Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)/ Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Our Program

The Therapeutic Brain Stimulation Program offers therapeutic treatment for patients diagnosed with psychiatric disorders such as major depression, obsessive compulsive disorders, dementia, auditory hallucinations, and post traumatic stress disorder.

The Therapeutic Brain Stimulation Program offers the following brain stimulation procedures:

  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Program Treatment Team Bios

TMS Overview

The EVMS Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences is offering a new therapeutic treatment for patients diagnosed with major depression, obsessive compulsive disorders, dementia, auditory hallucinations, and post traumatic stress disorder.  The treatment, called Neurostar Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy ®, is safe and effective when completed as prescribed.

Eastern Virginia Medical School's unique position as Hampton Road's only academic medical center means patients receive high-quality care guided by the latest research.  Treatment plans are custom tailored to each patient's needs by EVMS Health Services clinicians and researchers trained and certified in the best practices of TMS Therapy ®, and a collaborative team of psychiatrists and psychologists monitors each patient.  TMS Therapy ® is an excellent option for those who have not had success with traditional psychiatric medications.

TMS is an outpatient procedure that does not keep patients from carrying on with their day-to-day lives. They can drive themselves to appointments, undergo treatment, and immediately return to normal activities.

TMS utilizes a highly focused magnetic field to target specific areas of the brain known to affect anxiety and depression. It does not affect other organs or bodily functions, and research has shown this pain-free, cutting-edge procedure to be as effective as medication for treating major depression, while causing fewer side effects.

TMS involves a series of sessions, typically given five times a week. Each session lasts between 30 minutes and an hour. The treatment team will determine the exact number of sessions based upon your initial evaluations. The TMS sessions will be performed in a specially equipped room.

In many cases, TMS benefits are maintained through medication and through subsequent TMS sessions, e.g., one session per month, bi-monthly sessions, or quarterly sessions. These maintenance sessions will be discussed with your physician and will be based on individual needs.

TMS Risks & Benefits | TMS Fees & Eligibility | TMS Links & FAQs |

ECT Overview

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) remains the gold standard of treatment for severe, medication-resistant depression. Recent advances in technology have improved the safety and tolerability of the procedure. ECT is used to treat mental illness via the application of a controlled electrical stimulus to the scalp which induces a brief generalized seizure in the brain. The therapy is administered in a hospital room, while the patient is under general anesthesia.

ECT is most commonly used to treat severe depression in patients unresponsive to other forms of treatment or in patients in whom it is dangerous to wait for medications to take effect. This therapy is highly effective as a depression treatment modality and is one of the fastest therapies to relieve symptoms. Less often, it is used to reverse symptoms of other mental illnesses, including:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Severe mania
  • Catonia
  • Treatment-resistant obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Tourette syndrome

ECT Risks & Benefits | ECT Fees & Eligibility | ECT Links & FAQs

Initial Evaluation

Patients are evaluated by a psychiatrist to determine ECT appropriateness or by both a psychiatrist and psychologist to determine TMS appropriateness. Initial evaluations are conducted over a 1 hour period with each clinician.

Contact Information

The Therapeutic Brain Stimulation Program at Eastern Virginia Medical School is under the direction of Dr. Paul Sayegh and Dr. Serina Neumann. If you have questions about these procedures, please feel free to call 757-446-5888. You will be given the opportunity to discuss in confidence any question you may have.  You may also email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.