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A randomized controlled trial of guided imagery in bulimia nervosa.

15 Aug
A randomized controlled trial compared a group of bulimic patients receiving 6 weeks of individual guided imagery therapy with a control group receiving standard care. Fifty participants who met the criteria for bulimia nervosa completed the study. Measures of eating disorder symptoms, psychological functioning and the response to the guided imagery experience were used. The guided imagery treatment substantially reduced bingeing and purging episodes; the imagery group had a 74% mean reduction of bingeing and a 73% reduction of vomiting. The imagery treatment also demonstrated improvement in attitudes about eating, dieting and body weight in comparison to the control group. In addition, the guided imagery group demonstrated improvement on psychological measures of aloneness and the ability for self-comforting. The study concludes that guided imagery is an effective treatment for bulimia nervosa, at least in the short-term.

Citation: Esplen MJ, Garfinkel PE, Olmsted M, Gallop RM, Kennedy S. A randomized controlled trial of guided imagery in bulimia nervosa.Psychol Med 1998 Nov;28(6):1347-57.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award