Hypnosis and the placebo effect and the David Waxman memorial lecture


Monday 10 December 2018

Half Day

Venue Royal Society of Medicine
1 Wimpole Street
Organised by

Hypnosis & Psychosomatic Medicine Section


4 CPD Points

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about this event

Research on the placebo effect has substantially increased in the last 15 years following key, highly influential findings. Both the application of neuroimaging to placebo effects and meta-analyses of clinical trial data have revealed insights into the nature and importance of the placebo effect.

This meeting will present and debate arguments for the better consideration of placebo effects in medicine and the utility of hypnosis in potentially marshalling the placebo effect.

Internationally renowned psychologist and expert on hypnosis and the placebo effect, Professor Irving Kirsch will be in attendance and enlightening delegates on the subject. He will be leading a workshop that will consider how to design clinical trials and meta-analyses of those trials presenting common pitfalls, and give advice on how to avoid them.

Overall this event will provide you with valuable knowledge on an extremely important topic in research, medicine and clinical practice.

Topics include:

  • Professor Kirsch’s work highlighting the role of placebo in producing effects attributed to anti-depressant medication
  • The relationship between hypnosis and placebo effects
  • The clinical utility of hypnosis in light of its relationship to placebo effects
  • The role of placebo medication
  • Training session on ‘Designing Clinical Trials and Meta-Analyses: Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them’.


Key speaker:

Professor Irving Kirsch, Lecturer on Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, USA.

Professor Irving Kirsch is Associate Director of the Program in Placebo Studies and lecturer in medicine at the Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He is also Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Plymouth (UK), and University of Hull (UK), and University of Connecticut (US).

He has published 10 books and more than 250 scientific journal articles and book chapters on placebo effects, antidepressant medication, hypnosis, and suggestion. He originated the concept of response expectancy. His book, The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth, which has been published in English, French, Japanese, Italian, Turkish, and Polish, and was shortlisted for the prestigious Mind Book of the Year award.


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2.45 pm


3.05 pm

Welcome and introduction

Dr Raj Lal Sharma, President, Hypnosis & Psychosomatic Medicine Section, Royal Society of Medicine


Dr Benjamin Parris, Principal Lecturer in Psychology, Bournemouth University

3.10 pm

Designing clinical trials and meta-analyses: Common pitfalls and how to avoid them

Professor Irving Kirsch, Associate Director of the Program in Placebo Studies and Lecturer in Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, USA

4.10 pm

Drug related adverse events from placebos in clinical trials

Dr Jeremy Howick, University of Oxford

5.10 pm

Question and answer session

5.30 pm

Tea and coffee break


Dr Benjamin Parris

6.00 pm

Hypnosis and the placebo effect

Professor Irving Kirsch

7.00 pm

Question and answer session

7.20 pm

Closing remarks

Dr Raj Lal Sharma

7.30 pm

Close of meeting

7.35 pm

Drinks reception

8.00 pm

Annual Christmas dinner

For those who have pre-registered

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  • Online registration is now closed for this meeting
  • On the day registration will be available
  • You will not be able to register for the dinner on the day


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organiser's details

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