They said you’re not trying hard enough…

A few weeks ago, an individual reached out to me with a story that struck a chord:

“I am currently seeing a therapist for the first time and tried to explain why ‘visualization’ doesn’t work for me. He looked at me like I was crazy.”

This isn’t an isolated incident. It’s a story I hear all too often, and it frustrates me every time.

As the first publicized case of aphantasia in 2015, I’ve been thinking about aphantasia for almost 10 years. We receive hundreds of emails each week from new discoverers, many in distress, and we do our best to respond. 

Aphantasia Network gets ~70k visitors per month, and we have just crossed 700k VVIQ surveys completed – making it the biggest dataset on visual imagery in the world. 

We’re collaborating with researchers at several universities worldwide, including in the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Hungary, Japan, and Australia. We’re pushing to understand how and why aphantasia is experienced, and how it impacts our life, work and well-being. As noted by Dr. Paolo Bartolomeo, a neuroscientist from the Paris Brain Institute, aphantasia gives us a new window into human consciousness

Hyperphantasia is just as interesting; its impacts on life, work and well-being may be just as profound. 

It’s important to note that aphantasia is not a disorder. Yet, for ~35% of aphantasics, its discovery can be a significant psychological stressor. Many of the emails I receive are from those who are experiencing psychological stress, and looking for support. 

We’ve heard many stories about counsellors using visualization in their practice, and telling aphants “you’re not trying hard enough” when the approach doesn’t resonate. Stories like that frustrate me! It’s alarming that aphants struggle to find the understanding and support they need.

We currently don’t have a method to identify locally qualified specialists or make referrals to therapists, counsellors or education consultants. ~4% of the population have aphantasia, so most major cities have a large number of individuals seeking support. 

To address the need for support, we created the Aphantasia Specialist Certification Program. This program is designed in collaboration with leading researchers and experts to provide:

  • Comprehensive training on the aphantasic experience
  • Access to the latest research and insights
  • Practical tools and materials to support clients effectively
  • A listing in our global specialist directory, connecting you with those seeking support

After completing the program, you’ll be recognized as a certified specialist equipped to make a real difference in the lives of individuals with aphantasia.

No longer with aphants seeking support hear: “You’re just not trying hard enough…”

If you’re interested in this new initiative, either as a professional or someone seeking support, please complete the form on this page. I’m open to your thoughts on this new initiative – please share your feedback with me directly.