Theses Doctoral

The Best Self Visualization Method: Clinical Implications and Physiological Correlates

Schussel, Lorne

The focus of this study was to evaluate the psychological and psychosocial factors of a novel and composite meditation–visualization practice known as the best self visualization method (BSM). The researcher adapted and modified the BSM to work within a brief 2-week, two-session intervention period. The aim of the study was to evaluate the effects on psychopathology (GAD, PHQ), resilience (PHQ, GAD, Gratitude, Compassion, DSES, Trust, Personal Growth, Mindfulness, and Social Connection), and bio-physiological changes related to EEG spectral power, coherence, and heart rate variability (BPM-Coherence). A total of 66 participants were randomized into active meditation control (n = 35) and BSM (n = 31) intervention groups. Data analysis revealed significant effects for GAD in favor of BSM psychopathology attenuation (U = 316.5, z = -1.62, p ≤ .05) as well as for the PHQ (U = 321.5, z = -1.54, p = .06). Individual t tests revealed a much more robust effect. There were no significant differences for the other scales measured except for interpersonal trust, which had a stronger effect for the BSM group, t(23) = -1.90, p = .04. For EEG and HRV data, results showed the BSM elicited significant changes in parietal gamma spectral power (F[2, 15] = 6.34, p = .010), parietal alpha blocking (F[1, 15] = 5.14, p = .039), and heart rate coherence achievement (t[28] = 1.97, p = .03), as well as demonstrated a heart rate increase trend. Paradoxically, the BSM’s bio-physiological profile was more “activating” when compared to the control, indicating psychopathology attenuation was not related necessarily to a relaxation response.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Clinical Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Miller, Lisa J.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 18, 2018