Self-Deception and Therapeutic Discharge

There are several measures when self-deception is not only forced but also necessary. Practically everyone knows what the placebo effect is ‒ patients drink a “pill” that does not contain any medications, but you feel better. Unfortunately, the placebo effect has a less well-known antipode – the nocebo effect. It means that if people expect illness, they can get sick without objective reasons.

The emotional sphere of a person influences the development of almost any ailment. For example, the leading cause of peptic ulcers is Helicobacter pylori, which affects almost every person. There are conditions for the successful reproduction of bacteria for those who get sick due to emotional experiences in the body. “Word of mouth” has a nocebo effect; it costs a person unrelated to professional medicine to spread a rumor.

This effect of auto-suggestion applies to the cases under discussion. In the first case, you can see that self-deception works well. Denying the severity of your condition helps to positively influence the overall emotional background, especially in the period after surgery. It is essential that the patient sets himself up for a favorable outcome and realizes what is happening to him (Quinn, 2017). It is necessary to maintain stable mental health; otherwise, patients cannot run the most optimistic scenario.

Denying the severity of condition is also very effective, especially when it comes to severe diseases that can lead to death. Patients need to convince themselves that they can cope; this belief will act the same way as the placebo effect (John et al., 2017). In the period before and after surgery, this provides significant support to the person and, in most cases, leads to a positive outcome.

Self-deception is well compatible with critical thinking; these are interdependent things. The patient understands and accepts his current condition and tries to come up with a way to alleviate it. This phenomenon is indicated by a critical approach when the patient is aware of everything and independently tries to improve the situation. For people who find it difficult enough to deal with this problem, in the future, a psychologist should be assigned who will help cope with the patient’s anxiety.


John. B. T., Scott R. B., & Nicholas, K. (2017). The therapeutic discharge: an approach to dealing with deceptive patients. General hospital psychiatry, 46, 74-78.

Quinn, H. G. (2017). Self-deception in and out of illness: are some subjects responsible for their delusions? Palgrave Communications, 3(1), 1-12.

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PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Self-Deception and Therapeutic Discharge." October 9, 2022.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Self-Deception and Therapeutic Discharge." October 9, 2022.


PsychologyWriting. "Self-Deception and Therapeutic Discharge." October 9, 2022.