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Sarah Luczaj

“Long Live the Placebo!” Comments, Page 1

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11 Responses to “Long Live the Placebo!”

  1. 1

    Thanks Sarah. I think, like you, that this study is incredibly important. If only it will lead to new publication policies by companies and publishers!

    Research into the placebo effect I think would be extraordinarily interesting. A study of how people relate to taking their medication and how this relates to outcome would be fascinating, to put it mildly.

    The research in psychotherapy, as I understand it – and I don’t make a project of keeping up to date – is that it is the quality of the relationship that heals. Just about any school of therapy gets results, but it is the relationship that differentiates the good from less successful therapists. How this relates to placebo would also be fascinating.

    Thanks for a great post.

  2. avatar image

    Hey Sarah- I was just doing so research and stumbled across your article and found it very empowering! One of my professors was actually one of the people conducting this study. He talked about it one day in class and I found it really interesting! It was great to hear that people have so much control over their lives and way of thinking! I found myself slipping towards depressive thoughts quite often and actually was prescribed an anti-depressant for it, but I found positive thinking and reworking my life habits was much more beneficial!

  3. avatar image

    I found Evan’s comment especially relevant as far as the quality of the theraputic relationship is concerned. A good one heals.

  4. 4

    Hi Liz – so glad to hear that you found the article empowering! That is just how I reacted to the study…

    Yes, Luna and Evan, from my understanding of the research and certainly from my experience, the therapeutic relationship is a, if not the vital factor in the success of therapy. Evan, what exactly did you mean by how this might relate to placebo?

  5. 5

    Hi Sarah,

    About talk therapy and placebo. We could look at expectations before meeting the therapist and outcomes (do those who expect it to work get better outcomes?). We could compare one group who just got together to chat with another group who did psychotherapy for the same amount of time. It would be especially interesting I think to study on line counselling where so much of the face to face is left out.

    All these would be a way of getting a handle on the role of placebo (expectations) in counselling.

    Hope this makes sense.

  6. 6

    Hi Evan, sorry to have taken so long to get back to this that you will probably have forgotten what you were saying!

    I am not convinced that the placebo effect can be likened to expectations in “psychological/emotional/spiritual” counselling. When dealing with the non-physical sphere it is obvious that expectations are active factors in recovery – e.g. if you suffer from problems based on low self esteem but you believe that counselling is going to help you then you are already better off than someone who thinks “I’m so useless that it will never work for me”, and the little bit of faith that client has in themselves will work actively to improve the outcome.

    I suppose I mean that clients heal themselves anyway, so someone who has a belief in their ability to heal themselves with some help, is going to do that more efficiently and those beliefs are actively working, not passively producing some effect as the placebo does???

    I now have the feeling I am not making the distinction clear, although I am quite certain it exists. Maybe it will clarify in further discussion!

  7. 7

    I think your distinction is not clear because of the distinction between active and passive. I doubt this the distinction that needs to be drawn. It is the client who actively does the work in both cases I think.

    Hope this makes sense.

  8. 8

    Hmm see what you mean. In an absolute sense it is all active… maybe what I mean is more about relationship! Can you separate out a placebo effect out from what actually happens in a relationship? How?

  9. 9

    Nope, don’t think you can. Everything is in relationship (and this is “objectively” verifiable in my view – in case anyone thinks I am of the ‘everything is subjective’ school).

    I think the placebo is (one manifestation of) the strength of relationships (past and present).

    Hope this makes sense.

  10. 10

    Yes, I agree, that was the point I was originally making in the post. I do think there is a finer distinction at work in studying placebo effect in relationships – but going after fine distinctions with a mind l(at present) like a blunt instrument is not going to work ;-)

    I’m giving up!! :-)

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