Use of GIM to Nurture Self-compassion in a Mental Health Nurse: A Case Study

Wei Wah Angela Shum


Introduction: Research has found that nurses frequently report experiencing burnout and compassion fatigue. It is unclear how many nurses practice self-care skills to deal with these potential problems. Mindfulness-based interventions have been found to promote self-compassion in other contexts. This case study tested the effectiveness of a music psychotherapy technique, the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM), to nurture self-compassion and promote psychological well-being in nurses. Method: A series of GIM sessions was given to a mental health nurse. She received 21 GIM sessions over a 1-year period. To assess the effects of the GIM sessions, I analyzed transcripts from selected sessions, the mandala images created during sessions, scores from Neff’s Self-Compassion Scale (SCS) at different times during the intervention, and the transcripts of the post-intervention interview. Results: The GIM intervention resulted in a 26% increase in the SCS score for self-compassion and positive qualitative changes in reported feelings and behaviors. Discussion: The results suggest that GIM can be an effective intervention to nurture self-compassion and enhance psychological well-being of nurses struggling with burnout and compassion fatigue. If further research confirms that GIM reliably enhances nurses’ resilience, it could be used to retain nurses in the profession. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)