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.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pre-Achieving Your Goals in the Multiverse

 If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty Seconds' Worth of Distance Run
Yours is the Earth, and all that's in it.

When we have a long-twem goal whose rewards are in the future, we need those rewards now to give us the motivation to get there -- but all too often, we can't keep ourselves on track.. We try to use “will power” in an attempt to spur ourselves onward. We tell ourselves how important the goal really is, congratulating ourselves when we are able to stay on track, and mentally “beating ourselves up” when we don’t work as hard we think we ought to. We attempt to bridge this gap between present efforts and future sources of satisfaction when by daydreaming. Autosuggestion, "positive thinking," affirmations, visualization, and fantasy techniques often don't help very much either, because they still don't do enough to involve the whole person in the satisfactions of goal attainment. Eventually, even though our long-term goal remains as attractive as ever, our motivation begins to falter, and sooner or later we give up. 

In the Multiverse -- the Universe of ll possible Universes -- you are living in a parallel lifetime in which youhave already achieved your goal and are basking in its rewards. By projecting your imagination into this parallel Universe where your goal has already been attained, you will have access to the rewards of these goals now, in the this life, where they are most needed for motivation; and when ypu return you will be able to act, think, and feel as if it were impossible to fail! 

The Best Me Technique (Gibbons, 2001) is a method of suggestion-enhanced experience for involving the whole person in the content of a suggested event, which enables those who are properly trained in this procedure to experience now, in the present and in concentrated form, the rewards and satisfactions which would not normally be theirs until a goal has been achieved. This in turn can provide the motivational fuel to pursue whatever goal we may have chosen, no matter how distant or difficult that goal might otherwise appear.

Each element of the Best Me Technique corresponds with a dimension of experience (Beliefs, Emotions, Sensations and physical perceptions, Thoughts and images, Motives, and Expectations); and these elements can be combined in a variety of ways. In the hyperempiric episode which follows, the Best Me Technique is used to pre-experience the rewards of a graduation ceremony in order to enhance the motivation to purseue a course of study leading to an academic degree. However, the Best Me Technique can also be used to as part of a comprehensive program to enhance performance in other areas, such as athletics, music, dance, and theater or as part of a program to lose weight, or to  become a non-smoker, or to rid oneself of other forms of addiction.

The suggestions are presented in B-E-S-T-M-E order for the sake of illustration; but in actual use, Best Me suggestions may be repeated in any order and varied and repeated as often as necessary in order to maximize involvement with their content, much as one might repeat the verses and choruses of a song. Rather than memorizing a specific set of suggestions or reading them to the client as a script, I usually count out the steps of the Best Me Technique on my fingers as I am improvising an induction or a therapeutic suggestion, going back and forth to make sure that I have adequately covered them all. This gives me more freedom to individualize my suggestions to better meet the needs of each individual, and to use their body language to gauge the speed and content of my delivery.

The incentive value of the Best Me Technique can be further enhanced by pre-experiencing the rewarding results of other situations related to the goal, such as celebrating at a graduation party with friends and family, or relaxing on the deck of a cruise ship on a much-deserved vacation after the degree is actually in hand. It is also helpful to pre-experience the rewards of sub-goals along the way, such as doing well on an upcoming major examination, or enjoying semester the break in the certain knowledge that one is on the way to a pre-determined and inevitable success. At the conclusion of an appropriate hypnotic or hyperempiric induction, suggestions similar to the following may be given, with appropriate repetition and elaboration, much as one might vary the verses and choruses of a song. 

Belief systems. Now you can feel your awareness of the present beginning to fade, as you become ever more clearly aware of yourself seated at your graduation ceremony, waiting to go up and receive your diploma. Just picture the scene, and imagine yourself excitedly waiting there, until it becomes just as real and just as clear to you as if it is happening right now.
 Emotions. Let yourself feel an ever increasing sense of pride and achievement as you savor this moment to the fullest. As you look around at your fellow graduates and at the crowd of family, friends, and well wishers who have come to share in your success, you can truly rejoice in the thrill of all you have worked so hard to accomplish.
Sensations and physical perceptions. The graduates are getting up one row at a time to form a line beside the stage until their name is called. When it is your turn, you join the line and await your turn to go up and shake hands with the Dean and receive your diploma.  
Thoughts and images. And all the time, you are realizing how much this means to you, and how much it has all been worthwhile.
Motives. Now, as you walk across the stage and shake hands with the Dean, he smiles and hands you your diploma, and you return to your seat, let yourself take a few moments now to bask in the satisfaction of a job well done, and savor your achievement to the fullest. [Pause.]  
Expectations. And each time that you return to this treasured memory of the future, it will become easier for you to act, think, and feel as if it were impossible to fail. Believe it will happen, expect it to happen, feel it happening, and savor in advance the fruits of your success!
After allowing time to fully enjoy the experience for a few moments longer, the induction may be concluded in an appropriate manner (Gibbons & Lynn, 2001). Methods of auto-induction should also be taught, so that the client can continue to practice at home while learning. Once the technique has been mastered, it should be repeated daily as a form of experiential meditation until the goal is actually attained. Strictly speaking, it is not mandatlory that the Best Me Technique be used after an induction; for, as the late E. R. Hilgard used to say, "A suggestion is an induction." With sufficient practice, the Best Me Technique may be used by itself as a form of creative meditation, as I am in the habit of doing.

The Importance of Sub-Goals

Confucius said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." About thirty percent of all the graduate students who have to write a dissertation as the final step in attaining their doctorate fail to do so. This is frequently because, when they think of a dissertation as a book-length project, the task looks too formidable and too difficult. But if they can break the job down into meaningful sub-goals, and experience a feeling of achievement when each of these steps is attained, it doesn't matter how long the journey is because they have learned to reward themselves at the completion of each small step.

When I first began to work on my Master's thesis, the first thing to do was to buy a ream of paper. I well remember bicycling to the stationery store in Claremont, making the purchase, and pedaling home again, satisfied that I had taken that first small step. Later, I was talking with another graduate student and told him that I had started on my thesis. "I bought the paper today," I told him.

"Oh, well, if you bought the paper," he said dismissively, and I realized how ridiculous such a statement must have sounded. But I remember another graduate student at the University of Portland, where I began teaching after earning my doctorate, who had inherited three million dollars while he was enrolled in the Psychology program. He would treat himself and a date to a big steak dinner at a local restaurant every time he passed a test, and lived frugally the rest of the time. We both got our degrees by rewarding ourselves for small sub-goals along the way. Today, after having written several books, articles, and convention presentations, I am in a position to personally confirm the fact that Confucius was right!  As Martin Luther King put it, "If you can't run, walk. If you can't walk, crawl. But keep moving forward" (and reward yourself with a feeling of achievement at each point along the way). 

When there Is No "Impossible Dream"

When there is no clearly-identified goal upon which to focus, or when existing goals are not desired strongly enough to fully motivate a person to achieve them, suggestions such as the following can be given to increase the enjoyment of goal attainment in general.
Belief systems. Now we are going to help you to experience in concentrated form, both your desire to achieve and your ability to feel the satisfactions you are going to feel in the future from the fulfillment of a job well done.

Emotions. We are reaching down into the depths of your vast, untapped potential for feeling happiness and joy. Great waves of happiness and joy are flooding out from the depths of your potential, growing stronger and more beautiful and more intense with every passing second.  
Sensations and physical perceptions. The waves of joy are becoming stronger and more intense, filling and flooding every muscle, and fiber, and nerve of your entire body with a beauty and which is greater than anything you could possibly imagine. 
 Thoughts and images. Your mind is filled with such beauty and such joy that it is impossible to think of anything else, and all you can do is feel these waves of joy washing over you., growing in beauty and intensity with every passing second.
Motives. This is the kind of fulfillment you will be able to feel when you put your whole self into doing a job – any job – well. And you will have plenty of energy left over to enjoy every other aspect of life to the fullest.

Expectations. And I don’t know whether this experience will leave you with new goals, or with a re-dedication to the ones you already have. But in either case it will be a transforming moment, for it will have the power to change your life.
By using the Best Me Technique along with the necessary changes you need to make in your environment in order to accomplish the goals you have chosen, you will be able to provide yourself with the inspiration and incentive for a lifetime of accomplishment and personal growth.

A Word of Caution

Of course, we must still be able to give up on goals which are really not worth pursuing, no mater how attractive they may seem at first, in order to protect ourselves from our own mistakes in judgment. The world is full of people who want to become a success as writers, actors, sports heroes, and a host of other things, but are simply not cut out for that kind of work. On the other hand, many goals which may may seem impossible at first are attainable if we are willing to work long enough and hard enough. As we develop the ability to choose our motives as well as our goals, i.e., to have free will in the truest sense of the term, it is up to each of us to decide how practical or how idealistic we want to be.

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 universe and inducing emotions which are as pleasant as possible -- i.e., "dissolving  into an ocean of infinite, unbounded, and everlasting love," we suggest the following: "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 the goal ahead of time, you can believe it will happen, expect it to happen, and feel it happening! And with practice, you will be able to act, think, and feel as if it were impossible to fail!"  (see Gibbons & Cavallaro, 2013 in the Reference section of this posting.)

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.  It's too early for any hard data, as we have just begun to use these techniques. But we would like to invite you to join us in exploring these fascinating new realms of experience, and sharing with us in the thrill of discovery.  

See also:

The Storytelling Animal: How to Compose Suggestions that Will Not "Wear Off."

How to Create Winning Goals

Phyllis Dilller with Claude Bristol's The Magic of Believing


 The BEST ME technique has many other potential applications for the enhancement of human potential, the ennoblement of the human spirit, and the fulfillment of human existence.

See also the following print and e-book sources:

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.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Which Psychological Theory is "True?" We'll Never Know!

As I have said elsewhere, post-modern constructionism is the point of view that since we can never reqlly know what "truth" is, we should help clients to put together any type of conceptual framework which helps them to find the meaning of their existence, regardless of the personal reality that we construct for ourselves about the reality of things which are fundamentally unknowable.. 

How will we know, then, when we are on the right track? In the words of +Michael Ellner,
The path that the people who beat the odds take does not seem to be as important as the way they walk the path that they have chosen. This is based on extensive experience assisting people with life-threatening diseases and conditions and assisting people living with medically unexplained syndromes and symptoms like chronic pain, FMS, IBS and CFS. What they do — does not seem to be as important as how they do what they do… The people who do what they do with a happy heart, peaceful mind and playful spirit seem to have the best outcomes regardless of what they are doing.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Hypnosis and Hypempiria for Exploring the Multiverse

Hypnosis is easy when you know how. Then, after the induction, a deepening exercise such as the following one is frequently used to increase the clients' involvement with the suggestion that they are hypnotized. However, as the late Ernest R. Hilgard used to say, "A suggestion is an induction." When I am working with the more highly evolved "hypnotic virtuosos" among us, I frequently dispense with a formal induction altogether and use this deepening exercise by itself as an inductition. This deepener emphasizes the pleasantness of the experience they are about to undergo, and the benefits they will derive from it, and it is an enjoyable experience in itself.
Now, as you sink deeper with every word that I speak and with every second that passes, you can imagine, or picture in your mind, a clock dial, with no second hand and no minute hand on the clock, just an hour hand. And the hour hand is set at twelve.
I’m going to move that hour hand back, one hour at a time, until it’s all the way back to one. And with each hour that I move the hand back, you’ll go twice as deep as you are right now, and you’ll feel twice as good as you do right now.
There is no limit to the kinds or experiences you can have in deep hypnosis. There is no limit to howmpeaceful and relaxed you can feel, and there is no limit to the benefits you can obtain from it. And the deeper you go, the deeper you're able to go . And the deeper you go, the deeper you want to go, and the more peaceful, and the more relaxing, and the more tranquil the experience becomes, as the ocean of the mind calms.. So just let yourself relax completely, now, as I move the hour hand back, one hour at a time. And now I’ve moved the hour hand back  from 12 to 11, and you’re sinking down twice as deep as you were before. And the deeper you go, the more easily you are able to become aware of your Best Me -- of the person you are in the process of becoming.
And now I’ve moved the hand down to 10,  and you go twice as deep, and you feel twice as good. But there’s never any sense of strain or overload, for the deeper you go, the deeper you want to go, and the deeper you go, the deeper you’re able to go. And the deeper you go, the more peaceful and the more enjoyable the experience becomes. 
And now I’ve moved it down to 9. Twice as deep, and feeling twice as good. As I lead you deeper and deeper into hypnosis, your Best Me -- the person you are in the process of becoming becoming as you practice these techniques  -- will provide you with all the guidance and support that you need, in order to free yourself from the problems and limitations that have been holding you back. This guidance will enable these problems to be solved in just the right way, and at just the right time, for you to keep whatever is of value to the person that you will become, and to release and eliminate whatever needs to be released. 8. Twice as deep, sinking down and down, and feeling twice as peaceful, as you allow  your Best Me to handle all your problems in the outside world in the healing, loving light of your future. 7. Twice as deep yet again, and feeling twice as good yet again.

6. Deeper yet. Notice what how good you are feeling now. And imagine how good you’re going to feel when we get all the way down to one.
5. Twice as deep, yet again, and feeling twice as tranquil yet again . . . . deeper . . . and deeper . . .And the deeper you go, the deeper you want to go . . . and the deeper you go, the, more peaceful, and the more enjoyable the experience becomes.
4. Deeper . . . deeper . . . deeper . . .
3. Twice as deep, and feeling twice as good . . .
2. Deeper . . . deeper . . . deeper . . .
1. Infinitely, and unbelievably deep, and continuing to go deeper with every word that I speak.

The client may then be a participant in one or more of the following experiences:

The "Best Me Technique" for Exploring the Multiverse

Progression to /cause: Achieving Your Goals in the Multiverse

Hyperempiria (Suggestion-Enhanced Experience) in the Multiverse

Becomong Your "Best Me" in the Multiverse

The session may be concluded with suggestions for Returning from the Muliverse.