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March 12, 2007

08 Mar
By our latest count, our guided imagery is now in 103 different V.A. hospitals, clinics and vet centers around the country.. . a far cry from the days when we couldn’t give the stuff away..
Hello again.

By our latest count, our guided imagery is now in 103 different V.A. hospitals, clinics and vet centers around the country.

Thanks to a very exciting feasibility study by Principle Investigator Jennifer Strauss at the Durham V.A./Duke Medical Center which found that guided imagery downloads significantly reduced PTSD symptoms in women vets suffering from military sexual trauma, a new, larger, randomized, placebo controlled study has been launched that further tests the imagery (a combination of our Relaxation & Wellness imagery and our Healing Trauma imagery; the control group listens to music), with a larger cohort of women, traumatized either by combat or sexual trauma .

There’s a lot that’s exciting about this study, which has been funded through VetHeal funds in the Dept of Defense. But what is most groundbreaking is the way outcomes will be assessed - not only with many standardized psychological measures, such as the gold standard Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) questionnaire and the PTSD Checklist (PCL), but with brain imaging through functional MRI’s and with some very fancy bloodwork that looks at neurosteroid markers - far more sophisticated measures of stress than the usual salivary or urinary cortisol.

The study was begun by the one and only Marian ("Mimi") Butterfield MD, a prolific, creative and gifted psychiatrist and researcher, much beloved and hugely respected, who very sadly died of breast cancer just a few months ago, after a long battle that she was winning up until the very end. (This was how we got together, in fact. She was using the Health Journeys Fight Cancer and Help with Chemotherapy imagery, which she found helpful, and she contacted me to thank me and ask if I’d be interested in getting some research done with guided imagery at Duke. My reply: ARE YOU KIDDING??) Luckily, the terrific post-doc Mimi mentored and trained, Jennifer Strauss, PhD, who did a great deal of the work on the proposal and is now on the faculty at Duke, has taken over the research and is doing a bang-up job.

The study is being funded through the Samueli Institute. Wayne Jonas MD, former head of the CAM office at the NIH, is the director of this terrific organization, which funds mind-body-spirit research in rigorous, scientific fashion around the country.

So, you’ll be hearing more about this second study as it comes along.

Take care and be well,

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