Understanding the Placebo Effect in Complementary Medicine: Theory, Practice, and Research

By David Peters | Go to book overview

10
Healing and Therapeutic Touch: is it
all in the mind?
Stephen G. Wright and Jean Sayre-Adams
What is Therapeutic Touch?
Intention in TT
Two models of TT
Stages of TT
A TT case study
Placebos, energies, fields and consciousness
Conclusion: we are all in this together

Editor's note

Several practitioners have told us how they think the 'practitioner effect' works. Anton de Craen's chapter (Ch 12) suggests that just conveying an optimistic prediction about the outcome of treatment is not enough. So there have to be more to the practitioner effect than this: intention apparently plays a part and the practitioner's authentic expectation that his intention could actually in some way change the person being treated. It is easier to understand how this conviction is conveyed by an actual prescription, or by touch, as they are something concrete. Successful psychotherapy uses language in a way that Angela Clow tells us may translate into nerve activity and trigger a cascade of brain-related neuro‐ hormonal release pervading the organism. Yet the mere verbal attempt to promote positive expectation is, according to de Craen, not enough. So although language (verbal and non-verbal, conscious and unconscious) is clearly part and parcel of the effect, perhaps in order be effective it must convey authenticity, conviction, intention and relatedness. It seems to me that these aspects weave through and connect together what our authors' had written about the effect. But in the case of a category of treatments we might call 'healing' these aspects are the totality of the therapy; all other elements having been stripped away, the therapy itself is entirely non-specific. It it only works when a practitioner believes it works, then how does the client know they believe it? I asked two leading exponents for their ideas about intention and how the ability to communicate that intention might depend on their belief about is impact.

If you don't know what to do,
Just put your hands on them and love them.

Pannatier

-165-

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