The structure of the lived experience for persons having undergone rTMS for depression treatment

Mary Rosedale, Sarah H. Lisanby, Dolores Malaspina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


OBJECTIVE: This phenomenological research study reports preliminary findings about experiences of persons undergoing repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for depression treatment. METHODS: Giorgi's phenomenology was the method used to describe the structure of the lived experience for persons having undergone rTMS treatment for depression. Participants were recruited from the OPT-TMS pivotal depression study that resulted in the October 2008 FDA approval of rTMS. Thus far, nine persons comprise the purposive sample. Each participant was asked to describe the experience of undergoing rTMS for depression treatment and encouraged to provide as much details as possible. RESULTS: Four preliminary themes emerged to describe participants' experiences of rTMS for depression treatment: (a) a narrative of frustration and helplessness with medication treatment resistance, (b) the sensory experience of rTMS, (c) mindfulness- an enhanced awareness of the content of consciousness, and (d) the importance of connection with clinicians. CONCLUSIONS: Preliminary results of this phenomenological study make the struggle of persons with treatment-resistant depression more visible and should assist clinicians to understand how rTMS is experienced by depressed persons undergoing treatment. Moreover, results shed new light on the changes participants observe and describe with rTMS and the high value they place on a therapeutic relationship with clinicians administering treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-337
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 27 2009



  • Depression
  • Research design and methodology
  • Treatment assessment and planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health

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