Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2005 Jul;61(7):791-803.
doi: 10.1002/jclp.20126.

Placebo Psychotherapy: Synonym or Oxymoron?


Placebo Psychotherapy: Synonym or Oxymoron?

Irving Kirsch. J Clin Psychol. .


Contrary to some recent claims, the placebo effect is real and in some cases very substantial. Placebo effects can be produced or enhanced by classical conditioning, but consistent with virtually all contemporary conditioning theories, these effects are generally mediated by expectancy. Expectancy can also produce placebo effects that are inconsistent with conditioning history. Although expectancy also plays an important role in psychotherapy outcome, the logic of placebo-controlled trials does not map well onto psychotherapy research. The idea of evaluating the efficacy of psychotherapy by controlling for nonspecific or placebo factors is based on a flawed analogy and should be abandoned.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 24 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

LinkOut - more resources