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 (609)709-2043 and (609) 494-0009.

Driving directions: Take Mill Creek Road South, just off Route 72 E After about 400 feet, turn right into the office complex of Mill Creek Commons.Then, immedately turn right again and go past the Lyceum II Gym. Continue on to the Prudential Zack Building,which will be the only building on your right. We are the last office at the end.

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Sunday, June 2, 2019

How to Eliminate Late-Night Snacking

Being overweight can be caused by a number of factors. When it is simply due to the habit of making bad decisions concerning food, then a cognitive-behavioral approach such as the one described here may be useful. 

A client came to my office requesting hypnosis in order to eliminate his habit of waking up for two hours every night. He was retired, and simply slept later in the morning to make up for the two hours he had lost. We examined all the usual causes: he did not drink too much coffee or tea, there was nothing worrying him, and there did not seem to be any organic cause for his middle insomnia. Finally, he admitted that his real concern was that he was gaining about a pound a month because he would get up and have a snack of cheese and crackers before going back to sleep. Further discussion made it clear that this snacking habit was what was providing the primary reinforcement for his insomnia, and this was what we would have to work on.

Suggestion-enhanced experience does not always have to involve an induction, and experiences enhanced by suggestion need not always be positive ones. Since he did not seem to be a candidate for hypnosis, I instructed him on how to use the Best Me Technique to visualize, or picture in his mind, the cheese and crackers in the refrigerator having spoiled -- but to enhance this image in as many ways as he could imagine, using the grossest possible imagery, in order to totally destroy its incentive value. In cognitive-behavioral terms, this would be described as converting a positive reinforcement into an aversive stimulus. 

The best time to do this, of course, what just after he had awakened in the middle of the night, while he was still lying there before he had arisen to get his usual snack from the refrigerator. Using all six dimensions of the BEST ME Technique, he was instructed to mentally experience the previously-coveted food as having spoiled or become infected with fruit flies, drenched in urine, or floating in a pool of -- well, you get the idea. 

A follow-up telephone call one month later indicated that  practicing this exercise during his periods of middle insomnia seemed to be completely effective. He was no longer snacking, and, except for his usual bathroom breaks, he was sleeping through the night as well.  

You can apply this same technique to eliminate any food from your routine which will help you lose weight. Eating 3,500 calories more than you burn results in a one-pound weight gain. Pick one food that you like, find out how many calories per serving it contains, and do the math. See how many extra pounds that one food will add to your weight during the  course of a year. If you are like most of us, cutting out only two or three such foods using the cognitive-behavioral dieting procedure just described, combined with a little patience, should make your ideal weight goal easily attainable. 


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