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Placebo responses are automatic and unconscious and cannot be predicted based on conscious volition. Instead, they reflect complex interactions between the innate reward system of the nervous system and encoded procedural memories and imaginal fantasies. The placebo response contributes inextricably to virtually all therapeutic effects, varies in potency, and likely exhibits its own pathologies. The Placebo Response further considers that the critical elements required to provoke placebo responses overlap substantially with what most current psychotherapies consider to be therapeutic, i.e. an interpersonal dynamic rooted in concern, trust and empathy. The potential importance of training caregivers in how to optimize placebo responses is considered a crucial feature of both the art and science of care-giving.
This riveting narrative explores the world of placebos, hypnosis, false memories, and neurology to reveal the groundbreaking science of our suggestible minds. Could the secrets to personal health lie within our own brains? Journalist Erik Vance explores the surprising ways our expectations and beliefs influence our bodily responses to pain, disease, and everyday events. Drawing on centuries of research and interviews with leading experts in the field, Vance takes us on a fascinating adventure from Harvard’s research labs to a witch doctor’s office in Catemaco, Mexico, to an alternative medicine school near Beijing (often called “China’s Hogwarts”). Vance’s firsthand dispatches will change the way you think—and feel. Expectations, beliefs, and self-deception can actively change our bodies and minds. Vance builds a case for our “internal pharmacy”—the very real chemical reactions our brains produce when we think we are experiencing pain or healing, actual or perceived. Supporting this idea is centuries of placebo research in a range of forms, from sugar pills to shock waves; studies of alternative medicine techniques heralded and condemned in different parts of the world (think crystals and chakras); and most recently, major advances in brain mapping technology. Thanks to this technology, we're learning how we might leverage our suggestibility (or lack thereof) for personalized medicine, and Vance brings us to the front lines of such study.
Ritual scholars note that rituals have powerful psychological, social and even biological effects, but these findings have not yet been integrated into the practice of psychotherapy and psychiatry. In Healing Symbols in Psychotherapy Erik D. Goodwyn attempts to rectify this by reviewing the most pertinent work done in the area of ritual study and applying it to the practice of psychotherapy and psychiatry, providing a new framework with which to approach therapy. The book combines ritual study with depth psychology, placebo study, biogenetic structuralism and cognitive anthropology to create a model of interdisciplinary psychology. Goodwyn uses examples of rituals from history, folklore and cross-cultural study and uncovers the universal themes embedded within them as well as their psychological functions. As ritual scholars show time and again how Western culture and medicine is ‘ritually impoverished’ the application of ritual themes to therapy yields many new avenues for healing. The interdisciplinary model used here suggests new ways to approach problems with basic identity, complicated grief, anxiety, depression meaninglessness and a host of other problems encountered in clinical work. The interdisciplinary approach of this accessibly-written book will appeal to psychotherapists, psychiatrists and Jungian analysts as well as those in training and readers with an interest in the science behind ritual.
The role that the placebo effect plays in many treatments is clear: it not only plays a complimentary role in most treatments but it can sometimes be the only benefit of treatment. Brain imaging studies over the past decade have shown that placebo-treated patients undergo some of the same changes in brain activity as those treated with pharmacologically active substances. Yet this important component of healing is not yet harnessed in clinical settings. The Placebo Effect in Clinical Practice brings together what we know about the mechanisms behind the placebo response, as well as the procedures that promote these responses, in order to provide a focused, and concise, overview on how current knowledge can be applied in treatment settings. An introductory chapter documents the ubiquity and extent of the placebo response and discusses the history of the placebo response in relation to medical treatment. Several subsequent chapters focus on how placebos work and how the placebo effect can be enhanced. Expectation, conditioning and elements of the treatment situation are covered in separate chapters. The relationship between psychotherapy and placebo treatment is covered as is the ethics of deliberate use of the placebo effect. Because placebo effects are particularly prominent in some psychiatric conditions, particular attention is given to the role of the placebo response in psychiatric treatment. The final chapter summarizes what we currently know and offers concrete suggestions for how what we know of the placebo effect can be used to enhance the benefit of all treatments.
Can Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) find common ground? A distinguished historian of medicine, John S. Haller Jr., explores the epistemological foundations of EBM and the challenges these conceptual tools present for both conventional and alternative therapies. As he explores a possible reconciliation between their conflicting approaches, Haller maintains a healthy, scientific skepticism yet finds promise in select complementary and alternative (CAM) therapies. Haller elucidates recent research on the placebo effect and shows how a new engagement between EBM and CAM might lead to a more productive medical practice that includes both the objectivity of evidence-based medicine and the subjective truth of the physician-patient relationship. Haller's book tours key topics in the standoff between EBM and CAM: how and why the double blinded, randomized clinical trial (RCT) came to be considered the gold standard in modern medicine; the challenge of postmodern medicine as it counters the positivism of evidence-based medicine; and the politics of modern CAM and the rise of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. He conducts an in-depth case study of homeopathy, explaining why it has emerged as a poster-child for CAM, and assesses CAM's popularity despite its poor performance in clinical trials. Haller concludes with hope, showing how new experimental protocols might tease out the evidentiary basis for the placebo effect and establish a foundation for some reconciliation between EBM and CAM.
Explores reports of Christian pilgrimages to find miracle cures for illness at medieval, early modern, and contemporary shrines.
Overcome resistance and fully engage clients by bringing neuroscience into treatment Brain2Brain: Enacting Client Change Through the Persuasive Power of Neuroscience applies the popular topic of neuroscience in mental health to everyday practice, showing therapists how to teach their clients brain-based strategies for making changes and improving their lives. Cutting-edge findings in neuroscience are translated into language that clients will understand, and sidebars provide therapists more detailed information relating to particular disorders. With a holistic approach that incorporates mental, spiritual, and physical skills, knowledge, and exercises, this book provides a clear, complete resource for incorporating neuroscience into therapy. Case examples illustrate how the material can be used with different types of clients and situations, and sample dialogues and client handouts help therapists easily incorporate these techniques into their practice. Many clients forget that there is a biological basis for everything the brain does, and the ways that activity manifests everyday – good or bad, healthy or dysfunctional, the very core of human consciousness boils down to a series of electrical impulses. This book helps therapists bring neuroscience into therapy, to teach clients how to work with their brain's innate processes to reinforce progress and achieve healthier outcomes. Learn techniques for dealing with client resistance factors Discover phrases and memory aides that help clients apply what they've learned in therapy Facilitate higher client motivation to engage in the therapeutic process Teach clients about the brain's relevance to their particular problem Find tools for explaining the role of diet, exercise, and sleep in mental health When a client's treatment revolves around eliminating harmful thought patterns or behaviors, the therapeutic process can feel like a battle against their own brain. By bringing neuroscience into the treatment plan, therapists can shift the client's perspective to a more collaborative mindset, focused on the positive aspects of change. Brain2Brain: Enacting Client Change Through the Persuasive Power of Neuroscience provides the guidance therapists need to chart a clearer path to good mental health.

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