Can imagination change upsetting memories of trauma?
: Imagery-interactive interventions for people with psychosis. A systematic review

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Clinical Psychology


Cognitive-behavioural theories propose that appraisals of imagery can contribute to the distress and disability associated with psychosis (Hardy, 2017; Holmes & Mathews, 2010; Morrison, 2004; Steel, 2015). Psychological interventions using imagery are potentially more effective at eliciting beliefs and emotional processes than verbal interventions (Holmes & Mathews, 2005), therefore suggesting a need for imagery-interactive interventions in people with psychosis. This is the first systematic review to investigate the acceptability, safety and impact of imagery-interactive interventions on mental health outcomes in people with psychosis. Five electronic databases were searched up to April 2018; Embase, Medline, PsycINFO, Pubmed & Web of Science. A total of 6,195 citations were screened and 10 studies were identified that met inclusion criteria. All ten studies reported that imagery-interactive interventions were acceptable and safe to participants with psychosis. Eight studies reported a positive impact of imagery-interactive interventions on mental health outcomes. However, interpretation of these findings is restricted by the small number of identified studies, and their methodological variability and quality. In particular, the variability in outcomes measured and methods of measurement limit the comparisons that can be drawn between studies. This review identifies a need for high quality research into imagery-interactive interventions in people with psychosis.
Date of Award1 Oct 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorAmy Hardy (Supervisor) & Rebecca E. Kelly (Supervisor)

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