A celebration of Irving Kirsch

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This special issue of the AJCH celebrates the life and work of Professor Irving Kirsch (Figure 1; my gratitude to the contributors, to Journal Editor-in-Chief, Stephen R. Lankton, and to Irving Kirsch, who provided me with information and photographs). I decided to organize this tribute not only because Professor Kirsch has been a towering figure in hypnosis and related areas, but because he has been a friendly, warm, and supportive figure for many of us, besides being a real (to use a word he might enjoy) mensch. Irving Kirsch has changed the trajectory of not one or two, but three complex scientific areas: Hypnosis, placebo, and the (in)efficacy of antidepressants, all undergirded by his focus on and sensitivity to how implicit and explicit communications (i. e., suggestions) contribute to what people expect to be able to do or experience, whether in a context of hypnotic or non-hypnotic suggestions (e.g., for pain relief), or responding to inert pills or fake medical procedures (i. e., placebo), and active pharmacological ingredients (e.g., measuring how much the response to antidepressants contributes beyond that to placebos). Because this is a hypnosis journal I will emphasize his contributions to hypnosis, bearing in mind that his other areas of inquiry relate theoretically and empirically to it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-180
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Hypnosis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Psychology

Free keywords

  • Irving Kirsch
  • Hypnosis
  • Placebo
  • Antidepressants


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