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Exploring the Role of Mental Imagery in the Experience of Self-injury: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 January 2015

Peter Dargan
Affiliation:
North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, Stoke-on-Trent, UK
Graeme Reid
Affiliation:
Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, Wigan, UK
Suzanne Hodge
Affiliation:
Lancaster University, UK
Corresponding

Abstract

Background: Research has implicated causal, mediating and meaningful roles for mental imagery in the experience of psychological distress, including self-injury. Aims: The present study aimed to further the understanding of this relationship through exploring the lived experiences of mental imagery from the perspective of those who self-injure. Method: This study employed an inductive qualitative design using semi-structured interviews and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Ten participants were recruited from universities in North West England. Results: Three main themes were identified from the analysis: (i) The origins and precipitants of self-injurious imagery; (ii) What it is like to experience self-injurious imagery; and (iii) The meaning and interpretation of self-injurious imagery. Conclusions: The study findings indicate that mental imagery is an important experience for those who self-injure. Clinical and research implications of the findings are discussed.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies 2015 

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