Seishin Shinkeigaku Zasshi. 2005;107(7):641-66.

[Intensive Naikan therapy for generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder: clinical outcomes and background].

[Article in Japanese]



Intensive Naikan therapy (INT) is used to treat irrational recognition, and to develop awareness of others and self-reflection. Several reports have also shown that INT is effective for treating anxiety disorders. The purpose of the present systematic study was to investigate the factors contributing to the efficacy and clinical outcomes of INT by assessing the background, psychological evolution, and treatment required after such therapy.


Twenty-eight anxiety disorder inpatients at Tottori University Hospital, 15 with general anxiety disorders (GAD) and 13 with panic disorders (PD), were treated with INT. Age, sex, duration of the present anxiety episode, and diagnosis were investigated. The Tokyo University Egogram (TEG), Yatabe-Guilford personality inventory (YG test) and Rosenzweig picture frustration (PF) study were conducted before and after INT to investigate psychological changes. The long-term efficacy of INT for PD and GAD was assessed with Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF). Whether the patients achieved awareness of others, awareness of egocentricity, feelings of love, and self reflection after INT were investigated.


1) All patients showed improved GAF; the average GAF score increased from 51 +/- 8 (before Naikan therapy) to 83.2 +/- 15 (after therapy). The clinical outcomes of INT were as follows: 17 patients showed extremely effective results (60.7%), 6 were effective (21.4%), 3 were slightly effective (10.7%), and 2 were unchanged (7.1%). Overall, 23 patients (82.1%) showed remarkable improvements as a result of INT (improved group) and 5 showed no remarkable improvements (not improved group). 2) The improved group included significantly more patients with obsessive tendencies or nervous personalities such as a premorbid personality. In addition, significantly more of the patients in this group underwent daily INT and improved more rapidly in the short-term. 3) According to the STAI (state trait anxiety inventory), both state-(S-anxiety), and trait-anxiety (T-anxiety) significantly decreased after INT. The PD group showed significantly reduced S and T-anxiety, but the GAD group only showed significantly reduced T-anxiety. The adult (A) and free child (FC) TEG scales significantly increased, and according to YG, nervousness (N) and depression (D) significantly decreased while general activity (G) and social extraversion (S) significantly increased. Furthermore, according to the PF study, extraggression (E -A) after INT significantly decreased and imaggression (I-A) significantly increased. In the improved group, significantly more patients became more aware of their partners (Naikan) and achieved an objective outlook, awareness of egocentricity, feelings of love and self-reflection after INT.


Our results suggest that INT for PD and GAD is extremely effective, and a very important form of psychotherapy. Attainment of self-reflection caused psychological changes that motivated the patients to continue Naikan therapy daily. We consider this a key factor in maintaining the efficacy of INT.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]