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 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.

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Clinicsl Applications of Parallel Universe Therapy

Her is an example of how I use parallel universe therapy in my practice, using a procedure which I refer to as the Best Me Technique to include the client's whole person in the content of a suggested experience without the need for mechanically based virtual reality. With all the hullabaloo which mechanically based systems of virtual reality have created, and with all the money that is cuttently being spent on them, it is worth pointing out once more what we as hypnotists can do with high responders using just the power of suggestion (Gibbons & Woods, 2016). 

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 (Gibbons & Lynn, 2008), 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.

Expectations may be structured concerning the manner in which the participant will look forward to and remember suggested events which will occur in the future, and the manner in which suggested experiences will subsequently be recalled and interpreted in memory.

I was working with a client who has PTSD, stemming primarily from previous sexual abuse by her husband. She married him on her eighteenth birthday in order to get away from home. He was from South America, and only stayed married to her long enough to get his Green Card to become a U.S citizen. He would watch pornography morning, noon, and night, and masturbate in front of her. When they did have sex, it was "all for himself," as she put it.

After a spree of wild promiscuity induced by anger at her husband, ("World, here I am!" she once said to me, in reference to this period in her life). she began living with a pilot who was several years older than she was, with whom she had fallen in love. But, every time they got emotionally too close for comfort, it would trigger her previous trauma. She would turn hostile and pick a quarrel, nagging him endlessly until they would briefly break up. 

Using the Best Me Technique to provide suggestions to induce a higher state of awareness via the Rainbow Enhancement described in a previous posting, I provided suggestions as follows:

B. In this higher state of consciousness and in this higher level of reality, focus the power of your mind to recapture and concentrate into one single moment, all of the love that you and your lover have shared in the past. If you can believe in it you can believe it, and if you can believe it you can make it happen!

E Now,  multiply  this love 10 times over. Believe it will happen, expect it to happen, and feel it happening!

S, Concentrate this love and send it  to him like a laser beam. Feel it now, flowing into every fiber and muscle and nerve of his body and feel him beaming it back to you.  Believe it will happen, expect to happen, and feel it happening!

T His love for you is now so great that it is impossible for him to be romantically or physically or emotionally attracted to anyone else.

M.  Your fears of abandonment have been eliminated, and you are able now to surrender yourself to loving him totally and completely, in body, heart, mind, and spirit.

E. Whenever you and he make love in the future, you will be so intensely aroused and so highly responsive that it will fulfill you as a woman more deeply than anything you have never known before. Let yourself believe in it with every ounce of strength that is in you If you can believe in it, you can believe it; and if you can believe it,  you can make it happen!

Charles Tart has a chapter in his book, Altered States of Consciousness, entitled "Mutual Hypnosis," which describes how one partner can hypnotize the other and then the latter partner, while hypnotized, hypnotizes the former one. After providing the suggestions described above, I provide an opportunity for my client to mentally make love to her boyfriend, while I remain silent to protect her privacy and allow her to imagine every detail of the experience herself, in much more intimate detail than I would be able to. Perhaps this might be called "co-hypnosis," as opposed to self-hypnosis or mutual hypnosis, since I performed the induction and the termination, and let her take over and direct the experience herself during the most sensitive portions.

No matter how freely they discuss the intimate details of their lovemaking, there are still certain explicit details which they might prefer to remain private. The following application of the Best Me Technique allows a client to pave over previous experiences which have inhibited their ability to completely let go during the most intimate moments of the act of love:

The client had told me that she is especially fond of making love in the woods behind the house which she shares with her boyfriend. After the foregoing suggestions were given, I would proceed as follows:

 B. Now the scene is changing once again, and you and your lover are all alone in the woods. He has brought a blanket with him, and he and spreading it out on the ground so that you can make love under the stars.

 E. We are going to use this passion to pave over all of the thoughts that have been bothering you Believe it will happen expect it to happen, and feel it happening.

 S, as the night slowly passes, you Join. so ├žompletely in  mind, and body and spirit that you have become one in every sense of the word. Believe it will happen, expect it to happen, and feel it happening.

 Now I will stop speaking for a few moments so that you can guide the rest of the experience yourself.

 [After about a five-minute pause;]

T. Finally, as the sky above you begins to lighten, you sink back exhausted with joy, The intrusive thoughts you may have had in the past have been completely covered over by the power of your love,  and you are truly one in body, heart, mind, and spirit.

 M  You will have neither the energy nor the inclination for thoughts of   any other type of release; for your fulfillment here as a woman [or a man]  has led you to joy beyond your wildest dreams

 E.. And each time that these hypnotic experiences are repeated, they will become more vivid,more desirable, more intense and more fulfilling.

The client reported that these suggestions were effective in ending their pattern of frequent quarrels resulting in a temporary breakup whenever their emotional relationship became too intense. She referred to the current portion of their relationship as a "honeymoon." The last time I saw her, however, she said that the old fears had surfaced once more.

I suggested that this time, she and her boyfriend would be making love in a parallel universe, in which the stormy and traumatic events which she experienced during her adolescence and early adulthood never happened. 

She is employed as a flight attendant, and on this latest visit she had to leave her phone on because she was on call for the upcoming Thanksgiving week end. Halfway into the self-directed portion of the experience, her phone went off. She gave no indication of having heard it. I apologetically spoke to her, and she opened her eyes as if being awakened from a nap. The caller turned out to be her brother. "We have twenty minutes to respond," she told me, and decided to turn the phone off for the remainder of the session.

"Now you can go all the way back into hypnosis, very rapidly," I said, and began an abbreviated progressive relaxation induction to take her back to the portion of the experience where she was making love to her boyfriend in the woods, and directing the experience herself.

A few seconds into this induction, she giggled suddenly. I stopped and asked her what was the matter. She sad, "I didn't know I could go all the way back there so fast. WHEEE!" We both laughed, and I completed the induction. She later reported that the experience was highly effective.

When I last heard from her, she and her Pilot boyfriend were looking for a house in the Pocono Mountains -- near a school!

References

Gibbons, D. E., & Lynn, S. J. (2008). Hyonotic 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 unniverses. Amazon Books, 2016. 










Friday, June 22, 2018

Is the Multiverse Really Dangerous?

"Help! I'm a student in Dr. Gibbons' Introductory Psychology class!"
When I first opened my psychology practice in Manahawkin, New Jersey, one of my first hypnosis clients asked me, "You aren't going to turn me into al chicken, are you?"

"No," I replied, somewhat taken aback. 'That's for stage hypnotists. If I did it, it wouldn't be professional." But I did once. . . .

Several years ago, when I was discussing the topic of hypnosis in an Introductory Psychology class, I asked a student who had volunteered in a previous demonstration if she would be willing to help me illustrate how easy it was to turn a hypnotized person into a chicken. She readily agreed, and at the conclusion of an induction, I told her that I would count backwards from ten to one, and that at the count of one she would have been turned into a chicken.

"You will always be able to hear and to respond to my voice," I continued, "and I will return you to your normal state in a few minutes, before I bring you out of hypnosis. But until I do, you will experience the world exactly as if you had been turned into a chicken. You will remember everything I have said, and it will be a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Okay?"

She nodded in agreement, and I counted slowly backwards from ten to one, providing suggestions along the way that she could feel herself changing into a chicken; and at the count of one, I announced that she had become a chicken. "Would you like to open your eyes and walk around a bit?" I asked. She did so, walking slowly as I took hold of her elbow. "Why are you walking like that?" I asked.

"I'm a chicken," she answered in a high, cackly voice, much to the amusement of the class.

I guided her back to her desk, counted from one to ten to restore usual perceptions, and then concluded the hypnotic demonstration. I then asked her if she had really felt like she was a chicken, and she slowly and thoughtfully nodded in agreement. 

But if she really believed that she was a chicken, why did she not scurry away in fear as soon as I approached her desk? Why did she allow me to slowly walk her around the room, limping slightly, instead of struggling to get away, as a real chicken would surely do? Why did she answer my question about why she was limping by answering, "I'm a chicken!?" And why were the suggestions so easy to undo, as if she understood English as well as she ever did?

We could talk about a "hidden observer" that always knows what's going on and maintains control, no how matter deeply a person is hypnotized, as Hilgard did. We could talk about "trance logic," which is similar to the logic which is found in dreams, as Martin Orne did. But why should we infer the presence of any fancy mental processes when they are not needed?

What she had actually believed and responded toIMHO, was the narrative of what had taken place! She knew that she was a student in my class, and she knew that she had consented for me to hypnotize her. She still had the kind of "Alice-in-Wonderland" imagination which we all have as children, but most of us lose as we become adults. Therefore, she was also able to act, think, and feel as if she were a chicken for the purpose of a class demonstration.  

The demonstration described here was undertaken in the spirit of fun, and everyone understood that. However, as  long as the suggested narratives are real to the person who undergoes them, their transformational effects on the personality can be powerful indeed! With our adult ability to conceptualize, we can build an almost unlimited number of resource states, in an unlimited number of parallel universes in which anything that can happen really does happen,. In the words of the mystical poet, William Blake, experiential hypnosis enables us, 


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.

Infinity? No problem. Eternity? Check. "Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour?" Hang on, here we go. , , ,

See also:

What is Hypnosis and How does it Work?


Print Reference

Sarbin, T. R., & De Rivera, J. (1998),  Believed-in imaginings: The Narrative Construction of Reality (Memory, Trauma, Dissociation, and Hypnosis) . Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.




Trump and Hitler: The Psychology Behind the Myth

In view of the recent indictments of  an organized Russian group working to influence U.S. elections in favor of Donald Trump, and the disclosures of his recent affairs with Playboy and porn stars, many of my psychology clients have been asking whether or not Trump's success might be due to his using  hyperempiria, or NLP, especially because his major sources of support seem to be Fundamentalist Christians. Whenever you use "alternative facts" in place of the real ones, as his former spokesperson Kellyann Conway admitted, it is an attempt to harness the power of suggestion. But if no induction is used and if the situation is not defined as hypnosis, why are suggestions which may strike many people as bizarre still sometimes effective?

A recent article in Psychology Today stated that half of all Americans couldn't come up with a sudden demand for $450 in a crisis. Although Trump may be unwittingly using some techniques which are commonly referred to in lay hypnosis circles as NLP or neuro-linguistic programming, almost everyone now agrees that there are a lot of angry voters out there. on both the right and the left, who supported Trump because they feel that the system has failed them (see below).



My wife grew up in New Jersey, and I have lived here for 25 years. We have read the first-hand newspaper accounts of how Trump has bankrupted several casinos and walked away with millions, paid his workers sub-standard wages, and stiffed his contractors by paying them much less than they were actually owed. Beneath his outward bluster lies a narcissistic personality disorder with antisocial traits, but don't just take my word for it. Here's a link to a story in The Independent which bears the headline, "Donald Trump has Dangerous Mental Illness, say Psychiatry Experts at Yale Conference." (His recent psychiatric examination was not a test for personality disorders.)

It is generally agreed that people often tend to make up their minds based on emotions rather than  facts, and hear what they want to hear in order to confirm these emotionally-based opinions. Trump's base has shrunken only slightly, but there are a lot of people who stayed home during the last national election because they didn't like either candidate and are now as energized as a space probe. This time, it will become increasingly difficult for special interest groups to persuade these energized voters either not to vote at all, or to vote against their own best interests. 

Is President Trump using hypnosis, hyperempiria, or NLP, then? No, but he has his NRA backers, his Russian data miners, and his dog-whistle racism. Hitler, on the other hand, limited his "alternative facts" to only two: the alleged superiority or the German race and the allegation that all the difficulties the Germans had suffered were due to a "world Jewish conspiracy." If Hitler were living in twenty-first century America, these beliefs would probably be categorized by mental health professionals under the diagnostic categories of narcissistic personality disorder, delusional disorder grandiose type and delusional disorder persecutory type. 

Hitler also taught that a big lie would be believed easier than a little one if it were repeated often enough, so by and large he restricted his big lies to only these two, with other lies invoked in support of them.

The most important reason that Trump does not pose as much of a danger as Hitler did is obvious. Hitler was a much better speaker! He even made use of lighting, symbols, and audience involvement to drive home his points. Here, with English subtitles, is one of his classic speeches. Judge for yourself.




Note that after Hitler boasts to his cheering supporters that he has eliminated all sources of political opposition, Deputy Fuehrer Rudolf  Hess strode to the platform at the conclusion of his speech, and ecstatically proclaimed that the Party was Hitler, and Hitler and Germany were one, thereby making Hitler's power absolute.

Trump has gone a long way towards capturing the Republican Party, but he is unable to eliminate other political parties as Hitler did.  With the recent horrifying visual images of weeping children being ripped from their mothers' arms and being abused and drugged in order to control them, what has now become the Party of Trump is probably headed for a series of defeats at the polls as his support gradually erodes. 

But why are Trump's followers so loyal that they have made the Republican Party the Party of Trump? There is a powerful force called cognitive dissonance which makes us reluctant to admit that we have been wrong, especially when made a previous commitment to it. This is what doomed Hitler's followers to eventual destruction because they could not admit that their leader was a pathological narcissist and this is what is currently in the process of destroying the Republican Party in the United States. Here is how cognitive dissonance works in a romantic relationship with a narcissist. The parallels with a political relationship with a narcissist, whether we are talking about Trump or Hitler, will be readily apparent.
















  
  

What is Hyperempiria?

Evolution did not come to a screeching halt with the first bipeds who could accurately be labeled homo sapiens. We have been developing the powers of the mind in new and exciting ways ever since. However, the more highly evolved among us frequently need the services of a hypnotist to function as an enabler, coach, or personal trainer to show us how to use these emerging abilities with confidence, because they are so different from the current patterns of thought which we are used to in everyday life

Confucius said, “Tell me and I may not remember. Show me and I may forget. Involve me and I will understand.” This type of stress can best be counteracted by the type of hypnotic involvement which allows us to experience first-hand a reality in which all the negative things that ever happened have been paved over with joy, and bring the lessons of these experiences back with us.

There are many altered experiences of consciousness which are induced by procedures designed to increase tension, alertness, and physical activity rather than by expressed or implied suggestions of diminished awareness which are commonly grouped under the term hypnosis. Banyai and Hilgard (1976) specifically mention the 'spontaneous' trance states occurring during certain religious gatherings among the Holy Rollers, Snake Charmers, and other revivalist groups (Sargant, 1957, Williams, 1958). Comparable results are found during tribal ceremonies (Field, 1960; Murphy, 1964), in the famous trance-dances in Bali (Sargant, 1957), the fire-walkers trance (Thomas, 1934), and the ecstatic trance of the "howling or "whirling" dervishes (Williams, 1958). In the more advanced cultures highly suggestible mental states have been produced by grilling or brainwashing (Sargant, 1957), and a hyper kinetic trance appears to be associated with the emotional contagion encountered in a group or mob setting (LaBarre, 1962).


Banyai and Hilgard went on to describe a now-classic experiment in which 50 subjects rode a bicycle ergometer under load, keeping their eyes open while exercising and receiving suggestions of alertness. This was randomly alternated with a standard hypnotic induction procedure using eye fixation and relaxation, and the results were measured by eight tests of responses to suggestion. Both conditions, on average, produced about the same increase in responsiveness to suggestion, and the highly susceptible subjects reported that in both cases altered states were achieved. The authors concluded,"The results obtained in the experiment suggest that by our completely active-alert hypnotic induction procedure it is possible to induce a state in which all the important characteristics of hypnosis occur, except the resemblance to sleep .. . .Although the subjective alterations differed between the two kinds of induction, the highly susceptible reported that in both cases altered states were achieved" (p, 221).

When the Hare Krishna movement was at its height in the United States, we invited the group to present at our graduate psychology colloquium at West Georgia College. Their presentation included a group chant, which began calmly enough; but after a few moments, the room seemed to explode with emotion as their chant reached a crescendo which continued for several minutes. It was obvious that the participants had entered an experiential trance which, according to their own statements, was both the focus and the energizing force which empowered their movement.


Most of us are also familiar with the details of the Mesmeric "crises," and how they resulted in either temporary or permanent "cures" of many ailments which today we would refer to as psychosomatic or hysterical in nature.

I conducted some research which links being exponentially gifted with the ability to experience the Fundamentalist experience of "salvation", which many people describe as a life-changing event (Gibbons, 1988; Gibbons & DeJarnette, 1972). Hyperempiria,or suggestion-enhanced experience, has also been found to be helpful in facilitating meditation and prayer, and for such diverse experiences as the alleviation of depression and the enhancement of personal intimacy through experiences of mystical intensity (Gibbons & Woods, 2016).


References


Banyai, E. I., & Hilgard, E. R. (1976). A comparison of active-alert hypnotic induction with traditional relaxation induction. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 85,pp. 218-224
.
Field, M.Search for security: An ethnopsychialric study of rural Ghana.Evanston, Il: Northwestern University Press, 1960.


Gibbons, D. E. (1988) Were you saved or were you hypnotized?The Humanist, pp. 17-19.

Gibbons, D. E. & De Jarnette, J. (1972). Hypnotic susceptibility and religious experience.Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 11(2), pp. 152-156.

Gibbons, D. E., & Woods, K. T. (2016). Virtual reality hypnosis: Explorations in the Multiverse. Amazon Books.

LaBarre, W. They shall take up serpents. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1 9 6 2.


Murphy, J. Psychotherapeutic aspects of shamanism on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. in A. Kiev (Ed.),Magic, Faith, and Healing.New York: Free Press of Glencoe, 1964.


Sargent, W.Battle for the Mind.Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1957.
Thomas, E. The fire walk. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research,1934.42,292-309.

Williams, G. W. Hypnosis in perspective. In L. M. LeCron (Ed.), Experimental Hypnosis. New York: Macmillan, 1958.

The Function of Hypnosis in Human Evolution



      Where do We Go from Here?
If I were to walk up to a person who responds extremely well to suggestion, ask him to close his eyes, and matter-of-factly state that by the time I got to the count of five he could open them and see me wearing a Santa Claus suit and hat, he would surely think that I was crazy. And if such a suggestion should actually happen to "work," he would surely think that he was crazy! But if I first asked him to close his eyes and suggested with sufficient plausibility that he was "going into hypnosis," and then I told him that by the time I got to the count of five he could open his eyes and see me dressed like Santa Claus, such a suggestion could be accepted much more easily because it would have become more credible -- but why?


Some people never know that they are color-blind -- that they lack an important ability possessed by the rest of us. Now let's consider the opposite. What if there should dwell among us a group of individuals who have an ability that is lacking in most of the population? Wouldn't they also be inclined to deny it, in order to fit in with the rest of the society?  Bur the question remains, where do these abilities come from, and what is their ultimate purpose? 

There is little doubt that our evolutionary development has been uneven.. We have highly developed frontal lobes which enable us to formulate lofty ideals and distant goals, but all too often our emotional centers prevent us from achieving them. More than once in the last century, we have come close to annihilating each other; and many societal institutions are devoted in whole or in part to regulating our behavior so that we do not do so individually. 


With the use of multimodal hypnosis to involve one's entire person the content of a suggested event,, it becomes possible for this imaginatively gifted group pf individuals, more highly evolved than the rest, to pre-experience the rewards of distant goals now, in the present when they are most important for motivation, making it much easier to live up to the goals and ideals which evolution has enabled us to construct, but which we have frequently found it difficult to achieve, due to what is often referred to as a lack of "will power.". 

Many cosmologists now believe in the existence of alternate universes, and since our brain constructs our own reality, it is not necessary to restrict ourselves to possible outcomes in this universe. Using alternate and parallel universes as merely one more form of hypothetical constructs or believed-in imaginings, you can selectively sample from the best moments of every parallel lifetime you can possibly imagine, speed-walking on the path of enlightenment,  and you can directly explore the joys and wonders of the Multiverse itself, ti pave the way for all humankind to one day follow..


 References
Gibbons, D. E., & Woods, K. T. (2016) Virtual reality hypnosis: Exploring alternate andarallel universes. Amazon Books, (Both print and Kindle editions are available.) 
Sarbin, T. R. (1998). Believed-in Imaginings. New York: Barnes & Noble
 




Exploring Parallel Universes and Changing Lives

To borrow a line from Charles Dickens, “One thing must be clearly understood, or no good can come from this story I am about to tell.” Our brain creates our own reality  out of what William James called the “buzzing, blooming confusion” of raw sensory input which bombards us from every direction.  Since no two people have exactly the same set of experiences, what we believe to be  “reality’ is  actually an individually constructed parallel universe which only partially intersects with those constructed by others.


A skilled hypnotist can use the brain’s ability to construct a parallel universe to change a life narrative from one of worry, doubt, self distrust, fear, and despair to one of triumph, regardless of the life circumstances in which people currently happen to find themselves..


Recently, Kelley Woods and I have been using the BEST ME Technique of multi modal hypnosis as a systematic, comprehensive method for involving one's entire being in a suggested experience without the need for any mechanically constructed systems of virtual reality (Gibbons & Woods, 2016).  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 that I can accomplish anything,;” Here are their stories Judge for yourself:


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.)

Sunday, June 17, 2018

How to Train Yourself NOT to Be Anxious

With 99% of the same genes as our closest monkey cousins, the chimpanzees, it's no wonder that under the pressures of modern life, the tendency to become anxious can sometimes spiral out of control! This brief posting is not intended to serve as a substitute for counseling or therapy. If anxiety has begun to affect your personal or work relationships, you should definitely seek the services of a duly licensed mental health professional. However,for many everyday situations, the following information may be helpful in correcting the habits that can sometimes get us into trouble.

It is generally agreed that cognitive-behavioral psychology is the fastest-growing oreintation within the profession. There is also a rapidly-accumulating body of evidence that it actually works! Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, may be summarized as the study of the relationship between thinking, feeling, and behavior.  Just as physical therapists can provide you with exercises to improve physical functioning, cognitive-behavioral therapists provide exercises to develop more effective psychological adjustments.


The information below was garnered from several different sources, and provides you with a variety of useful forms and worksheets so that you can use whatever combination of these CBT tools you find most helpful for training yourself not to be anxious The information referred to in any of the links below can be downloaded from your computer by clicking on the link and using the print command on your computer. 


Cognitive-behavioral therapists frequently use a document called a thought record in order to examine just what goes on when we keep making those angry responses that keep getting us into trouble. Here is what one looks like, courtesy of www.getselfhelp.co.uk. They also provide a summary of the STOPP technique, which they describe as "CBT in a nutshell," and which can be summed up in one sentence: "Try not to act merely in the moment. Pull back from the situation. Take a wider view; compose yourself." Following is a hypothetical example of how the anxiety thought record form might be used to see a situation from a different perspective, using the example of being suddenly cut off in traffic by another car, with the column headings in italics and one set of possible responses in standard type. You can practice using these forms for a number of other hypothetical situations, or situations that have actually made you angry in the past, in order to be prepared for a variety of possible situations in the future. 

Situation: A car suddenly swerves in front of you and slows down, causing you to slam on your brakes in order to avoid hitting it.


Feelings, Emotions,:  An increase in heartbeat and blood pressure, clenched jaw, faster brething.


Emotions/Moods (rate 0-100%):  Anxiety


Physical Sensations & Reactions: Swearing, gripping the steering wheel


Unhelpful Thoughts/Images:  Urge to speed up and pass the car in front of you, honk at the driver, make an angry gesture, and cut back in front of him.


What I Did/What I Could Do/What's the Best Response? (Re-Rate Emotion 0-100%)  Realize that the emotion will pass in a few moments, but if you act on it the situation could escalate and possibly lead to serious complications.



The ABC Worksheet from www.smartrecovery.org, which is downloadable as an Adobe pdf file, 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 not only for controlling anxiety, but also for everything from paying your bills on time, to stopping smoking, or deciding on which career path to follow. 

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 put enough thought into it to give it a try!


Finally, the folks at www.smartrecovery.org have a tool chest of resources which is a treasure-trove for people who want to alter hard-to-change behaviors of every type.They have prepared a selection of tips and tricks for managing anxiety in such a manner that in many instances you can not merely control it, you can get rid of it!  Here is a partial list of some of the other materials which they have to offer. The information may be downloaded free of charge by using the print command on your computer, although donations are encouraged. Here is a partial list of some of the materials which they have to offer:

Of course, training yourself not to be anxious is going to take time and patience. However, once you get the hang of it, if you continue to do these mental workouts as regularly as you would exercise physically in a gymnasium, you will  be able to think, feel, and act in a calm and confident manner in almost any situation. On the other hand, if you do not use the CBT Thought Record to identify your triggers and the other choices that you have, you might very well continue to feel anxiety when you know you it could continue to get you into trouble, but never do much about it. 

Just as reading a book on surgery will not make you into a surgeon, and reading an exercise manual will not build muscles, merely reading a Blog posting on how to train yourself to avoid anxuety will not be enough to enable you to get rid of it. People who practice meditation, for example, do not hope to attain enlightenment merely by reading about it!  Regular practice using the thought record for a variety of situations is the key to success. 


Confucius said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." But once you have taken that step, you have to keep going. The two rules for success in any self-improvement program are: 1) Begin, and 2) Don't stop!  If you frequently experience problems with anger, you should have plenty of motivation to follow both of these rules. No matter how long the journey, cognitive-behavioral psychology, especially when undertaken with professional guidance, can be of great assistance in successfully reaching your destination!

See also: 
How to Keep Your Boss from Driving You Crazy
Toxic People who can Wreck Your Life