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Title: Remote compassionate imagery intervention for mental contamination : a feasibility study
Author: Harvey, Rebecca E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7972 3542
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2019
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Background: Mental Contamination (MC) is a phenomenon where the sufferer experiences a sense of internal dirtiness without the presence of a physical contaminant. MC is accompanied by anxiety and self-conscious emotions such shame and guilt. Internally generated events such as unacceptable intrusive thoughts can evoke MC. Interventions for MC are in their infancy and adhere to more traditional treatment models such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Compassion-based imagery interventions are evidenced to reduce shame and the closely related concept self-criticism. Objective: The aim of the current study was to explore the feasibility of a two-week compassionate imagery intervention to reduce MC associated with intrusive thoughts in a non-clinical population. Design: a one group mixed methods feasibility study design was employed. Participants (N=34) engaged in a two-week compassionate imagery course. Measures of MC associated with intrusive thoughts and other related variables were taken pre and post intervention. Qualitative data was collected from an open-ended participant experience questionnaire. Results: the intervention was deemed acceptable and feasible due to reasonable uptake, adherence and attrition rates, as well as positive participant feedback. Significant reductions were seen for intrusive thought-related MC, general propensity to experience MC, beliefs about controlling intrusions, fear of compassion, and self-criticism. Additionally, self-reassurance significantly increased. Implications: a brief self-directed online compassionate imagery intervention is feasible and effective at reducing MC evoked by intrusive thoughts in a non-clinical population. Future research should employ a randomised control trial design to further explore the suitability and effectiveness of compassion-based imagery interventions for MC in clinical and non-clinical groups.
Supervisor: Simonds, Laura ; Moulton-Perkins, Alesia ; Perman, Gemma Sponsor: University of Surrey
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral