Placebos and Neurofeedback: A Case for Facilitating and Maximizing Placebo Response in Neurofeedback Treatments

  • D. Corydon Hammond


This article provides an overview of the nature of placebo responses. A critical review is provided of placebo-controlled psychopharmacology research, demonstrating that a large proportion of the improvements resulting from psychiatric medication treatments is the result of placebo effects. This finding calls into question the degree to which psychiatric treatments are genuinely evidence based. The value, limitations, and ethical problems associated with placebo-controlled research in the field of neurofeedback are then discussed. Placebo effects are an active ingredient in all therapeutic modalities. Rather than being a negative to be controlled, however, clinicians can view placebo responses as actually representing a resource to be encouraged and maximized. Practical examples are offered for creating positive expectancies and for the use of positive suggestions to further enhance neurofeedback treatment outcomes.