear in children.  I never intended this to 'sit on the shelf' and collect dust so in 1995 I started teaching people how to use these techniques.

The images above are from a video of me using guided imagery with a boy who is having a venepuncture while playing cricket in his imagery.  He was truly amazing hitting the ball again and again over the fence for a 'big six' before being 'run out' in the dramatic style of his cricketing heroes and yes, of course, his team won the game.


Why Top-Down? 

Because in a constructivist sense the brain is not an end-point, it is both the generator and modulator of experience be it pain, fear, joy, memories or the thoughts you are having right now. Globally, Top-Down Pain Control is all about:







From distraction and pain to living and working with high-level stress and palliative care.  There are workshops for you and your staff to build on existing skills and develop further.

Learn More →

Take Action

Ready to take the next step? Come to Reigate in Surrey for a day packed with practical knowledge and skills or on a larger scale:  Host a workshop in your hospital/workplace now.

Find Out How →