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.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Serenity Prayer and The "Serenity Rules"


The following rules for a positive philosophy of life were written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920s. They have been circulated and re-printed many times since then. He called them Desiderata; but I would like to take the liberty of also referring to them as The Serenity Rules, because they spell out some excellent illustrations of how to apply the Serenity Prayer in our own lives. 
Desiderata
(or "The Serenity Rules")
by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence 
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. 
Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is. Many persons strive for high ideals,and everywhere life is full of heroism. 
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love;for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
 Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Premature Ejaculation Treated with CBT and Suggestion-Enhanced Experience

The most important sex organ is the brain!
Although it is not always necessary to employ a formal induction, it is possible to include positive suggestions of enhanced experience (hyperempiria) in an approach to treatment. Several years ago, I saw a nineteen year old, newly-married male client, who had grown up in a strict Baptist household, as had his wife. His previous experience with women was extremely limited. He had not learned to hold himself back when he and his wife were about to make love, and always climaxed too soon. His wife did not participate in the sessions, due to an expressed reluctance to discuss such intimate topics with anyone but her husband. Because of his strict Baptist upbringing, he rejected the idea of hypnosis. Therefore, my treatment was a combination of support and encouragement, positive suggestion, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
First, the client was reassured that his responses were perfectly normal. I explained that most young males need to learn to restrain their natural tendency to "let go" in response to their first sexual contacts with a woman.
In discussing his feelings for his wife, the client agreed that the most erotically arousing stimulus imaginable was to experience her in the throes of orgasm, which she had previously attained fairly quickly through heavy petting. He also reported that his wife was multi-orgasmic during these times, but one or two climaxes was all that he was able to manage. His wife had expressed disdain for mechanical vibrators, ribbed condoms, and the like, stating, "They aren't you!"
I assured him that he was extremely fortunate in having a multi-orgasmic wife whom he would be able to pleasure repeatedly as he acquired a greater degree of control. As the couple gained more familiarity with each other's bodies, all of his efforts were to be directed toward attaining this goal of pleasuring her as frequently and as intensely as possible, which took his mind off himself.
He was encouraged to frankly and openly discuss with his wife how they liked to be touched, and to continue to talk during intercourse, exchanging tender words and encouraging the types of stimulation that would be most satisfying at the moment.
The client was instructed to make the foreplay as long and drawn out as possible, with maximum clitoral stimulation for the wife, repeatedly leading her as close to orgasm as possible without actually achieving it unless she insisted. This could be either manual or oral, or both. Without revealing this to his wife, as the couple began to have intercourse and he felt that he was about to "let go," he was instructed to slow down and think of a series of the grossest, most repulsive things he possibly could as he began to make love, and the more tempted he feel to let go, the stronger he needed to make these images, until they filled his mind completely! The images were to be individually chosen by the client to make sure that they would be as repulsive as he could make them.
I also explained that it was okay to even stop once in a while, if he needed to, explaining, "It's just too good -- I have to stop a minute." The wife would recognize this a tribute to her femininity and to the intensity of her husband's desire for her.
The client was assured, as the lovemaking continued at a slower pace and his adaptation level gradually built up as he and his wife grew more used to each other's carnal presence, he would be able to tolerate more and more intense stimulation until his and his wife's respective arousal levels were more evenly matched. He was also instructed that it might take some time for his control to build up to the necessary level, but he was assured that if he practiced this restraint training, he would eventually be successful.
He was seen for a total of ten sessions, weekly at first for the first three sessions, and then spread out over the course of a three-month period, and at the end of this time he reported that after their arousal levels had become more closely matched, he and his wife had learned to enhance the meaningfulness of their relationship still more through various techniques of foreplay which he had previously found to be too arousing. 

See also: 


How to Uae the Power of Suggestion to Induce Orgasms

The Blog contains many other examples of experience as an art form, for the enhancement of human potential, the ennoblement of the human spirit, and the fulfillment of human existence.


See also the following print 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.



Thursday, May 28, 2015

Meditation or Assertiveness? Shakespeare vs. the Dalai Lama

I frequently hear clients in my psychology practice say that "everything happens for a reason." I like to help them explore their situation a bit more deeply in order to determine whether to provide assrertiveness training or teach them meditation techniques, or a combination of both.

The traditional Eastern view of life may perhaps be summed up as follows:




The Western view, on the other hand, might be expressed in the words of Shakespeare:

To be or not to be, that is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to bear the slings and arrows of an outrageous fortune,
Or to take up arms against a sea of troubles
And, by opposing, end them.

A more extreme, modern version of this view is ezpressed in the following video:  



Who is right? If we were never willing "to take up arms against a sea of troubles," slavery would still exist, wives would always remain submissive to abusive husbands, and democracy would never have come into existence. On the other hand, for a small child growing up in an alcoholic and abusive home, someone toiling in a dead-end job, a prisoner serving a life sentence, or a person in a hospice, their only hope may be to turn inward in the quest for happiness and inner peace. 

For most of us, one answer may be appropriate in one situation or time in life, while the other answer may be appropriate at another time. I once had a Buddhisr client with multiple  personalities, who told me that in Tibetan Buddhism you choose your parents according to what they can teach you. "I must have had to learn an awful lot," she told me. She sure did!  

The necessary synthesis is perhaps best expressed in the following "Serenity Prayer" by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, which has been adoopted by Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step organizations:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Hypnotic Induction, and Ego-Strengtthening Practice Tape

The following tape may be used as a booster for conditioning and relaxation betwen regularly-scheduled hypnosis sessions, and to help you learn to enter hypnosis easily and quickly. For those who may prefer to have the suggestions read aloud by another person who is skilled in the use of hypnosis -- and so you can also see exactly what is on the tape --  the contents are also presented below in script format. Briefly, it begins with a progressive relaxation induction, which is followed by deepening suggestions, preparation to receive hypnotic suggestions,and ego strengthening adapted fom Hartland's Medical and Dental hypnosis, and suggestions for terminating the session.

Here are two links to the hypnosis conditioning and relaxation tape itself, containing the same suggestions. You can download your free copy either in .wav format, or in .mp3 format by clicking on the appropriate link, and then clicking "download." The tape is approximately twenty minutes in length. The download takes approximately half an hour for the .wav version, and about fifteen minutes for the .mp3 version. The .mp3 version does not contain suggestions of direct exposure to warm sunlight, for those who might fiind such imagery aversive. Because the download takes up a great deal of space, it is probably not appropriate for hand-held or tablet computers. One client told me that he downloaded it to his iTunes, and listens to iit frequently. I asked him how it sounded and he replied, "It sounds just like you do when you're in here."
Of course, rhis tape is not intended to serve as a substitute for therapy. But, with your therapist's prior knowledge and approval, it can become a helpful means of "tiding yourself over" between sessions, increasing resistance to stress, and preparing you to respond better during face-to-face hypnotherapy.

Because of the sluggestions for sleep at the condlusion, the recording may also be especially helpful if you should have initial insomnia or middle insomnia, having trouble getting to sleep or waking up during the night and having a greatd deal of trouble going back to sleep. It may be particularly helpful for shift workers with varying schedules, who need to ajust quickly to new sleep patterns.

There is no best time, or best number of times, to use the tape. It varies with the needs and preferences of each indivifual. 

Hypnotic Induction  

Just imagine that it’s a nice, spring day, and that you’re lying on a soft woolen blanket, on a sandy beach, by the side of the ocean. If you accept each detail of the situation as I describe it, without trying to think critically, your imagination will be free to allow you to experience the situation just as if you were really there.  

I’m going to count from one to ten, and by the time I get to the count of ten, you’ll be resting comfortably in a deep, sound state of hypnosis. So just relax, and listen to my voice as I begin the count from one to ten.

One . You can feel the warm sand beneath the blanket on which you're lying, and you can feel the gentle breeze blowing across your body, cooling you to just the right temperature, so that all you want to do is just keep drifting, and dreaming . . . and floating . . . on . . . and on . . . and on.

Two . You can hear the sound of the waves gently crashing upon the ocean shore. You can hear the sound of the gulls in the distance, and you can savor the freshness of the pure salt air, as you feel a heavy, relaxed feeling coming over you. You can feel your: arms relaxing, you can feel your legs relaxing, and you can feel your entire body relaxing completely. As I continue to count, and continue to talk, every word that I utter will carry you faster and deeper, faster and deeper, down and down, into a deep, sound, peaceful state of hypnosis.

Three . . . You can feel your entire body relaxing now . . . relaxing deeper and faster, and deeper and faster, all of the time.

Four . Sinking down, and shutting down . . . sinking down, and shutting down . . . sinking down, and shutting down . . . shutting down completely. And the deeper you go, the deeper you are able to go. And the deeper you go, the deeper you want to go, and the more peaceful, and the more enjoyable, the experience becomes.

Five . Sinking and relaxing, and sinking and relaxing, deeper and faster, deeper and faster all of the time. Relaxing so very deeply now that you can just let yourself go completely, as you continue drifting down and down, into a deep, sound, blissful state of hypnosis.

Every word that I utter is carrying you faster and deeper, faster and deeper, down, and down. And the deeper you go, the deeper you want to go, and the deeper you go, the deeper you're able to go, and the more peaceful, and the more beautiful, and the more enjoyable the experience becomes.

Six . Relaxing so very deeply now,as you continue drifting on and on, into a deep, sound sleep, a deep, sound sleep.

Seven .Sinking down and shutting down. Sinking down and shutting down. Sinking down and shutting down, shutting down completely.

Eight . And 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.

Nine. Sinking down, and shutting down. Sinking down, and shutting down. Sinking down, and shutting down. Shutting down completely.

Ten. Very deeply drifting, in a deep, sound state of hypnosis. And the deeper you go, the deeper you want to go. And the deeper you go, the deeper you are able to go. And the deeper you go, the stronger the effects of my words become.

Hypnotic Deepening

Now, as you continue sinking 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 end to the depth of experience you can have in deep hypnosis. There is no limit to how good you can feel, and 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 beautiful, and the more wonderful, and the more enjoyable the experience becomes. So just let yourself go 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 becoming.

And now I’ve moved it down to 10, and you feel 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 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 that you arel becoming -- 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 good, as you allow your Best Me to handle all your problems in the outside world in the healing light of your future.

7. Twice as deep yet again, and feeling twice as good yet again.

6. Deeper yet. Notice what that does, and notice how good you feel. 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 good yet again . . . . deeper . . . and deeper . . .And the deeper you go, the deeper you want to go . . . and the deeper you go, the deeper you are able to go . . . and the more beautiful, and more wonderful, 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.

Preparing to receive post-hypnotic suggestions

You are now so deep in hypnosis that your mind has become so sensitive… so receptive to what I say… that everything that I release from the depths of your unconscious mind… will emerge so clearly into your awareness… and will cause so strong and lasting an impression there… that nothing will eradicate it.

Consequently… these abilities that I release from your unconscious mind… will begin to exercise a greater and greater influence over the way you think… over the way you feel… over the way you behave.

And… because these abilities will remain… fully accessible to the conscious part of your mind… after you have left here… when you are no longer with me… without interfering in the slightest with your ability to concentrate and to work and to think clearly . . .they will continue to exercise the same great influence… over your thoughts… your feelings… and your actions… just as strongly… just as surely… just as powerfully… when you are back home… or at work… as when you are with me in this room.

You are now so deep in hypnosis… that everything that I tell you that is going to happen to you… for your own good… will happen… exactly as I have told you. And every feeling… that I tell you that you will experience… you will experience… exactly as I have told you. And these same things will continue to happen to you… every day… just as strongly… just as surely… just as powerfully… when you are back home… or at work… as when you are with me in this room.

You have now become so deeply relaxed that before we return to the time and place from which we left, you will fall into a deep, deep sleep. You have now become so deeply relaxed… so deeply asleep… that your mind has become so sensitive… so receptive to what I say… that everything that I put into your mind… will sink so deeply into the unconscious part of your mind… and will cause so deep and lasting an impression there… that nothing will eradicate it.

Consequently… these things that I put into your unconscious mind… will begin to exercise a greater and greater influence over the way you think… over the way you feel… over the way you behave.

And… because these things will remain… firmly embedded in the unconscious part of your mind… after you have left here… when you are no longer with me… they will continue to exercise the same great influence… over your thoughts… your feelings… and your actions… just as strongly… just as surely… just as powerfully… when you are back home… or at work… as when you are with me in this room.

You are now so very deeply asleep… that everything that I tell you that is going to happen to you… for your own good… will happen… exactly as I tell you. And every feeling… that I tell you that you will experience… you will experience… exactly as I tell you. And these same things will continue to happen to you… every day… just as strongly just as surely… just as powerfully… when you are back home… or at work… as when you are with me in this room.

Ego Strengthening

After this deep sleep… you are going to feel physically stronger and fitter in every way. You will feel more alert… more wide awake… more energetic. You will become much less easily tired… much less easily fatigued… much less easily discouraged… much less easily depressed. Every day… you will become so deeply interested in whatever you are doing… in whatever is going on around you… that your mind will become completely distracted away from yourself. You will no longer think nearly so much about yourself… you will no longer dwell nearly so much upon yourself and your difficulties… and you will become much less conscious of yourself… much less preoccupied with yourself… and with your own feelings. Every day… your nerves will become stronger and steadier… your mind calmer and clearer… more composed… more placid… more tranquil. You will become much less easily worried… much less easily agitated… much less easily fearful and apprehensive… much less easily upset.

You will be able to think more clearly… you will be able to concentrate more easily. You will be able to give up your whole undivided attention to whatever you are doing… to the complete exclusion of everything else. Consequently… your memory will rapidly improve… and you will be able to see things in their true perspective… without magnifying your difficulties… without ever allowing them to get out of proportion. Every day… you will become emotionally much calmer… much more settled… much less easily disturbed. Every day… you will become… and you will remain… more and more completely relaxed… and less tense each day… both mentally and physically… even when you are no longer attending here. And as you become… and as you remain… more relaxed… and less tense each day… so… you will develop much more confidence in yourself… more confidence in your ability to do… not only what you have… to do each day… but more confidence in your ability to do whatever you ought to be able to do… without fear of failure… without fear of consequences…. Without anxiety… without uneasiness. Because of this… every day… you will feel more and more independent… more able to ‘stick up for yourself’… to stand upon your own feet… to hold your own… no matter how difficult or trying things may be.

Every day… you will feel a greater feeling of personal well-being… A greater feeling of personal safety… and security… than you have felt for a long, long time. And because all these things will begin to happen… exactly as I tell you they will happen… more and more rapidly… powerfully… and completely… with every treatment I give you… you will feel much happier… much more contented… much more optimistic in every way. You will consequently become much more able to rely upon… to depend upon… yourself… your own efforts… your own judgment… your own opinions. You will feel much less need… to have to rely upon… or to depend upon… other people.

Concluding the Hypnotic Session

Now we will return to the everyday state of consciousness and the time and place from which we left. Because time seems to pass so much more slowly in hypnosis., even though you may only have been hypnotized for only a few minutes, it will seem as if you had been gone for a much longer time,, and the benefits you derive from the experience will be correspondingly increased.

You love being hypnotized! Each time you enter hypnosis,, you enter it more rapidly and more deeply. Each time that you enter hypnosis,, your Best Me -- the person you are becoming -- gives you more strength to work out your issues, in many different ways and on many different levels, some of which you may already be aware of, and some of which you may not yet realize until they actually happen.

Regardless of how much or how little you actually remember of them, you will always recall these hypnotic sessions with fondness, even as you look forward to the next opportunity to return to the next one with ever increasing anticipation. And in between times, the sound of my voice will have much the same enjoyable effect as if you were in hypnosis. For this reason, whenever you can safely do so, you will be able to listen to the hypnosis recording on the computer and it will have just the same effect as if I were actually there hypnotizing you right then.

Tonight, you will be able to fall asleep easily, and you will have a pleasant, refreshing sleep from which you will awaken rested and refreshed, and feeling wonderful; for your Best Me is always with you, guiding your path in the way it should go.

By the time I get to the count of five you will be able to open your eyes, feeling wonderful. Your mind will be clear and alert. You will easily be able to concentrate on anything you have to do, and you are going to feel better than you have for a long, long time!

One. Getting ready to open your eyes now.

Two.

Three. Almost ready.

Four. . . .

Five. You can open your eyes now, feeling  wonderful!