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, July 9, 2017

What Makes a Person a Good Hypnotist?


Of the making of many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. 
                                                                             --Ecclesiastices


With regard to the question of what makes a hypnotic intervention effective, I like to quote Steve Lynn's excellent summary of our Induction chapter in the American Psychological Association's Handbook of Clinical Hypnosis: 

 . . .how clients respond to suggestions depends less on the nature and success of a particular induction than on the following variables: (a) clients' prehypnotic attitudes, beliefs, intentions, and expectations about hypnosis; (b) their ability to think, fantasize, and absorb themselves in suggestions; (c) their ability to form a trusting relationship with the hypnotist; (d) their ability to interpret suggestions appropriately and view their responses as successful; (e) their ability to discern task demands and cues; (f) their ongoing interaction with the hypnotist; and (g) the appropriateness of the therapeutic methods and suggestions to treating the presenting problem. . . . Accordingly, clinicians should devise inductions and suggestions with these variables in mind and tailor their approach to the unique personal characteristics and agenda of each client they encounter" (Gibbons & Lynn, 2010, p. 289).

How will we know when our clients are effectively on the road to recovery? In the words of Michel 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."

How do we create this frame of mind? Irving Yalom, famous for his group work, said, "It's the relationship that heals. It's the relationship that heals. It's the relationship that heals. My professional rosary." As witch doctors and medicine men have known since the dawn of pre-history, If you construct an ideology that people accept, and if you relate well enough to your clients to get them to the point that Ellner just described, it doesn't matter much what you do. Regardless of whether or not the Academic community points out that there is scientific support for your claims, you will still be regarded in some quarters as a success. In reality, however, there is no need to spend hundreds of dollars for a workshop which is primarily intended to whet your appetite tp sign up for the next one in the series, in order to eventually qualify for a pricey "certificate" which has no legal standing, and no meaning to people who have not themselves embarked upon a similar training quest

In light of the foregoing, formal training in technique would appear to be less important.  People often spend a great deal of time and money going from workshop to workshop, either to perfect their therapeutic techniques or to experience the latest trends in psychotherapy for themselves, when the success of a therapeutic intervention actually depends more on the client than it does on them. Since most of these highly-touted and pricey procedures work at least some of the time, this creates a "partial reinforcement effect" which causes people to try even more advanced workshops, in the hope that they will eventually get it perfect -- in the same way that a laboratory rat who is only rewarded occasionally will work even harder than one that is rewarded all the time. 

It looks impressive, of course, if there is a certificate on the wall stating that you have been certified by the Great Poo-Bah or Swami Rama-Ding-a-Ling (and preferably both!). But most of us are probably not going to know who they are. In addition, empirical research has confirmed that while psychotherapy in general is effective, the relationship between therapist and client is a more important contributor to a successful outcome than whether the degree indicates that the therapist has completed a Bachelor's, Master's, or Doctoral program, or the particular field in which the degree happens to be granted, or the theoretical orientation of the therapist. Today, there are many who would say that perhaps Freud's greatest insight was that if you charge a lot of money, up to a point, people will work hard to get well and will value your services in proportion to the size of your bill.
  
I am not arguing against continuing our professional education, However, with the coming of the Internet, we are going through an revolution which is more far-reaching in its implications than the ones which occurred when steam power replaced the horse, and electricity replaced steam. When our nearest Google prompt is a lot closer than our nearest ATM prompt, Attending a comferemce or a workshop is a great way to renew old acquaintances and establish new ones, and perhaps even learn a few facts, but don't pay through the nose for information!

"Your Withdrawals Cheerfully Accepted!"

 Reference
Gibbons, D. E., & Lynn, S. J. (2008). Hypnotic inductions: A primer. In Ruhe, J. W., Lynn, S. J., & Kirsch, I. (Eds.) Handbook of Clinical Hypnosis2nd ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Assn.

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