When Placebos Beat
Active Treatment


U.K. researchers find, in a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of medical (not only psychiatric) treatments that when bias is ruled out and effects are considered on a continuous rather than binary basis, the effect of placebos can be superior to that of active treatments. Results appeared online in PLoS on May 15, 2013.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].