Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures (PNES)

Image by Ross Bucher

Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) can take over your life. There are several theories and treatment approaches to working with PNES. Before starting this work, it will be helpful to have a workup with a neurologist to rule out other medical conditions. I think of these symptoms as a dysfunction of the nervous system. There are many ways our nervous system tries to communicate with us, and sometimes it sends PNES when other forms of communication have not worked. My approach to treating PNES is based in CBT and ACT, two evidence-based treatments for these conditions. This includes nervous system education, improving the mind-body connection, relaxation strategies, identifying and responding to “triggers”, communication with family and employers, improving participation in meaningful life activities, and cognitive strategies. Treatment for PNES is typically 10-14 visits.