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J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2013 Dec;44(4):351-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2013.03.001. Epub 2013 Mar 15.

The efficacy of imagery rescripting (IR) for social phobia: a randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Korea University, 5, Anam-Dong, Sungbuk-Gu, Seoul 136-701, South Korea.



There is a need for brief effective treatment of social phobia and Imagery Rescripting (IR) is a potential candidate. The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of IR preceded by cognitive restructuring as a stand-alone brief treatment using a randomized controlled design.


Twenty-three individuals with social phobia were randomly assigned to an IR group or to a control group. Participants in the IR group were provided with one session of imagery interviewing and two sessions of cognitive restructuring and Imagery Rescripting. Those in the control group had one session of clinical interviewing and two sessions of supportive therapy. Outcome measures including the Korean version of the social avoidance and distress scale (K-SADS) were administered before and after treatment, and at three-month follow-up. The short version of the Questionnaire upon Mental Imagery and the Traumatic Experience Scale were also administered before treatment.


Participants in the IR group improved significantly on K-SADS and other outcome measures, compared to the control group. The beneficial effects of IR were maintained at three-month follow-up. It was also found that mental imagery ability and the severity of the traumatic experience did not moderate the outcome of IR.


Further studies are needed to replicate the findings of our study using a large sample.


The efficacy of IR as a stand-alone brief treatment was demonstrated for social phobia. The findings indicate that IR could be utilized as a cost-effective intervention for social phobia.


Cognitive-restructuring; Imagery Rescripting; Self-image; Social phobia; Traumatic memory

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