What do we mean when we say “non-specific effects”? This phrase is being used at a higher and higher frequency. Even I’m beginning to take the lazy way and use the darn term! I don’t like it! Why are we choosing to be vague in describing what we truly mean? “Non-specific effects” gives the perception that “something” is happening, but we don’t know what.
Let’s take a look at “non-specific effects” and let’s say what we mean!
In my opinion, non-specific effects is a broad phrase. We can be much more specific in what we mean. First of all, let’s establish that the nervous system isn’t some hard-wired, static system. It can be sensitized; it can be desensitized. Cortical remapping can occur. There’s synaptic pruning. There’s the idea that “neurons that fire together, wire together” and of course the opposite, “neurons that fire apart, wire apart.” Is the somatosensory system changing due to cortical representation? Are new neuronal pathways being created due to blocked neuronal pathways? Maybe our interactions are inhibiting the amygdala. When we focus on our words and providing compassion and empathy, we are creating engaged brains. Emotional recognition, somatic states, attention and memories are being altered cognitively.
As you can see, what occurs in our interactions with our patients is far from “non-specific.” We need to determine what effect we want to have AND take steps to ensure it happens. We need to stop hanging onto “non-specific,” and own the specific effects we desire to occur!
Anyone else have thoughts? (Oh, please don’t use “non-specific effect” either. You see, if you do, I will immediately have a negative thought which will result in a deleterious effect on MY brain. )
Until next time,