In this randomized clinical trial, 3 cognitive behavioral coping techniques were compared for their efficacy for relieving fibromyalgia pain and anxiety symptoms: (1) an informational patient education program, (2) a general, pleasant guided imagery program and (3) an emotional support program to let the patients talk freely and emotionally about their fibromyalgia problems.

The study tested the post intervention effects of these 3 interventions 30 minutes afterward. A total of 58 fibromyalgia patients participated,  with 22 in the patient education group, 17 in the guided imagery group, and 19 in the emotional support talking group.

Visual analogue scale (VAS) results indicated that patient education and guided imagery reduced the patients' pain and anxiety levels, while the emotionally expressive talking neither decreased nor increased symptoms.

The investigators concluded that therapist-directed, supportive talking was not beneficial at reducing pain or anxiety symptoms for these fibromyalgia patients, even though they expressed relief during the time they were talking.

Citation; Fors, Egil, A.; Gotestam, K. Gunnar, 2000: Patient education, guided imagery and pain related talk in fibromyalgia coping. European Journal of Psychiatry 14 (4): pages 233-240.