1st Edition

The Placebo Response and the Power of Unconscious Healing

By Richard Kradin Copyright 2008
    296 Pages
    by Routledge

    294 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    Introduction. The Placebo Response: A Matter of Perspective. Sickness and Healing. A Brief History of Medicine and Placebo. Placebo Effects- Who Gets Them? What Do We Know About How Placebos Act? The Anomalous Placebo Response. Placebo and Truth. Harnessing the Placebo Response.


    Richard Kradin, M.D., is a medical physician, immunologist, and psychoanalyst at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Massachusetts, and Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. He has established expertise in mind/body medicine and is former Research Director at the Mind/Body Medical Institute in Boston, Mass. He has conducted clinical research in the immunotherapy of cancer and has authored more than 200 scholarly articles in the areas of medicine, including psychosomatic disorders and the placebo response.

    "[The Placebo Response] is unique, thought provoking, and interesting....Kradin's provocative book reveals the complexities of human nature. He makes a clear case for expanding science to include concepts that go beyond linear causality and reductionism." -Roger P. Greenberg in PsycCRITIQUES, Feb. 4, 2009, Vol. 54, Release 5, Article 4

    "Kradin's approach to the placebo effect...is largely straightforward. Kradin does what needs to be done: He gently chides modern medicine for its snigle-minded obsession with physics and linear causation, for its failure to see the person as a whole, and for the hubris routinely practiced by clinicians." -Robert Epstein, University of California, San Diego, in Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 23, No. 3