Researchers from New York University, Boston University, the Boston VA Hospital and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research examined the effectiveness of psychotherapies for PTSD in military and veteran populations. First-line psychotherapies most often recommended for PTSD consist mainly of "trauma-focused" psychotherapies that involve focusing on details of the trauma or associated cognitive and emotional effects.
The investigators searched PubMed, PsycINFO, and PILOTS for randomized clinical trials (RCTs) of individual and group psychotherapies for PTSD in military personnel and veterans, published from January 1980 to March 1, 2015.
They also searched reference lists of articles, selected reviews, and meta-analyses. Of 891 publications initially identified, 36 were included.
British researchers from the University of Dundee, UK, conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the appeal and the effectiveness of internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for kids diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
A systematic search of 7 electronic databases was conducted to assess CBT intervention for children with anxiety problems with remote delivery either entirely or partly via technology, yielding 6 articles altogether, reporting on 7 studies.
The findings suggested that web based CBT programs were well received by children and their families, and efficacy was almost as favorable as clinic-based CBT.
Investigators from West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV, conducted a systematic review of RCTs that have examined the effects of guided imagery on pain, function, and other outcomes such as anxiety, depression, and quality of life in adults with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases or AORD.
Ten electronic bibliographic databases were searched for reports of RCTs published between 1960 and 2013. Selection criteria included adults with AORD who participated in RCTs that used guided imagery as a partial or sole intervention strategy.
Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias Assessment Instrument. Results were synthesized qualitatively.
Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry,Psychology and Neuroscience at King's College in London, UK and Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany, conducted a pilot study to compare the impact of mindfulness meditation vs. guided imagery in improving symptoms and self-regulatory capacities for acutely depressed patients.
Participants were randomized to a brief training in mindfulness (n = 19) or guided imagery relaxation (n = 18) in a single session, and then instructed to practice daily for one week.
The investigators collected self-reported measures of the severity of symptoms, difficulties in emotion-regulation, capability for attentional control, ability to open up thinking beyond a narrow focus (de-center), and mindfulness capacity. Data was collected pre- and post-intervention, and at a one-week follow-up.
In a small pilot study, Israeli researchers from Tel Aviv University and Bar-Ilan University examined the impact of guided imagery on Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS.
A total of 15 irritable bowel syndrome patients received guided affective imagery and 19 patients served as controls. Symptom severity and irritable bowel syndrome quality of life were measured at baseline and at 8 weeks.
Findings revealed that IBS symptom severity decreased in the guided affective imagery group, as compared with the controls (-1.5 ± 1.9 vs 0.1 ± 1.6, p = 0.04).
Researchers from the University of California at San Diego examined whether mindfulness training can improve resilience in active duty Marines preparing for deployment.
Eight Marine infantry platoons (N=281) were randomly selected. Four platoons were assigned to receive mindfulness training (N=147) and four were assigned to a training-as-usual control condition (N=134).
Platoons were assessed at baseline, 8 weeks after baseline, and during and after a stressful combat training session approximately 9 weeks after baseline.
The mindfulness training condition was delivered in the form of 8 weeks of Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness Training (MMFT), a program comprising 20 hours of classroom instruction plus daily homework exercises.
Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine reported on the long-term effects of a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
Of the study participants, 73% returned to the clinic for a single-session follow-up assessment of depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and mindfulness after 2.5 years.
Repeated measures mixed regression analyses revealed significant long-term improvements in depression, PTSD, anxiety symptoms, and mindfulness scores. The magnitude of intervention effects at 128 weeks ranged from d = .5 to d = 1.1.
The investigators conclude that MBSR may be an effective long-term treatment for adults who have experienced childhood sexual abuse. Further investigation of MBSR with this population is warranted, given the durability of treatment effects described here.
Citation: Earley MD1, Chesney MA, Frye J, Greene PA, Berman B, Kimbrough E. Mindfulness intervention for child abuse survivors: a 2.5-year follow-up. Journal of Clinical Psychology. 2014 Oct;70 (10):pages 933-41. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22102. Epub 2014 May 20.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin's School of Nursing performed a systematic review of the efficacy of relaxation, meditation and guided imagery on symptom management for heart failure, such as pain, dyspnea, fatigue, and sleep disruption.
Data bases such as CINAHL, Medline, and PsychINFO were searched from inception through December 2014. Articles were selected for inclusion if they tested a cognitive-behavioral (mind-body) strategy using a quasi-experimental or experimental design, involved a sample of adults with heart failure, and measured pain, dyspnea, fatigue, sleep disturbance, or symptom-related quality of life.
Thirteen articles describing 9 unique studies met the criteria and were included in the review. Five studies tested relaxation strategies, 3 tested meditation strategies, and 1 tested a guided imagery strategy.
In the great tradition of Aussie online mental health services, researchers from the University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital performed a comparative evaluation of two online programs, hosted on a single website (www.moodswings.net.au), to help treat bipolar illness.
A basic version, called MoodSwings (MS), containing psycho-education material and asynchronous discussion boards was compared to a more interactive program, MoodSwings Plus (MS-Plus), combining the basic psycho-education material and discussion boards with elements of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. These programs were evaluated in a head-to-head study design.
Participants with Bipolar I or II disorder (n=156) were randomized to receive either MoodSwings or MoodSwings-Plus. Outcomes included mood symptoms, the occurrence of relapse, functionality, locus of control, social support, quality of life and medication adherence.
Researchers from Mind Matters Research in Anchorage, Alaska, conducted a multi-site randomized trial to evaluate the impact on quality of life (QOL) benefits of an imagery-based group intervention titled 'Envision the Rhythms of Life'(ERL).
Breast cancer survivors more than 6 weeks post-treatment were randomized to attend either five weekly, 4-hour group sessions at a community center with therapist present (live delivery (LD), n = 48), or with the therapist streamed via telemedicine (telemedicine delivery (TD), n = 23), or to a waitlist control (WL) group (n = 47).
Weekly individual phone calls to encourage at-home practice began at session one and continued until the 3-month follow-up.
Seven self-report measures of QOL were examined at baseline, 1-month and 3-month post-treatment times, including health-related and breast cancer-specific QOL, fatigue, cognitive function, spirituality, distress, and sleep.