Talking Cures and Placebo Effects

Talking Cures and Placebo Effects

by David Jopling


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Psychoanalysis has had to defend itself from a barrage of criticism throughout its history. Nevertheless, there are many who claim to have been helped by this therapy, and who claim to have achieved genuine insight into their condition. But do the psychodynamic or exploratory psychotherapies - the so-called talking cures - really help clients get in touch with their "inner", "real" or "true" selves? Do clients make important discoveries about the real causes of their behaviours, emotions, and personalities? Are their insights, and the psychodynamic interpretations offered them by their psychotherapists, true? Many think so.

Talking Cures and Placebo Effects contests this view. It defends the unpopular hypothesis that therapeutic changes in the psychodynamic psychotherapies are sometimes functions of powerful placebos that rally the mind's native healing powers in much the same way that placebo pills rally the body's native healing powers; and that psychodynamic insights and interpretations are themselves placebos. Few clients know this, and fewer still are informed of the potential placebo effects at play in exploratory psychotherapy, and of the consequent risks of self-misinterpretation and self-deception. Thus does Talking Cures and Placebo Effects target a host of problems that lie at the very intersection of the epistemology, ethics, scientific status, and public accountability of the talking cures.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199239504
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 07/15/2008
Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy and Psychiatry Series
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

David A. Jopling is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at York University, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His research interests include the philosophy of psychology and psychiatry, early modern philosophy, and cognitive science. He has published books and articles on the concept of self, self-knowledge, phenomenology, and cognitive science.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Preface     xi
Crocodile Dung     xi
Range of Inquiry     xxi
Placebos and Psychotherapy     1
Placebo Effects     1
Self-Exploration, Insight, and Healing     10
An Alternative Hypothesis     16
The Principle of Differentialness     25
Some Preliminary Objections     28
Kinds of Insight     31
Insights True and False     31
Case History 1     32
Case History 2     34
Case History 3     44
Insight Research     48
Clinical Psychology's Quicksilver     56
A Formal Definition of Insight     67
The Standard View     71
The Standard View: A Model     71
Exploratory Validity     72
Therapeutic Specificity     74
Interpretive Agency     75
Therapeutically Effective Insight     77
Intraclinical Confirmation     78
The Standard View: Criticisms     79
A Common Factors Criticism     82
A Cognitive-Psychological Criticism     86
Introspection, Causal Self-Attribution, and Insight     90
Some Skeptical Criticisms     95
Placebos and Placebo Effects     107
Charms and Fair Words     107
The Shaman Quesalid     110
Janet's Theriac     112
Contemporary Research on Placebos     117
Beecher's Powerful Placebo and Placebo Confounds     118
Explanatory Approaches     127
Shapiro's Definition of Placebo     132
Grunbaum's Definition of Placebo     134
Brody's Definition of Placebo     138
A Cognitive Definition of Placebo     140
Insight Placebos     149
Pseudo-Insights     149
Philosophical Pseudo-Insights     160
Insight Placebos     162
Insight Artifacts     167
Artifactual Dreams     171
Artifactual Beliefs     174
Artifactual Symptoms     177
The Narrativist Objection     187
The Identity Objection     191
Placebos, Deception, and Self-Deception     203
Patients' Awareness of Placebos     203
Grunbaum's Critique of Freud     212
Self-Deception     216
Open Placebos     227
The Ethics of Giving Placebos      227
The Ethics of Giving Open Placebos     240
The Logic of Belief: Some Hypotheses     242
Experimental Design with Open Placebos: Hypothesis     245
The Administration of Open Placebos: Hypothesis     245
The Neurobiology of Open Placebo Response: Hypothesis     247
Review of an Open Placebo Study     247
The Ethics of Giving Placebos in Psychotherapy     252
Notes     265
References     275
Name Index     297
Subject Index     303

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