Background. The objective of this study was to test a
guided imagery therapy designed to enhance
self-comforting in bulimia nervosa.
Methods. A randomized controlled trial compared 6 weeks of
individual guided imagery therapy
with a control group. Fifty participants who met DSM-III-R criteria for
bulimia nervosa completed
the study. Measures of eating disorder symptoms, psychological functioning
and the experience of
guided imagery therapy were administered.
Results. The guided imagery treatment had substantial effects
on the reduction of bingeing and
purging episodes; the imagery group had a mean reduction of binges of 74%
and of vomiting of
73%. The imagery treatment also demonstrated improvement on measures of
eating, dieting and body weight in comparison to the control group. In
addition, the guided imagery
demonstrated improvement on psychological measures of aloneness and the
ability for self-comforting.
Conclusions. Evidence from this study suggests that guided
imagery was an effective treatment for
bulimia nervosa, at least in the short-term.