Understanding patient perceptions following a psycho-educational intervention for psychogenic non-epileptic seizures

Epilepsy Behav. 2012 Apr;23(4):487-93. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2011.12.002. Epub 2012 Mar 2.


This study formed part of an evaluation of a brief educational intervention for patients with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES). The sessions provide information, seizure control techniques and management planning. The qualitative component of the research reported here aimed to provide insight into the participants' perceptions following the intervention. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with twelve patients. Interviews were tape-recorded, transcribed and analyzed, using principles of thematic analysis. Six key themes were identified: getting answers; understanding the link with emotions; seeking a physiological explanation; doubting the diagnosis; the role of medication; and finding a way forward. The findings highlight considerable individual variation in response, with evidence of changed perceptions or enhanced understanding in some patients while others continued to seek answers or explanations about the cause of their seizures. There were no clear links between reported improved understanding or acceptance of the diagnosis and a perceived improvement in the condition.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Comprehension*
  • Conversion Disorder / etiology
  • Conversion Disorder / psychology*
  • Conversion Disorder / rehabilitation*
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception / physiology*
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / complications
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Seizures / complications
  • Seizures / psychology*
  • Seizures / rehabilitation*
  • Young Adult