Guided Imagery and Meditation Blog | Health Journeys

You are here: Home Anxiety Anxiety, Panic, Phobias
17 May

Cognitive-behavioral therapy for the treatment of anxiety disorders.
17 May

Four new studies show that Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is a first-line treatment for panic and anxiety disorders; that it is extremely and long-lastingly effective for children and adolescents; and very effective for older adults, too..

A review article from the Mass. General/Harvard Medical School reports that Cogntive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is currently considered a first-line treatment for panic disorder, as well as a strategy for those who do not respond to medication, and a replacement for those who want to discontinue medication. A short-term intervention, it generally consists of 12-15 sessions of either individual or group therapy. The treatment focuses on helping patients learn about the nature of the disorder and acquire a set of strategies (including relaxation, imagery and other self-regulation skills) that counter the fears of panic attacks themselves, and break the recurring cycle of anticipatory anxiety, panic, and agoraphobic avoidance.

Citation: Rayburn NR, Otto MW.Cognitive-behavioral therapy for panic disorder: a review of treatment elements, strategies, and outcomes. CNS Spectrum. 2003 May;8 (5):pp. 356-62. 

19 Apr

In a randomized, controlled, clinical trial, researchers at Stanford University explored the efficacy of treating panic disorder with biofeedback focused on their breathing patterns. Because sustained hypocapnia resulting from hyperventilation is believed to be a key mechanism in producing and maintaining panic states, this intervention was designed to interrupt the cycle and allow panic to subside.

Subjects were taught to access respiratory biofeedback from a handheld capnometry device in a brief, 4-week training, aimed at voluntarily increasing self-monitored end-tidal partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2) and reducing respiratory rate and instability through breathing exercises in patients'' environment.
09 Feb

In keeping with Australian enthusiasm for cyber-interventions in the mental health realm (must be all those wide open spaces between mental health centers), researchers at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, compared 3 ways of delivering cognitive-behavioral therapy (the treatment of choice) to people suffering from panic disorder.

Building on previous research that found that a brief computer-augmented CBT was as effective as extended therapist-delivered CBT, this study randomly allocated 186 patients with panic disorder (PD) across 2 sites in Scotland and Australia, to 12 sessions of therapist-delivered CBT (CBT12); or 6 sessions of therapist-delivered (CBT6); or computer-augmented CBT (CBT6-CA); or a waitlist control.
17 Nov

Swedish researchers find that both relaxation and cognitive therapy are extremely effective for treating generalized anxiety disorder, and results from relaxation get even better after a year

In a randomized, clinical trial, researchers from the Department of Psychology at Stockholm University, Sweden, investigated the efficacy of applied relaxation (AR) and cognitive therapy (CT), in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder.

15 Aug

Henry Dreher''s superb summary of research with mind-body interventions for surgery appears in the Fetzer Institute''s Advances in Mind-Body Medicine, Vol 14, no.3, Summer 1998, pp. 207-222. His discussion of Henry Bennett''s placebo controlled, double blinded research with 4 audio interventions on 335 surgery patients establishes that the Health Journeys tape for Surgery was the only tape that offered statistically significant results. The study yielded profound results on the reduction blood loss, length of hospital stay and anxiety levels, both state (the fluctuating kind) and trait anxiety (which presumably doesn''t change, because it is seen as a relatively stable personality feature). In fact, the Naparstek guided imagery tape was so potent, that Dreher devotes a whole section of this article to trying to figure out why it outperformed all the others.

Citation: Dreher H. Mind-body interventions for surgery: evidence and exigency. Advances In Mind Body Medicine 1998;14:207-222.

15 Aug

W J Hamel explored the effects of music therapy on the anxiety levels, heart rate and blood pressure of patients waiting for their scheduled cardiac catheterization. 101 (63 men and 38 women) patients were randomly assigned to listen to 20 minutes of pre-selected music or to a standard care control group. Measurements were taken during the waiting period and just prior to departure for the lab. The intervention group had a significant reduction in anxiety (p = 0.003) and when compared to the controls (p = 0.004). Where the heart rate and systolic blood pressure dropped in the music therapy group, it increased in the control group. This held up whether the patient was male or female, but the men as a group had higher diastolic scores than the women, and the women had higher anxiety scores than the men.

Citation: Hamel, WJ, The Effects of Music Intervention on Anxiety in the Patient Waiting for Cardiac Catheterization, Intensive Critical Care Nursing, 2001 Oct; 17 (5): pp. 279-85.

15 Aug

The good news: A new survey of the research on music and healing was recently published by Myskja and Lindbaek at the University of Oslo. The bad news: it’s in Norwegian. But the English abstract is available in PubMed.

Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen 2000 Apr 10;120(10):1186-90 draws tentative conclusions about music’s efficacy for treating anxiety and depression, and improving function in schizophrenia and autism; its utility for pain, reducing the need for medication aqnd helping during uncomfortable diagnostic procedures; its usefulness as a support tool during pregnancy and gestation, in internal medicine, oncology, paediatrics and other related fields; with geriatric patients, alleviating symptoms in stroke rehabilitation, Parkinson''s disease, Alzheimer''s disease and other forms of dementia; and its supportive role in palliative medicine and terminal care.

The article concludes that music as a therapeutic agent, and music with guided imagery, is well tolerated, inexpensive, and delivers good compliance with few side effects.

Citation: Myskja A, Lindbaek M. How does music affect the human body? Examples of the use of music in clinical medicine. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2000 Apr 10(10):1182-5, 1186-90.
01 Jun

A 24-year-old with the talent and ambition to be a professional singer struggled with performance anxiety until a personal coach taught him a little "imagery rehearsal therapy" to get him past his fear..
20 Mar

A relieved father tells how his 8-year-old son, suffering from bouts of anxiety, uses Mary Sise’s guided acupoint tapping exercises to stomp out this unpleasantness from his otherwise happy life..