Biofeedback and Self-regulation

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 281–289 | Cite as

Biofeedback as an adjunct to psychotherapy in the treatment of vaginismus

  • James Barnes
  • Eimer Philbin Bowman
  • John Cullen


This exploratory study examines the use of biofeedback as an adjunct to psychotherapy in the treatment of vaginismus. A set of six Sims-type graded EMG probes was constructed to provide biofeedback from the vaginal sphincter and was tested on a pilot sample of nulliparous women prior to this study. Five sequential cases of vaginismus from a clinic waiting list participated in the program. All five couples completed the program and all reported successful intercourse at its conclusion. The number of sessions devoted to biofeedback probe insertion was almost halved in comparison to previous experience with Sims dilators. Overall treatment duration was not shortened. At follow-up 6 months later, two couples reported pregnancy, one couple was having regular intercourse, and two couples had ceased intercourse. The authors conclude that biofeedback is an effective aid to learning muscle control, is acceptable to patients, and may increase the success rate by minimizing dropouts. The importance of follow-up is stressed.

Descriptor Key Words

E.M.G. biofeedback vaginal sphincter vaginismus psychotherapy of vaginismus 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Barnes
    • 1
  • Eimer Philbin Bowman
    • 2
  • John Cullen
    • 3
  1. 1.Catholic Marriage Advisory CouncilDublin 8Ireland
  2. 2.Eastern Health BoardDublin
  3. 3.University CollegeDublin

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