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New Study: Healing, Empathy, & Placebo

New Study: Healing, Empathy, & Placebo | Creating new possibilities | Scoop.it

"In this article, a "healing method" (HM) is defined as any method intended to improve health through non-somatic means. For many healing methods, especially within the realm of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), there is mounting debate over the question "Does it work?" Indeed, this seems to be the primary question for most stakeholders. Yet in light of the well-documented effects of nonspecific factors, particularly empathy and placebo (EP), we contend that the basic question is: "What is 'it'?" Without answering this question, scientific progress is impossible, and research costs will spiral upwards without producing tangible results. Furthermore, it is impossible to characterize the potential side effects of healing methods without a full understanding of the underlying mechanisms through which they act. It is generally acknowledged that many healing methods are sociohistorical artifacts, based on underlying theoretical models that are divorced from established science. There is a need for healing method research that is accommodating of such methods' fluid nature while being congruent with accepted scientific practices. "It works" is no longer an adequate justification for any healing method, as "it" often turns out to be a combination of nonspecific factors."

 

From "Does it work?" to "What is 'it'?": Implications for Voodoo, Psychotherapy, Pop-Psychology, Regular, and Alternative Medicine

 

Jean-Luc Mommaerts, Dirk Devroey


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HBEsbin's curator insight, September 9, 2013 7:33 AM

The field of Appreciative Inquiry has produced a substantial literature on this topic as the following notes:

 

"Whether we are talking about placebo studies in medicine (Ornstein and Sobel, 1987); reviews of a myriad of studies of the Pygmalion dynamic in the classroom (Jussim, 1986); studies of the rise and fall of cultures (Boulding,1966; Polak, 1973); research into the relationships between optimism and health (Seligman, 1990 );  studies of positive self-monitoring and ways for accelerating learning (Kirschenbaum, 1984 ); analysis of the importance of imbalanced, positive inner dialogue to personal and relational well-being (Schwartz, 1986 ); research on positive mood states and effective decision making (Isen, 1983); studies from the domain of “conscious evolution" (Hubbard, 1998 ); or theories on how positive noticing of even “small wins” can reverberate throughout a system and change the world (Weick, 1984 )—the conclusions are converging on something Aristotle said many years ago. “A vivid imagination”, he said “ compels the whole body to obey it”. 

 

A Positive Revolution in Change: Appreciative Inquiry

David L. Cooperrider, Case Western Reserve University

Diana Whitney, The Taos Institute

 

 

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Empathy & Ethics

Empathy & Ethics | Creating new possibilities | Scoop.it

"The sheer volume and diversity of recent scandals in the corporate world, various levels of government, and even the media, has been astounding. Even though initiatives to get tough on corporate malfeasance were introduced and promoted in the early 2000s, it seems the only lesson learned is how to shield bad deeds more effectively while keeping up the appearance of compliance.

 

The most recent National Business Ethics survey reinforces this notion. Using data from the 2011 report, 42% of respondents state their organizations have weak ethical cultures — a result comparable the highest level in the history of the survey.

 

Given the importance of ethics in underpinning effective organizational leadership, the question remains: how do we demonstrate and promote ethical behaviour?When MRG examined what was the strongest predictor of ethical leadership behaviour out of the 22 competencies in their model, the resounding answer was empathy. In other words, leaders who scored highest on empathy also exhibited the highest levels of ethical leadership.

 

The results are intuitive. The definition of empathy is, “identification with and understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motives.” Using this lens, we can see how empathetic leaders would be much more inclined to act in an ethical manner. Rather than being solely focused on their own needs and their individual responsibilities to their organizations, they are keenly aware of their connection with other people and the broader communities in which they live. They are able to integrate these values into their moral judgements, which limit their exposure to ethical risk. They appreciate and respect the needs of others and can take moral action that can serve multiple parties."


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