Lact - Palo Alto School Representative

Palo Alto School Representative

Center for training, intervention and research

Strategic systemic approach and hypnosis

      Using the psychology of expectation can help you create something from nothing. This article describes how a lack of self-confidence can affect mental health and offers tips for increasing self-confidence.

      the psychology of waiting

      What is talent? 

      Talent hits a target that no other can hit; the genius hits a target that no other can see. -Arthur Schopenhauer

      The expectancy effect, also known as the placebo effect, refers to the phenomenon where a person's belief or expectation of a treatment or intervention can lead to improvement perception of one's condition, even if the treatment itself is inert or inactive. It highlights the powerful influence of our mindset and beliefs on our subjective experiences and outcomes (Gibson, P. 2022).

      The placebo effect has been observed throughout history, but its official documentation dates back to the late 18th century (Kirsch, I., et al. 2008). The term “placebo” comes from the Latin word meaning “I will please,” and the concept came to the attention of medical research through the pioneering work of doctors Benjamin Franklin and John Haygarth in the 18th century. Franklin and Haygarth conducted experiments with inert substances and observed their therapeutic effects on patients. However, it was not until the mid-20th century that the placebo effect began to be studied and analyzed more systematically in clinical trials and medical research.

      Sugar pills and energy drinks

      Some popular and well-known examples of the power of expectation involve the use of a sugar pill (placebo) in medical trials. When patients are given a sugar pill instead of an active medication, they experience the positive effects of the real medication. Even though the pill has no therapeutic properties, some participants perceive an improvement in their symptoms because they believe in the treatment.

      In some studies, participants with conditions such as knee pain or angina underwent sham surgeries, that is, without actual surgery. Despite the absence of any physical changes, some patients report a reduction in pain or improvement in symptoms, demonstrating the power of human expectations. In experiments on sports performance, athletes were given energy drinks that were placebos, without stimulating substances. However, athletes often feel an increase in their energy level and improve their performance because they believe in the effectiveness of the drink (Amanzio, M., et al. 2001).

      Researchers have even conducted studies using colored pills to explore the influence of expectancies on the perceived effects of medications. For example, blue pills are associated with sedation, while red pills are often associated with stimulation. Individuals may experience corresponding effects even if the actual composition of the pill is the same.

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      Pascal's bet

      Pascal's bet

      In the 17th century, French polymath Blaise Pascal used the first known version of the "as if" technique (Watzlawick, 1990) to help doubting Christians regain their faith. Pascal suggested: "It doesn't matter if you doubt God now: get down on your knees, kneel and pray, use holy water and participate in the sacraments... behave as if you already believe... and you see that faith will not tarry to be with you.”

      These small but concrete practical actions gradually change the habitual interaction between a person and their perceptions, causing the person to experience something that they initially "pretended" to feel by acting "as if." This occurs through induced self-deception, which changes the direction of the "prophecy", causing the person to experience something different from the usual pattern, which essentially and subtly reverses their old or often perceived perceptions and behaviors. dysfunctional. Acting “as if” is what an Olympic athlete will have to do if he wants to believe that by training at 6 a.m. on a cold November morning, he will win gold at the competition. He has no proof that it will work, but his beliefs and "as if" actions lead him to achieve something that "is" or "exists" now, like his first Olympic medal.

      The transformative effects of acting “as if.”

      If you are looking to overcome a problem or achieve a goal, here is an experiment for the next two weeks. Every day, ask yourself: “What would I do differently today if I fully believed in myself or if what is stopping me from achieving my goal did not exist?

      Of all the things that come to mind, choose the smallest, most minimal but most concrete one and put it into practice. Each day, choose one small but concrete thing to do as if you have already overcome your problem or have full confidence in your ability to achieve your goal. Every day, choose something different and put it into practice.

      The objective of the so-called "as-if" technique (Gibson, 2022, Nardone and Portelli, 2005, Watzlawick, 1990) is to introduce minor changes into the person's daily routine. Even if the change is small, it can trigger a chain reaction of changes that can transform a once stuck situation. This prescription is a good example of the “butterfly effect.”

      Making the most of nothing

      The placebo effect and the power of expectations can also be harnessed in daily life in several ways. Here are some strategies you can consider

      State of mind and beliefs: 

      Cultivate a positive mindset and believe in the possibility of positive results. Your attitude and expectations can significantly influence your experiences and well-being.

      Placebo rituals:

       Incorporate rituals or routines that have personal meaning or symbolism. For example, if you find a particular activity or object comforting or empowering, intentionally incorporate it into your daily routine to boost your confidence and well-being.

      Visualization and mental imagery: 

      Use visualization techniques to imagine yourself succeeding, overcoming challenges, or feeling better. By vividly imagining positive outcomes, you can reinforce your expectations and potentially improve your performance or well-being.

      Social support and encouragement: 

      Surround yourself with a support network of family, friends or mentors who believe in your abilities and potential. Their positive encouragement can reinforce your expectations and give you a feeling of validation.

      Psycho-corporeal practices: 

      Adopt mind-body practices such as meditation, yoga or deep breathing exercises. These practices can help relax the mind, reduce stress and create a positive mindset, which can help improve well-being.

      Personalized placebos: 

      Create personal placebos that symbolize comfort or relief for you. These may include objects, symbols, or activities that have a positive association with you, which can help elicit a placebo effect.

      The transformative effects of acting as if

      Responsible behavior

      These popular examples illustrate how expectations can influence our experiences and outcomes in various areas, including the effectiveness of medications, surgical interventions, performance enhancement, and complementary therapies. They irrefutably prove that our beliefs and perceptions influence our well-being. Remember that while harnessing the power of expectations can be beneficial, it is important to approach it ethically and responsibly. It is not about deceiving ourselves or others, but rather harnessing the psychological and emotional aspects of our experiences to promote well-being and positive outcomes.


      • Amanzio, M., et al (2001). Response variability to analgesics: A role for non-specific activation of endogenous opioids. Bread, 90(3), 205-215.
      • Benedetti, F., et al. (2011). Disruption of opioid-induced placebo responses by activation of cholecystokinin type-2 receptors. Science Translational Medicine, 3(70), 70ra14.
      • Finniss, DG, et al. (2007). The neurobiology of placebo analgesia: From endogenous opioids to cholecystokinin. Progress in Neurobiology, 84(3), 263-284.
      • Geers, AL, et al (2007). A randomized trial of placebo surgery for arthroscopic debridement of the knee. New England Journal of Medicine, 357(26), 2656-2664.
      • Gibson, P. (2022). Escaping The Anxiety Trap. Strategic Science Books.
      • Nardone G., and Portelli, C. (2005). Knowing Through Changing. Crown Publishing.
      • Kirsch, I., et al. (2008). The power of suggestion: Expectancy effects in the modulation of pain. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(4), 778-791.
      • Petrovic, P., et al. (2005). Placebo and opioid analgesia: Imaging a shared neuronal network. Science, 295(5560), 1737-1740.
      • Waber, RL, et al. (2008). Placebo responses to a sham acupuncture procedure: An experimental study of college students. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 65(4), 373-377.
      • Watzlawick, P. (1990). Munchhausen's Pigtail, or Psychotherapy & "Reality". Norton Books.

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      The quality certification was issued under
      the following category of actions: Training action

      A team of more than
      50 trainers in France
      and abroad

      of our students satisfied with
      their training year at LACT *

      International partnerships

      The quality certification was issued under
      the following category of actions: Training action

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