The MGH Neurotherapeutics Program encompasses the clinical, research and training activities related to device-based treatments for psychiatric disorders.


Such modern and emerging therapies include: Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS), and functional neurosurgical procedures.

In addition to VNS, psychiatic neurosurgical treatments, offered in conjunction with the Departments of Neurosurgery and Neurology at MGH, include both ablative (lesion) procedures (such as, anterior cingulotomy, limbic leucotomy, and anterior capsulotomy, collectively termed "limbic system surgery [LSS]") and non-ablative methods using deep brain stimulation (DBS).

At this time, the principal indications for these types of device-based treatments include major mood disorders (as indications for ECT, VNS, LSS) and obsessive compulsive disorder (as an indication for LSS). It should be emphasized that, at this time, DBS remains an experimental treatment for both mood disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Of note, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) represents another emerging experimental device-based treatment for severe resistant psychiatric disorders.

The MGH Somatotherapies Unit provides assessment, treatment and follow-up in the context of ECT and VNS. The MGH Psychiatric Neurosurgical Committee reviews all cases referred for ablative procedures and DBS. Treatment and research with respect to these neurosurgical procedures is carried out in a coordinated fashion with oversight by the Psychiatric Neurotherapeutics Program and The Psychiatric Neurosurgical Committee.

Group Members

Program Director:

Darin Dougherty, MD MSc
Department of Psychiatry
Massachusetts General Hospital-East
149 Thirteenth Street, Room 2612
Charlestown, MA 02129
Tel: (617)-724-6143; Fax: (617)726-4078
Publications by Dr. Dougherty

Research Projects

MGH Somatotherapies Unit

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) - Michael E. Henry, MD, Director of ECT

  • For ECT referrals, please call 617-726-2990.

MGH Psychiatric Neurosurgery Unit

Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)
- Darin Dougherty, MD, Director of VNS


Ned Cassem, MD
Darin Dougherty, MD

Emad Eskandar, MD

Alice Flaherty, MD, PhD
Bruce Price, MD


Contact Us

Psychiatric Neurotherapeutics Program

Wang Ambulatory Center

15 Parkman St. Boston, MA 02114
  • Near Public Transit
  • Accessible

Valerie Giorgione
Coordinator, Psychiatric Neurosurgery Committee
Massachusetts General Hospital
15 Parkman St.
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 726-3407

Get directions & View Larger Map

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