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Surprise: Imagery Helps Severely Depressed Inpatients

09 Jan

Once again the dynamic duo research team of Apostolo and Kolcaba, at the Coimbra Nursing School in Coimbra, Portugal, examined the efficacy of a guided imagery intervention - this time for decreasing depression, anxiety and stress and increasing comfort in psychiatric inpatients with depressive disorders.

A quasi-experimental design sampled 60 short-term hospitalized depressive patients, selected consecutively. The experimental group listened to a guided imagery compact disk.
The Psychiatric Inpatients Comfort Scale and the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scales (DASS-21) were self-administered at two time points: prior to the intervention and 10 days later.  Comfort and DASS-21 were also assessed in the usual care group at these points in time.

Repeated measures revealed that the treatment group had significantly improved comfort and decreased depression, anxiety, and stress over time, as compared with the controls.
It is worth noting that this is one of a very few studies that examines the impact of imagery on severely depressed patients, and it is encouraging.

Citation:  Apóstolo JL, Kolcaba K. The effects of guided imagery on comfort, depression, anxiety, and stress of psychiatric inpatients with depressive disorders. Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 2009 Dec;23(6):403-11. Epub 2009 Mar 27. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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