Don E. Gibbons, Ph.D., NJ Licensed Psychologist #03513
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The New Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy, LLC

The New Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy, LLC, is located at 703 Mill Creek Road, Suite G #1, Manahawkin, NJ 08050. Telephone us at(609)709-2043 and(609) 709-0009. We will welcome you warmly and will work together with you to develop a plan which is individually suited to your goals, utilizing a variety of therapeutic approaches including cognitive behavioral, family systems, psychodynamic, humanistic, and eclectic approaches as well as hypnosis. We accept Medicare and most other major insurance. Weekend and evening office hours are available.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Romantic Love, Sexual Behavior, Modeling, and Suggestion

It wasn't always this beautiful! Professor Irving Singer, in a free online MIT course entitled, Philosophy of Love in the Western world, states that romantic love as we know it today was practically unheard of in Western culture until it became popularized by wandering French troubadors eight hundred years ago, and further amplified by the invention of the printing press, which publicized the great works of romantic literature such as Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra ("Hark! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Juliet is the Sun!" or,"Shall I abide in this dull world which , in thy absence, is no better than a stye?*).

With this model held up for all to see, the prevailing expectations of what it feels like to be "in love" evolved in an ever more extreme direction. For many years, one way to write a new hit song was to describe the experience of being in love in more glowing terms than the songs which were popular at the moment. The reviewer of the 1955 movie, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, writing in The Independent on February 8, 2010, stated: "Remember the lyric: 'Once, on a high and windy hill, two lovers kissed, and the world stood still. . . .' It still makes my knees weak."  Today, as products of a culture which glorifies romantic love, we tend to view human experience through these cultural lenses, and choose bits from history which confirms these stereotypes. However, anthropologists are fond of pointing out that after a few years, couples who marry for love are just about as happy as couples who tie the knot in cultures where marriages are arranged. 
The power of suggestion can do more than simply make you feel weak in the knees. In Victorian times, women were considered to be such delicate creatures that they were expected to faint if the air in a room suddenly became stuffy, or if they were suddenly and unexpectedly kissed by someone to whom they had become attracted -- and many did! 

The effect of suggestion and imitation in producing such a high degree of organismic involvement became more dramatically evident shortly after World War II, when the young crooner Frank Sinatra caused legions of teen-age "bobby-soxers" to swoon when he hit his high notes. It is therefore possible to conclude that the experience of "falling in love" as we know it today, and all that goes with it, is also an effect of social modeling and the power of suggestion. 

Suggestion has the power to teach behavior as well as to change it. In 1933, Herbert Blumer found that when moviegoing reached its height, many people said that they first learned how to kiss by watching motion pictures. Many people probably still pick up  a few pointers occasionally, both from the motion pictures themselves and from YouTube compilations such as the one shown below.

Remember Romeo and Juliet, and Antony and Cleopatra? We now have searchable data bases of Internet pornography such as XNXX, YouPorn, and FetLife, which contain literally millions of items, and almost anyone in the world can upload to them. The entries are frequently ranked in terms of populatiry, so that the submissions which are viewed most often rise to the top. Some of these data bases require no fees, passwords, or proof of age, and are supported entirely by advertising. 

Internet pornography is frequently portrayed  as addictive. Smoking, gambling, consuming alcohol, and even kissing itself, however, all have addictive qualities; yet society condones, and sometimes even encourages them. If the past  is any guide, it would not be unreasonable to expect that the abundant access to free Internet pornography in the Twenty-First Century will dramatically modify the way couples both engage in and experience sexual behavior, in much the same way that the invention of the printing press centuries before influenced the manner in which people engage in and experience romantic love. This time, however, the changes will depend not upon the imagination of a few gifted writers and balladeers, but upon the pooled experience of the entire human race. 

If we are inded in the midst of such a profound cultural change, and if one picture is worth a thousand words, then to quote from the movie, All About Eve, "Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night!"

Hyperempiria, or suggestion-enhanced experience, also plays a major role in events as varied as having an orgasm,  coming under the sway of a totalitarian dictator, being saved in a revival meeting,or experiencing the "sleeping" form of hypnosis,


Gibbons, D. E. (2000). Applied hypnosis and hyperempiria. Lincoln, NE: Authors Choice Press (originally published 1979 by Plenum Press).

Gibbons, D. E., & Cavallaro, L (2013).. Exploring alternate universes: And learning what they can teach us. Amazon Kindle E-Books. (Note: It is not necessary to own a Kindle reader to download this e-book, as the Kindle app may be downloaded free of charge to a standard desktop or laptop computer and to most cell phones.)

Gibbons, D. E. & Lynn, S. J. (2010). Hypnotic inductions: A primer. in S. J. Lynn, J. W. Rhue, & I. Kirsch (Eds.) Handbook of clinical hypnosis, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, pp. 267-291.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Marriage for Love vs. Marriages Which are Arrranged

Anthropologists frequently point out that a few years down the road, people who marry for romantic love are just about as happy or unhappy as a couple who ties the knot in a culture in which arranged marriages are the norm.  If you and your loved one have come to share experiences of rapture, ecstasy, wonder, and delight, only to return to a life of bills to pay, appointments to keep, and an endless list of other things which simply have to be done, the strength of your affection will eventually begin to wane, regardless of how dramatic the results might have been initially. If, on the other hand, you return to an environment in which romance comes ahead of everything else, and the first priority is the quality time you spend with each other, then the joys you share together can take on near-sacramental qualities as the couple consecrates itself to one another anew, and the honeymoon becomes a permanent way of life.

Monday, March 23, 2015

How Hitler Did It: The Power of Suggestion Gone Wild

Although they were not hypnotists in the strictest ssense of the term, Hitler and his cronies were masters of hyperempiria, or the art of suggestion-enhanced experience. Here, with English subtitles, is a brief speech in which he boasts to his cheering supporters that he has destroyed every other political power in Germany. The most dangerous suggestions were not made by Hitler himself, however, but by Deputy Fuehrer Rudolf Hess, who had introduced Hitler. At the conclusion of Hitler's speech, when the frenzy had reached its height, Hess strode back to the podium and announced that the Nazi Party and Hitler are one, that Hitler is Germany, and Germany is Hitler! (This unity is also expressed symbolically on Hitler's personal standard, shown above) 

After history had run its course, and the destruction of the Third Reich was almost complete, Josef Goebbles, Hitler's propaganda minister (who made the second cameo appearance in the video above), was so taken in by the delusional system he himself had helped to create that he allowed his wife, Magda, to poison their seven children, and then he killed her before he himself committed suicide rather than continue to live and allow his children grow up in a world without National Socialism!

The Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering also appeared in the foregoing video, with a hint of what could be interpreted as a smirk, even then. He was as evil as all the rest, of course; but perhaps he had some insight ito the psychological processes that were at work, although he did not foresee the outcome. 

Goering was interviewed at Nuremberg on April 18, 1946.  The Nazis' abuses of the power of suggestion were laid bare when he stated, "Naturally, the common people don't want war, neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. . . . All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

Of course, Hitler's audiences were obviously not "hypnotized" in the usual sense of the term (although he did make abundant use of "arm levitations!") I prefer to use the term hypermpiria, or suggestion-enhanced experience, rather than the term hypnosis, to refer to the power of suggestion in these contexts. Hyperempiria also plays a major role in events as varied as falling in love, having an orgasm, or being saved in a revival meeting.