The Imagined House

29 07 2019

The house often is a symbol of the self, one’s own personality. In this exercise, students are led through a mental imagery scene in which they explore a house in their imagination.

You are walking down a road…. As you are walking, you see a house. Look at it. Notice its details…. Walk towards it. What do you notice about it?…. You start to walk around the house, looking at it as you walk…. Now you are halfway around. Notice the details of the house as you continue to walk around it…. Now you come back to where you were when you started…. As you walked around the house, you noticed a way to get in. Now go into the house…. What do you see?…. Explore the house, what’s inside?…. As you were exploring, you noticed a secret door leading to a secret room. Go inside that room. What do you see?…. Now leave the secret room and go back into the main part of the house…. Now leave the house. As you are walking away from it, you look back at it one more time…. You are back on the road once again, walking.

After completing the imagery exercise, write down what you saw in your imagination.

Upon completion, when in a group situation, we discuss how the various characteristics of the house may say something about their own personality – similar to dream interpretation. We pay attention to such details as to how the house appears on the inside as opposed to the outside, what can and cannot be found inside the house, how one gets into the house, what’s inside the “secret” room, colours, textures, how space is experienced, etc. All of these details may have symbolic significance.

When shared in a group ask other participants to help you flesh out detail by asking questions. The feedback provided by other students is invariably eye-opening. In fact, I am always impressed by how insightful some very young students can be.

Students often are amazed at what the imagined house says about them.

This exercise also works well for exploring the identity/personality of a small group. After someone leads the group through this imagery scene, the group members discuss what they each visualized. Based on that discussion, the group together then visually “constructs” one house that seems to capture the personality of the group and all of its members. Comparing the houses created by different groups can result in some fascinating insights into the unique personality of each group.


Source: Suler, J. (May, 1999). The Imagined House



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