Successful psychotherapy for psychogenic seizures in men.

Research paper by Maria Clare MC Quinn, Margot J MJ Schofield, Warwick W Middleton

Indexed on: 20 Jul '12Published on: 20 Jul '12Published in: Psychotherapy research : journal of the Society for Psychotherapy Research


This qualitative study examined factors contributing to the development and successful treatment of psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES), in civilian men. In-depth interviews were conducted with therapist-client dyads comprising two male clients who had been successfully treated for PNES and their therapists. A theory-building case study approach provided evidence that those factors known to contribute to PNES and other somatoform symptoms in females and in males engaged in war also contributed to these symptoms in these two civilian males. In addition, PNES in these civilian males occurred in contexts where masculine identity was developmentally curtailed and socially constrained. Successful treatments occurred in long-term therapeutic relationships that sanctioned verbal expression of strong emotion and provided the attunement necessary for development of a robust masculine identity. These findings have implications for the funding of therapy, and training of therapists.