Authentic Informed Consent Form for Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT, Electroshock)

A very informative article by John Breeding, Ph.D., that was published in Journal of Humanistic Psychology, a few years ago. It provides a very good description of the treatment itself and its effects – especially those that are denied or minimized by the psychiatric establishment. But what’s really great about this article (actually, it’s a book chapter) is the authentic informed consent form for ECT that he includes toward the end:

Genuine informed consent for electroshock is nonexistent because electroshock psychiatrists deny or minimize its harmful effects. For example, the American Psychiatric Association officially states, “In light of the available evidence, brain damage need not be included [in the consent form] as a potential risk.” (6) In addition, in all but one state ECT may be legally forced upon nonconsenting individuals who are said to be or are adjudicated mentally unqualified to give their consent.

There are many ways in which informed consent is violated. First, there is denial and minimization of harmful effects. The official APA literature and the typical hospital brochure are both travesties of truth. …pragmatically crucial, is that people become victims of this so-called “treatment” at a time in life when they are extremely vulnerable. At vulnerable times, people desperately need to trust and rely on others for help. Reaching out, they need complete safety and support. Their only hope, in this desperate state, is to trust the wisdom and guidance of the professionals to whom they turn for help. Informed consent is a superlative principle; it is not a protection in these conditions.

Breeding provides authentic information about electroconvulsive treatment, scrupulously annotated with references to published research, about the long term effects, and lack of efficacy of electroshock. Vital reading for anyone who is being encouraged to undergo ECT.

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