THURSDAY, March 24, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Mentalizing imagery therapy (MIT) may aid family caregivers’ well-being more than support groups, according to a study published online March 14 in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.

Felipe A. Jain, M.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues assessed whether MIT for family caregivers (24 participants) would reduce depression symptoms, improve positive psychological traits, and aid brain circuitry related to cognitive control and emotional regulation more than a support group (22 participants).

The researchers found that MIT significantly outperformed support groups for improving depression, anxiety, mindfulness, self-compassion, and well-being, with moderate to large effect sizes. Participants in MIT showed significant increases in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) connectivity – exactly replicating pilot study results – but no change was observed in subgenual anterior cingulate cortex connectivity. There was a positive correlation seen between DLPFC connectivity change with mindfulness and a negative correlation with depression change.

“MIT teaches mindfulness and guided imagery skills to help caregivers better understand the mind of their loved one and how they are reacting to that person,” Jain said in a statement. “This therapy pushes the boundaries of how we think about ourselves and interact with others and incorporates new views on self and identity.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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