Effects of guided imagery and music (GIM) therapy on mood and cortisol in healthy adults

Health Psychol. 1997 Jul;16(4):390-400. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.16.4.390.


Healthy adults (N = 28) participated in a randomized trial of Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM; a depth approach to music psychotherapy) sessions on mood and cortisol. Participants in both GIM and wait-list control conditions completed the Profile of Mood States (POMS) and donated 15 cc of blood before and after the 13-week intervention period and again at a 6-week follow-up. Split-plot factorial and post hoc analyses demonstrated that after 6 biweekly sessions GIM participants reported significant decreases between pre- and postsession depression, fatigue, and total mood disturbance and had significant decreases in cortisol level by follow-up. Pretest to follow-up decrease in cortisol was significantly associated with decrease in mood disturbance. A short series of GIM sessions may positively affect mood and reduce cortisol levels in healthy adults. Such changes in hormonal regulation may have health implications for chronically stressed people.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Depression / blood
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood*
  • Imagery, Psychotherapy*
  • Male
  • Music Therapy*
  • Reference Values
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Hydrocortisone