Don E. Gibbons, Ph.D., NJ Licensed Psychologist #03513
This Blog is published for information and educational purposes only. No warranty, expressed or implied, is furnished with respect to the material contained in this Blog. The reader is urged to consult with his/her physician or a duly licensed mental health professional with respect to the treatment of any medical or psychological condition.

Translations Available

This blog is now available in several dozen languages. By entering the name of the desired language in the box which appears in the space below, any page you visit will have been automatically translated into the language you have selected. You can scroll down to view the most recent entries in chronological order, or you can view the most popular entries in the column on the right. By scrolling down the right-hand column, you can also see a list of all the previous entries.


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.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Nirvana Now! How to Overcome Insomnia in the Multiverse

Using your imagination to project yourself into the Multiverse, or the Universe of all possible Universes, can bring you about as close to the Buddhist concept of nirvana -- a state of perfect peace, in which the ocean of the mind calms and all worldly cares and desires are given up, as it is possible to go in your present lifetime. This is also the best frame of mind to use to overcome insomnia!.

Are you really there or is this just a powerful healing metaphor? Who cares? The experience is real, if you imagine it vividly enough; and most psychologists and educators agree that experience is the forerunner of change 

As I have said elsewhere, i like to use the Best Me Technique as a systematic, comprehensive method for involving one's whole being in the content of a suggestion or autosuggestion. The Best Me Technique utilizes the simultaneous involvement of Beliefs, Emotions, Sensations and physical perceptions, Thoughts and images, Motives, and Expectations, for greater involvement and effectiveness. Taken together, the elements of this technique form the acronym, BEST ME, and may be summarized as follows.
Belief systems which orient an individual to person, place, time, and events may be suggested as being different, allowing the participant to mentally transcend present realities.

Emotions may be enriched, intensified, weakened, or combined with others.

Sensations and physical perceptions may be suggested and experienced with an intensity approaching those of real events.

Thoughts and images may be created and guided in response to explicit or indirect suggestions.

Motives may either be suggested directly or implied as a consequence of other events.
BEST ME suggestiions may be presented in any order and repeated as often as necessary, with elaboration and variation, much as one might vary the verses and choruses of a song one is composing. 

Here is the core of the BEST ME suggestions I use when I wake up in the middle of the night and want to get back to sleep without tossing and turning until it finally overtakes me. The thoughts are pleasant and enjoyable to think about, and if I just keep turning them over and over in my mind, it isn't long before I'm asleep again.

B. You are entering an alternate Universe, in which time and space as we know it do not exist.

E. You are floating endlessly on and on, in an infinite ocean of perfect calm and serenity.

S . Feel yourself being totally absorbed inton this infinite ocean of perfect peace, and feel it flowing through every muscle, and fiber, and  nerve of your body.

T. Now, as you come to the very center of this infinite, boundless ocean of perfect peace and calm, the ocean of the mind is becoming perfectly calm, as safe and as secure as a little baby tenderly cuddled in its mother's arms.. [This is only one of a number of images you can use to convey sense of perfect peace.]

M.  All your worldly cares and desires have vanished, as you become completely absorbed in this infinite ocean of perfect, boundless, peace and calm

E. Now you will be able to drift on to sleep, from which you will awaken perfectly rested and refreshed.

There are plenty of other things you can do to get a good night's sleep,. and you may have to work at it at first. But, instead of worrying about the cares of the day, the thoughts of the BEST ME technique which you will be using to occupy your mind are pleasant ones. 

Lke other forms of meditation, the more you practice it, the better you become. I have used it myself nearly every night for a couple of years; and I can vouch for the fact that with time and practice, its effectiveness and its benefits become much greater over time.. 

I still do briefly wake up once in a while; and I still have to allow myself plenty of time to get a good night's sleep. But when I do wake up, by turning my mind to these pleasant thoughts instead of worrying about all the things that I have to do the next day, so far at least, I have always managed to awaken feeling refreshed and ready to go. The feedback I have rexeived from my postings on Google+ has also been strongly positive. If you decide to try it yourself, I hope you get the same or even better results!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A First-Person Account of Hypnotic Sexual Exploitation

Much as we may hate to admit it, the image that
hypnosis has in the eyes of the public as a potential source
of sexual exploitation is sometimes accurate.
Carla Emery's book, entitled, Secret, Don't Tell! The Encyclopedia of Hypnotism, published in June, 1998 by Acorn Hill Publishing Co., is indeed a one-volume illustrated encyclopedia of hypnotism (she also wrote The Encyclopedia of Gardening).  However aside from the fact that the references are now far out of date, I wouldn't recommend it as a comprehensive source of information on the subject of hypnosis. Judging by its contents, it would appear that the author was intent on proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that it is possible to sexually enslave another by means of hypnosis, strongly implying as she makes her case that this is exactly what happened to her.

The book is divided into six parts: Case Histories of Criminal Hypnosis; A Partial History of U.S. Government Mind-Control Research; Trance Phenomena; Induction Methods; Legal and Therapy Issues in Abusive Hypnosis; and a Reference section.
Prominently featured in her book are accounts both factual and fictional: Trilby, Svengali, and The Control of Candy Jones, published by Playboy Press and quickly withdrawn from circulation, as well as carefully-crafted deductions from various theoretical positions in psychology and psychiatry, mixed with quotations from stage hypnotists and entertainers as well as recognized authorities.

Emery spends a great amount of time discussing the widespread assertion by people in  the hypnosis community that a hypnotized person cannot be made to do anything against his or her will.  She concludes that thiis is essentially a vast cover-up designed to protect their collective professional standing and economic well-being.
With over three hundred thousand copies in print, the author has certainly succeeded in creating a fascinating and entertaining book. But the hypnosis community is certainlhy not as united as Ms. Emery perceived it to be. When I was attending a seminar taught by Martin T. Orne, the former editor of the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, he was asked whether or not hypnosis can be employed as an instrument of sexual exploitation. He promptly replied without hesitation, "I have no doubt," repeating his words for emphasis.
Without going into an endless discussion of the personality dynamics involved, I believe that it is safe to say that certain people, when they are head over heels in love, will selflessly surrender themselves to the patterns of sexual exploitation that Carla Emery described in her Encyclopedia of Hypnotism. It is probably also true that certain types of people are susceptible to falling in love with their hypnotist if certain basic elements (transference, status differential, and personal attraction) are present, which permit the hypnotist to take it from there.   
It is widely believed that under the right conditions, everything that can be produced when hypnosis is pressent can also be produced in its absence. In the motion picture, "9 1/2 Weeks," for example, Kim Basinger depicts a woman who is gradually led into the depths of sexual depravity by a skilled manipulator of her emotions. 
Lynn (2006) views hypnosis as functioning like a catalyst in a chemical reaction. When a catalyst is present, it allows a reaction to take place more easily; but it does not cause the reaction because nothing at all would happen if the right ingredients were not there to begin with  Given the necessary ingredients, the presence of a catalyst can dramatically affect both the ease and the intensity of the reaction which occurs. Much of his book, Essentials of Clinical Hypnosis, is devoted to a discussion of the manner in which hypnosis catalyzes a wide variety of therapeutic procedures. Presumably, the presence of hypnosis can catalyze seduction in a similar manner.
How can hypnotists cope with the occasional news accounts of the dangers of hypnosis which only serve to reinforce the existing negative stereotypes in the eyes of the public and continue to drive away potential clients?  IMHO, honesty is the best policy. In conjunction with therapy, I usually send people a link to relevant Blog posts. When they bring  the Blog up on their computers, they can't help but notice that on the right hand side of my Blog, Google keeps a running tally of links to the ten most popular posts. Two of the perennial favorites that are up there this morning are this posting, and another one ebtutked, "Is Hypnosis Dangerous? Some Hypnotists are!"  For those who care to search further, there are postings entitled, "How to Turn a Hypnotized Person into a Chicken,"  and "How to Use the Power of Suggestion to Induce Orgasms,"  plus a few more of the same type. Sure, this scares some people away -- but the news value also attracts people. If we cannot run from the truth, let's embrace it!

As many others do, after telling clients in my pre-hypnotic talk that just as a physical therapist is a trainer of the body, the hypnotist is a trainer of the imagination, I say that  just because something is imaginary doesn't mean that it does not exist. The imagination is a very real group of abiilities wose potential we are just now beginning to realize. Then, for those who are interested, I go on to take them to a voyage to the Multiverse -- either an alternate or a parallel Universe, or to both. I tell clients straight up that while many physicists believe that parallel Universes exist, I don't know whether these suggested experiences are powerful  healing metaphors or whether they are really going there, but the experiences are real, and that's what counts because it's the experienes that change people. By this time, they are often "wowed" enough to agree, and to want to continue.

 It is also possuble to create an entirely different type of experience by re-creating the experience of hypnosis  irself in such a manner as to minimize or completely avoid the likelihood of abuses by unscrupulous persons.. Hyperempiria (Gibbons, 2000, 2001), the Best Me Technique (Gibbons, 2000), and transitioning to the Multiverse are all examples of the development of new styles for the practice of hypnotherapy, As we state in the American Psychological Association's  Handbook of Clinical Hypnosis (Gibbons and; Lynn 2010):
Suggestions for enhanced alert experience can be presented in the context of relaxation-sleepy/drowsy suggestions , or clinicians may prefer to use the term hyperempiria in place of hypnosis to circumvent misconceptions associated with the popular view of hypnosis as a sleep-like state. It is possible to tell clients something like, “You might associate hypnosis with suggestions like , ‘You are going into a deep, sound sleep.’ But in hyperempiria, you’re awake and alert the whole time. It’s interesting and enjoyable, and you can get a lot out of it.” The therapist can then employ a wide variety of inductions while continuing to refer to hyperempiria as an enjoyable and effective alternative -- in effect, creating such a perception as a form of self-fulfilling prophecy. . . . Given the inherent flexibility of hypnotic interventions, inductions can contain a mix of hyperempiric and relaxation-based or even sleepy-drowsy suggestions.
Print References 

Gibbons, D. E. (2001). Experience as an art form. .New York, NY: Authors Choice Press.

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.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

What is Hyperempiria?

 "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less." 
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things. 
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master -- that's all."                                                      
                        -- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass.

In graduate school, I was taught that as long as you define your terms so that other people know what you mean by them, you can use a word any way you want to, or even make up a new one if it suits your purpose. So, when I found out that alert inductions worked as well as traditional   hypnotic, or "sleeping" inductions, I coined the term "hyperempiria" from the ancient Greek, experience, and added the prefix --hyper to denote a greater or an enhanced quality and set about doing research to see whether or not hyperempiria, or suggestion-enhanced experience, is more appropriate for use in certain contexts than is the term hypnosis. 

As stated in the heading to my Blog, it is widely agreed among educators and therapists that people learn most effectively by experience. Regardless of the type of induction which is used, the total involvement which results from the systematic, comprehensive application of multimodal or "Best Me" suggestions can be regarded as a form of hyperempiria, as +Brian David Phillips ) has stated, or suggestion-enhanced experience. In the fullest sense of the term, hyperempiria refers not to a particular type of induction, but to an entirely new way of working with experience. I now like to think of hyperempiria in terms of a new paradigm in which suggestion is an artistic medium, and human experience itself is a new (and perhaps the ultimate) art form.

Young children (especially those with "cool" parents who encourage this kind of active imagination) often experience the kind of imaginative involvement in their play life which characterizes high responders in hypnosis. +Kelley Woods has described it as, "Rather like when my son was small and living in his delightful trance state, having no limits on his imagination. he thrilled at becomig a dog, a car, a monster! . . .I love reminding clients of similar "resource states," and once the door is opened they can go there at will." Adults, however, usually need what +michael ellner  has referred to as the "transformational magic" of an induction in order to attain this degree of imaginative involvement." Once this door is opened, adults are able to imagine even more profound transformational experiences than children can. 
With our adult ability to conceptualize, we can experience a vast number of suggested alterations of daily life. When cognitive-behaviorists use a thought record to replace an automatic thought woth a more adaptive one, they are using a form of suggestion, which is usually defined as presenting an idea in such a manner that it is likely to be accepted as literally true, and therfore, "real." Hyperempiria, or suggestion-enhanced experience, plays a major role in experiences as varied as falling in love,  having an orgasm,  coming under the sway of a totalitarian dictatorbeing saved in a revival meeting or exploring an alternate universe. or turning into an animal (transmogrification) as practiced in Native American culture. Posible areas for future investigtion include being "slain in the spirit," fainting epidemics, releasing entities, and the dancing mania of the Middle Ages.

Indeed, when suggestion is used to change one's experience of consciousness itself, as is done in a suggested visit to an alternate universe, the possibilities are even greater. In the words of the mystical poet, William Blake, the imaginatively gifted are able 

To see a world in a grain of sand,
Or a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour.

Exploring the mystical dimensions of consciousness also has its practical side. For example, we all long to return to the safety and security of a little infant tenderly nestled in its mother’s arms. At the opposite extreme, it has been said that all phobias are basically rooted in a fear of not being, which is actually a fear of death. If the number of parallel universes is theoretically without limit, there is – somewhere – an alternate universe where we can bathe in an ocean of infinite, unbounded, and everlasting love, freed from the limitations of space and time, to satisfy these deepest longings, enhance our self-esteem, and overcome all our feelings of unhappiness, loneliness, anger, and despair. Using our hypnotic imagination, high-responders are able to create such experiences with relative ease.

Recently, Lenny Cavallaro and I have been suggesting to hypnotized clients that they are being transported to an alternate universe where time and space do not exist.  After orienting them to this alternate universe and inducing emotions which are as pleasant as possible -- i.e., "dissolving  into an ocean of infinite, unbounded, and everlasting love," we provide suggestions such as these:
With practice, you will be able to feel this kind of fulfillment whenever you put your whole self into working towards a goal you have chosen.. As you think about achieving a goal ahead of rime, you can believe it will happen, expect it to happen, feel it happening, and savor in advance the fruits of your success. And with practice, you will be able to to act, think, and feel as if it were impossible to fail!
How is it possible to even consider the possibility of failure when there is an alternate universe in which you have already succeeded at a given task? How is it possible to be discouraged when you are already able to use the rewards of this success now, in the present, to provide yourself with the motivation to pursue any long-term goal, no matter how distant or difficult that goal may presently appear? 

Clients have been saying things like, "I can't thank you enough!" and, "I'm at a point in my life now where I think I can accomplish anything!" The changes which they are reporting in their lives seem to bear this out.  I

Now that's hyperempiria!
 We invite you now to join us in exploring these fascinating new realms of experience, and in sharing with us in the thrill of discovery!