About this event

  • Date and time Tue 1 Jun 2021 from 7:00pm to 8:45pm
  • Location Online
  • Organised by Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine, Pain Medicine

This webinar will detail the relationship between different phenomena of placebo and hypnosis.

Highly respected experts, Professor Irving Kirsch, Associate Director, Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Relationship, Lecturer, Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Hull and University of Connecticut, and Professor Amir Raz, Professor of Psychological and Brain Studies, Director, Brain Institute, Chapman University and Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Canada, will explore and highlight that both placebo and hypnosis are effective for similar conditions, the importance of expectancy manipulations for both conditions, and the clinical research that demonstrates the effectiveness of open-label placebos and how this may be relevant to your own clinical practice. 

Professor Irving Kirsch and Professor Amir Raz will also discuss hypnosis as a non-deceptive means to generate an effective placebo response, the role of imagery and the use of open-label placebos.  

CPD learning applied. 

This webinar will help you:

  • Understand hypnosis can provide a means of generating a placebo effect without deception. 
  • Understand the similarities between hypnotic suggestions and placebos, including the following:
    • Both affect the same clinical conditions  
    • Expectancy manipulations can enhance both placebo and hypnotic responding  
    • Neither requires the presence of a trance state  
    • Hypnotic inductions have no specific components  
    • Suggestion is the active ingredient of both  
  • Understand the differences between hypnosis and placebo, including: 
    • The greater role of stable individual differences in hypnotic responding than placebo responding  
    • Findings showing that hypnotic procedures may be more effective than placebo pills. 
  • Understand the role of imagery may be used as part of the process to produce a placebo response.
  • To be aware of the research supporting the effectiveness of open-label placebo in the management of a range of clinical conditions including back pain

This webinar is organised jointly by the RSM Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine Section, the RSM Pain Medicine Section, and is in association with the British Society of Clinical & Academic Hypnosis (BSCAH).

Join in the conversation online using #RSMHypnoPain
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Key speakers

Professor Irving Kirsch

Associate Director, Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic RelationshipLecturer, Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Hull, UK, and University of Connecticut, USA

Speaker's biography

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


He has published 10 books, more than 250 scientific journal articles and 40 book chapters on placebo effects, antidepressant medication, hypnosis, and suggestion. He originated the concept of response expectancy.


Professor Kirsch’s 2002 meta-analysis on the efficacy of antidepressants influenced official guidelines for the treatment of depression in the United Kingdom. His 2008 meta-analysis was covered extensively in the international media and listed by the British Psychological Society as one of the “10 most controversial psychology studies ever published.” His book, The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth, has been published in English, French, Italian, Japanese, Turkish, and Polish, and was shortlisted for the prestigious Mind Book of the Year award. It was the topic of a 60-minute segment on CBS and a 5-page cover story in Newsweek.


In 2015, the University of Basel (Switzerland) awarded Irving Kirsch an Honorary Doctorate in Psychology.

In 2019, the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis honoured him with their “Living Human Treasure Award.”

Professor Amir Raz

Professor of Psychological and Brain Studies, Director, Brain Institute, Chapman University and Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Canada 

Speaker's biography

Professor Amir Raz is Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Director of the Brain Institute at Chapman University, California (USA) and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry (Psychology, Neurology and Neurosurgery) at McGill University, Montreal (Canada). His research spans the cognitive neuroscience of attention, placebos, and altered planes of consciousness. 


Professor Amir Raz is a world leader in unlocking the brain substrates of self-regulation and consciousness. He is Senior Investigator in the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research of the Jewish General Hospital and a member of the Montreal Neurological Institute. A former member of the McGill Board of Governors, he heads both the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at McGill University and the Clinical Neuroscience and Applied Cognition Laboratory at the Institute for Community and Family Psychiatry.


Professor Raz continues to add to his huge list of peer-reviewed publications in highly cited journals such as Nature, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, The Lancet, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Professor Raz has received multiple accolades, ranging from a Young Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression and the American Psychological Association’s Early Career Award to Fellow of the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis and Honorary Fellow of the Golden Key Society. 


Professor Raz’s research interests span the neural and psychological substrates of attention, suggestion, placebos, and self-regulation. A former professional magician and musician, he also conducts research into the cognitive neuroscience of deception, ownership, altered consciousness, and atypical cognition. Using functional brain imaging of the living human brain, genetics, and other techniques, his research brings together basic and clinical science. 



Disclaimer: All views expressed in this webinar are of the speakers themselves and not of the RSM nor the speaker's organisations.

Special rates for difficult times 
The RSM wishes to offer healthcare professionals continued learning opportunities during the coronavirus pandemic. The RSM’s ​weekly COVID-19 Series ​webinars remain free of charge, while there will be small charges to register for other online education. These fees will enable the RSM to continue its programme of activities and will apply during the course of the pandemic.

Registration for this webinar will close 2 hours prior to the start time. You will receive the webinar link 2 hours before the meeting. Late registrations will not be accepted.

This webinar will be available for registered delegates 30 days after on Zoom. The link will be sent 24 hours after the webinar takes place. 

This webinar will be recorded and stored by the Royal Society of Medicine and may be  distributed  in future on various internet channels. 

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