Teaching basic relaxation procedures to psychiatric patients receiving electronconvulsive therapy : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University

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Massey University
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There has been no research on psychiatric patients examining the ability to remember relaxation skills whilst receiving electroconvulsive therapy. This thesis addressed itself to the question of whether the patients could remember the relaxation procedures that were taught immediately before, during, or immediately after the ECT series. Fourteen patients were assigned to three different groups. The first group received the relaxation training (RT) prior to beginning the ECT series, the second group received the RT during the ECT series and the third group received the RT immediately after the ECT series. Assessment was made of the verbal instructions taught to the patients using a checklist devised by the author. Comparisons were made between patients on their performance according to several different independent variables, diagnosis, frequency of ECT, response to treatment and order of presentation effects. Eleven of the fourteen subjects learnt the RT procedures within three training sessions. The remaining subjects failed to learn the RT procedures in six sessions but this study did not confirm that ECT was a precipitant in their failure to learn. No significant effect was associated with diagnosis, frequency of ECT or response to treatment. It was concluded that it is possible to teach RT procedures to the majority of psychiatric patients at the institution where this study was completed. This study produced no evidence to suggest that it is preferable to teach RT to patients at any particular point in ECT treatment sequence and in addition there was no evidence of any anterograde or retrograde amnesic effects associated with ECT sufficient to interfere with the learning of verbal instructions associated with RT.
Relaxation, Electroconvulsive therapy, Psychiatric hospital patients