The Effect of Counseling on Stigma in Psychiatric Patients Receiving Electroconvulsive Therapy: A Clinical Trial Study

Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2019 Dec 6;15:3419-3427. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S233094. eCollection 2019.


Purpose: Despite its efficacy and safety, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is underutilized, in part, due to the stigma associated with the treatment. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of counseling on stigma in patients with psychiatric disorders receiving ECT.

Patients and methods: A total of 114 patients with psychiatric disorders undergoing ECT were randomly divided into two groups. Both the groups received routine care and treatment, but the intervention group (n=57) received four counseling sessions. At the beginning and end of the study (6 weeks, post-treatment), patients completed the Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness scale. The data were analyzed using independent and paired sample t-tests.

Results: There was no significant difference in the mean stigma scores of participants in the control and intervention groups before counseling (P>0.08). However, post-intervention, there was a significant difference in the mean stigma scores between both the groups (P<0.001).

Conclusion: The findings demonstrate that the counseling intervention is effective in decreasing stigma in patients undergoing ECT. Therefore, it is recommended to use this therapeutic method in such patients.

Keywords: counseling; electroconvulsive therapy; mental illness; stigma.