Effectiveness of gestalt therapy, behavioral activation and placebo on symptoms of anxiety in women suffering multiple sclerosis: A randomized controlled trial

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Clinical Psychology, Roudehen Branch, Islamic Azad University, Roudehen, Iran.

2 Department of Neurology, school of medicine,Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

3 Department of Clinical Psychology, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran.



Introduction: Recently, psychological therapies increasingly used as complementary treatment along with medication to help patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). This present study compared the effectiveness of gestalt therapy (GT) behavioral activation (BA) and placebo on the anxiety in women with MS.
Methods: This study was a clinical trial (pre/posttest with control group and 3-month follow-up).Using the inclusion criteria and implementation of Beck's anxiety inventory (BAI),60 women with MS who had an active case in MS clinic of Rasool Hospital in Tehran, were randomly blocked and assigned into four equal groups including 3 interventional groups and a control group. The psychotherapy groups were received GT and BA intervention for 8 weekly sessions. During this period, in the placebo group, capsules containing rice flour were used once a day. The control group was placed on the waiting list. Again, at the end of interventions, all of participants were retested with BAI and 3-month after the post-test, follow-up test was performed. Data was analyzed using SPSS25 and the repeated measures ANOVA and Bonferroni's post hoc test. P-value less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: The results showed GT and BA in comparison with placebo and control groups decreased anxiety mean scores in post-test and follow-up stages (p=0.001). GT and BA had no significant difference.
Conclusion: GT and BA are equally effective on anxiety reduction in women with MS. Placebo had no effect on reducing the anxiety of these women.