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

Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, February 2015

Graheme Reid, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at LCFT, and his colleagues have published a new paper in the journal Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy.

Exploring the Role of Mental Imagery in the Experience of Self-injury: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Peter Dargan, Graheme Reid and Suzanne Hodge

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.

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