Flight into health

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In psychology and medicine, a flight into health is a positive response to a therapy, which takes place too quickly to be likely to be due to the treatment. While the origin of the term is uncertain, it is usually associated with Sigmund Freud or other members of the school of psychoanalysis.

Freudian psychologists considered it a form of "escape tactics. According to this view, rapid responses to therapy were attempts to avoid the pain and anxiety of further exploration and self-disclosure." Humanistic psychologists, however, may regard it "positive and genuine expressions of emerging health and are not self-deceptive pseudosuccesses...." [1]

When a patient responds more quickly to a medicine than is plausible, a placebo effect may be at work.


  1. Willard B. Frick (October 1999), "(Abstract) Flight into Health: A New Interpretation", Journal of Humanistic Psychology 39 (4): 58-81, DOI:10.1177/0022167899394004