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.

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The New Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy, LLC

The New Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy, LLC, is located at 675 Route 72 E Manahawkin, NJ 08050. Telephone us at(609)709-2043 and (609) 709-0009.Take Mill Creek Road South, just off Route 72, on the road to Beach Haven West.After about 400 feet, turn right into the office complex of Greater Coastal Realty. Then turn right and go past the Lyceum Gyn. Continue on to the Prudential Zack Building. We. are the last office at the end. We accept Medicare and most other major insurance.Weekend and evening office hours are avalable.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

CBT: A Scientific Method for the Mastery of Life

Here's how to get off the merry-go-round!
According to the teachings of cognitive-behavioral psychology, it isn't what happens to you but what you believe about what happens to you and how you perceive what happens to you that causes you to be unhappy. The following lists may be viewed as a kind of "psychological first aid" for getting to the root of these false beliefs and false perceptions, and for taking positive action to keep them from coming back.     

Albert Ellis has put together a list of ten commonly-held beliefs about ourselves, the world, and the future, which prevent us from experiencing life to the fullest because they set us up for failure and disappointment ahead of time. They are all false, but many of us are inclined to at least occasionally believe them, at least part of the time. You can get rid of these irrational ideas by learning how to recognize and eliminate them.  

The Greek philosopher Epictitus said, "Men are disturbed not by events, but by the views which they take of them." This is a list of inaccurate ways of looking at things, which might be clouding your view of the world.  

This free downloadable ABC Worksheet from can become your daily companion for taking control of your life in matters large and small. You can use it to make motivational and behavioral adjustments on everything from paying your bills on time, to stopping smoking, or deciding on which career path to follow. (If you don't have the necessary Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can also download it free of charge.)

It first asks you about the causes of something you would like to change in your life, and then asks about the emotional consequences which were the result, your beliefs about what happened, what beliefs could be substituted for the ones which brought about the unpleasant results, and how those changed beliefs make you feel. You can write on the form itself, clearing and changing it as often as you like. Then, when you are finished, you can either print it out or save it as a text file, using a different form for each problem you would like to work on. To re-examine it or re-do each form that you have completed, just call up that particular file and continue to modify it as you progress. It could prove to be extremely helpful if you are willing to give it a try!

There are several other helpful aids to life management in their tools and  homework and articles and essays sections.

Cognitive-behavioral therapists frequently use a more specialized version of the ABC Worksheet, mentioned above, called a thought record in order to examine just what goes on in the mind when we make those habitual decisions that keep getting us into trouble . . . Here is what one looks like, and here is what it looks like all filled out, courtesy of  (A slightly longer, seven-column version of the same form is also available.) You can make as many copies as you want for your own use by using the print command on your computer. They also have other free versions of the thought record form, adapted for special purposes.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Hypnosis as a Substitute for Medical Marijuana

By heightning and enhancing our internal
states, we can learn to manage
the experience of pain.

Many States are in the process of legalizing the use of medical marijuana to bring about chemical changes in the body which reduce the discomfort of pain. However the list of authorized applications can be relatively narrow. Legal marijuana for such purposes is often expensive and difficult to obtain, as it is in my own State of New Jersey. But the power of the mind in hypnosis can be equally as effective, if not  more so.

William James, in his book, Varieties of Religious Experience, related the account of a French Hugenot woman who was being beaten for her religious beliefs by six other women armed with sticks.   After her ordeal, she wrote that she was so overwhelmed with the thought that she was being beaten for Christ that she felt nothing: "In vain the women cried, ’We must double our blows; she does not feel them, for she neither speaks nor cries.' And how should I have cried, since I was swooning from happiness within?"

As +Susan French  has pointed out, ". . .everything that we do [as hypnotists] has to do with directing attention from thoughts and perceptions that have negative effects to more positive states and perceptions. What results is not only changing a habit of thinking but creates the release of brain/body chemicals that support the state where the attention rests. By heightening and enhancing our internal states, we can have experiences which we are not capable of in everyday life, but which are just as 'real' to us -- if not more so -- than if they were, with predictable effects on our personal lives."

I recently had a client who suffered from chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder from a near-fatal automobile accident. He had been prescribed several pain medications, which were not always effective. I saw him weekly at his home. I used a traditional hypnotic induction (Gibbons & Lynn, 2010), with suggestions of deep-muscle relaxation, followed by repeated deepening combined with suggestions of anesthesia and well-being, with post-hypnotic suggestions that the effects would continue. I also taught him self-hypnosis in order to prolong these suggestions between visits. He reported generally good results with these procedures, but he still needed his prescription medication. Even then, he stated that the inductions were sometimes not completely effective in removing all of his discomfort.

One day, his wife said to me, "We sure could have used you last week, Doc. Nothing seems to be working, and the pain is as bad as ever." 

I knew that I had to devise an especially effective induction, so I told them about hyperempiria (Gibbons & Lynn, 2010), indicating that this was a new and especially powerful technique which would enable him to experience higher states of awareness while his body remained asleep, thereby focusing his mind more effectively on the suggestions for the relief of pain. He was eager to try any new procedure which might bring about greater relief. (This procedure was later expanded to teach people to escape suffering by feeling as if they were traveling to another universe and leaving their suffering behind. For more details, See Gibbons & Woods, 2016).

As the induction proceeded, I asked him to picture himself relaxing deeply in the basket of a large balloon, which was about to lift off. I suggested that as the balloon began straining at the ropes which held it, his body was sinking deeper and deeper into a deep, sound sleep. As the balloon began to rise. I suggested that his consciousness would rise along with it, until he entered hyperempiria. I elaborated upon this combined induction until he appeared to become highly involved with my suggestions, and then proceeded with my suggestions for healing and pain control.

The client later reported that his pain had considerably lessened. I showed him how to include autosuggestions for hyperempiria into his self-hypnosis routine, and his wife subsequently told me, "I often see him going upstairs in the middle of the day, and when I ask him where he is going, he tells me,'I'm going for a balloon ride!"

The client and his wife have remained in occasional contact. In our most recent telephone conversation, two years after hyperempiric suggestions were incorporated into his self-hypnosis routine, the client reported that although some pain sensations remained after taking his medication, the combination of prescribed medication plus hypnotic and hyperempiric suggestions together provided the greatest amount of relief


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.

Gibbons, D. E., & Woods, K. T. Virtual reality hypnosis: Adventures in the multiverse. Amazon Books, 2016. (Both print and Kindle editions are available.)


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Riding Through a Rainbow -- Into the Multiverse!

We've come a long way since the days when everybody "knew" that the world was flat and the Sun revolves around the Earth. Today, world-renowned physicists such as Stephen Hawking are talking about alternate and parallel universes as if they are already being taken for granted. For example, when he was recently asked what he thought of a teenage heartthrob breaking the hearts of millions of girls by leaving a popular music group, Professor Hawking urged the questioner to pay particular attention to the study of physics because, in the near future, we may know enough about parallel universes that she can discover that she is living in a parallel universe in which she is actually married to this man.

Clients who respond well to hypnosis can already experience what it would be like to visit an alternate universe and put the lessons to work in their own lives. Is riding through a rainbow into the Multiverse just a powerful teaching metaphor, or are the participants really there? Who cares?  I tell my clients straight up that I don't know whether or not they are actually there -- but the experiences are real, and that's what counts.  if the suggested experiences are meaningful enough in the life of the person who undergoes them, they will be effective whether they are actually true or not (Sarbin & De Rivera, 1998),

Hypnotic Suggestions for Multiversal Travel

I like to use the imagery of riding through a rainbow to suggest to clients who respond well to hypnosis that they are traveling to another universe. Every perfectly formed rainbow contains exactly the same colors, in exactly the same order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.  (They can easily be remembered by using the acronym, Roy G. Biv.) After a traditional hypnotic induction and deepening, I suggest pleasant hyperempiric experiences (Gibbons & Lynn, 2010) and emotions associated with each color as the client passes through them one by one, culminating with the suggestion that the transition to another universe is now complete.  This enables me to provide any number of precisely-calibrated life-changing experiences in the Multiverse before returning to the present universe by riding backwards through the bands of the rainbow in reverse order.. 

Here is an abbreviated version of the suggestions that I use. (The full script is available in Gibbons & Woods, 2016), If the client has any previous associations to a particular color, perception in hypnosis is sufficiently fluid that they will be temporarily overridden, at least for the duration of the session:

Now the scene is changing, and we are about to travel through a rainbow to another universe. All of the bad things that have happened to you in this universe never happened at all in the one we are going to now. Your life in the universe we are going to has always been a happy one.

We are standing on the top of a tall mountain, which is covered with clouds after a sudden shower. One end of a large rainbow is touching the ground right in front of us. 

We walk up to the rainbow and step inside the first band, which is bright red in color -- and as we do, you can feel yourself drifting very rapidly deeper into hypnosis..

Red is s the color of strength, and the color of love. Soak it up, and make it a part of you. You are a child of the multiverse, and able to achieve experiences which your fellow human beings have not yet even dreamed of.

As you continue sinking farther into hypnosis with every word that I speak and with every second that passes, we are entering the next band of the rainbow, which is a deep orange. Orange is the color of happiness.  
Each time that we enter these higher realms of being, you enjoy it more; you go farther and gain new insights and a deeper appreciation of the true nature of reality. And the farther you go, the farther you want to go; and the farther you go, the farther you’re able to go, the more peaceful and the more beautiful and the more enjoyable the experience becomes.

As we enter the third band of the rainbow, which is a deep yellow, you can feel its healing warmth penetrating to the very core of your being. Feel its warmth enveloping you from head to toe, leaving your entire body flooded with relaxation, healing, and peace.

Now, we are entering the green band of light. Green is the color of renewal. Because time passes so much more slowly in hypnosis, even though we may have been gone for just a few minutes,it can seem as if we had been gone for an eternity, and the benefits of our journey will be increased in direct proportion to the time that it feels like we have been away.

Now we are traveling through the band of blue, which is the color of Heaven, and the color of Eternity -- infinite, beyond infinity, and eternal beyond all measure of eternity, more real and more beautiful than anything else could possibly be.

Next, we move on to the band of indigo, which is the mental power that is becoming yours in ever increasing amounts, as we continue to explore the joys and wonders of these higher realms of being; for the spark of Divinity within you is nothing less than the energy of the Multiverse itself.

Now we move on to the band of violet, which is the color of serenity. All previous separations no longer exist, and all boundaries have vanished. It's only the separation from this infinite ocean of rapture, wonder, ecstasy, and delight -- it’s only the separation from this infinite ocean of bliss -- that is the source of all unhappiness, all depression, all anxiety, all loneliness, sdand all despair.

Soak it up, and make it a part of you; for as you continue to practice these techniques, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is the treasure that your life will become, as our explorations in these higher levels of existence continue to change your life forever into a thing of wondrous beauty,


The therapeutic and growth potential for providing these types of corrective experiences of this type is obvious. In a Cosmos in which the number of alternate 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 time, and space, to satisfy our deepest longings, enhance our self-esteem, and  overcome feelings of unhappiness, loneliness, anger, and despair. And, regardless of whatever else may be going on in our lives, if we can “get away” to an alternate universe where time as we know it does not exist, we can come back feeling as refreshed as if we had been away for a week, a month, or it might even seem as if we had been gone for an eternity.. 

This technique is particularly useful for relieving the experience of pain. People with a good imagination can use it to travel to a parallel universe in their mind which is exactly like our own, except for the fact that their pain is either greatly diminished or does not exist at all,.

In parallel universes which possess dimensions of reality similar to our own, and in which anything that can happen actually does happen, we can experience, and actually live out, the full rewards of future goals in order to provide ourselves with the energy and motivation to achieve them in the present. We can become truly free to want to do what we know we ought to do, in order to develop our potential to the fullest, thereby eliminating the need for what is popularly referred to as "will power!" As the client is basking in the satisfaction of the goals he or she has already achieved in a parallel universe, one can suggest: "With practice, you will be able to feel this kind of fulfillment here, in this life, whenever you put your whole self into working towards the goal you have chosen. As you remember the goal which you have already achieved in a parallel universe, you will be able to believe it will happen, expect it to happen, and feel it happening. And eventually , you will be able to act, think, and feel as if it were impossible to fail!" 

For those who believe in reincarnation, in the Multiverse, where past, present, and future exist together and time curves back upon itself, it is no longer necessary to conceive of the soul having to slowly progress in linear fashion from one lifetime to the next, in order to derive the lessons of each separate existence before progressing on to the next one. In the Multiverse, you can systematically weave back and forth between past, parallel, and future lifetimes, in order to enrich your present existence with the experiences gleaned from the others.

Using the power of virtual reality hypnosis, Sweethearts, soul mates, and reincarnated lovers can experience in hypnosis an awareness of life in an alternate or parallel universe in which they occupy different and superbly attractive bodies, thereby satisfying their need for variety while simultaneously deepening and enhancing the affectionate bond between them. The couple can also experience at will, and as often as they choose, the most memorable experiences of any number of lifetimes, such as a proposal, an ideal wedding night, a honeymoon, or conceiving a child together. 

Taken together, alternate and parallel universes constitute a Multiverse of all possible experiences, which can be individually tailored to suit the needs of anyone whose imagination is sufficiently developed to undergo them. 

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.

Gibbons, D. E., & Woods, K. T. Virtual reality hypnosis: Adventures in the multiverse. Amazon Books, 2016. (Both print and Kindle editions are available.)

Sarbin, T. R., & De Rivera, (1998). Believed-in imaginings: The narrative construction of reality (memory, trauma, dissociation, and hypnosis). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


(c) Don E. Gibbons, 2016

Virtual Reality Hypnosis: Exploring Parallel and Alternate Universes

We've come a long way since the days when everybody “knew” that the world was flat and the Sun revolves around the Earth, but most of us don’t realize exactly how far. World-renowned physicists such as Stephen Hawking are now talking quite seriously about the existence of alternate and parallel universes, in which everything that can happen actually does happen. For example, when Professor Hawking was recently asked what he thought about teenage heartthrob Zayn Malik breaking the hearts of millions of girls by leaving a popular rock group, he urged the questioner to pay particular attention to the study of physics because, in the near future, we may know enough about parallel universes that she can discover that she is living in a parallel universe in which she is actually married to this man.

You don't have to actually live in an alternate or parallel universe to have the experience of doing so. We already have been able to use mechanical systems of virtual reality to extend the range of our physical senses, principally sight and hearing. But in the current edition of the American Psychological Association’s Handbook of Clinical Hypnosis, Steve Lynn and I (Gibbons & Lynn, 2008) describe the use BEST ME technique of multimodal suggestion to involve one’s whole person in the content of a suggested experience.

By using our adult ability to conceptualize in hypnosis, Kelley Woods and I show you you how you can create and access a limitless number of resource states, in an unlimited number of parallel universes, in which anything that we are able to imagine actually does happen, and return a better person than you were before you left. (Gibbons & Woods, 2016).

Hang on, Folks, here we go. Let us serve as your interstellar guides to the multiverses that await...


Gibbons, D. E., & Lynn, S. J. (2008). Hypnotic inductions: A primer. In Ruhe, J. W., Lynn, S. J., & Kirsch, I. (Eds.) Handbook of clinical hypnosis, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Assn.

Gibbons, D. E., & Woods, K. T. (2016) Virtual reality hypnosis: Exploring alternate and parallel universes. Amazon Books, 2016. (Both print and Kindle editions are available.)