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, February 20, 2015

Differences Between Hypnosis, Meditation, Mindfulness, and Relaxation Training

In order to understand the alterations in experience which may be induced by hypnosis, meditation, mindfulnesss, and relaxation training, let's look at what it means to be conscious of oneself in the first place.

In the early years of the Twentieth Century, adherents of the school of psychology known as structuralism were attempting to discover the basic elements of consciousness by employing a method known as introspection.  This "looking inward" to identify the basic components of one's thoughts and feelings led to widespread disagreement among various investigators regarding just how many such elements of consciousness there actually were. The diffficulty, of course, lay in the fact that consciousness, like a mirror, tends to reflect back what is put into it; and if reading and speculation have led a person to surmise that a particular element exists in conscioiusness, as soon as one begins musingly to "look inward" to discover such an element, that element is likely to appear. The process is somewhat reminiscent of the game which Tolstoy and his brother used to play when they were children, which involved seeing how long they both could go without thinking of a white bear.

Since the perception of one's own awareness is, by definition, a subjective phenomenon, what is true regarding the perception of the elements of consciousness is also true regarding the experience of one's consciousness as a whole. In other words, tbe number of "altered states" (or, more accurately, altered experiences) of consciousness which may be induced by expressed or implied suggestion is probably equal to the number of such states or experiences which it is possible to conceive or to imagine; for each of these imagined definitions may be presented in the form of an induction procedure or similar ritual containing explicit or implicit suggerstions which will bring about such an experience in subjects who are sufficiently responsive and willing to comply. Thus, the suggestor is free to define the dimensions and experiential properties of a suggestion-induced "trance state" in practically any manner he or she may desire. Today, for example, we hear of hypnosis, meditation, mindfulness, relaxation training, mind control, ultra-height, autogentic training, suggestology, dianetics, and a host of other techniques too numerous to mention. Rather than concluding that these techniques are all variations of "hypnosis," it is more accurate to describe them as changes in perceived awareness which are brought about by means of suggestion, and which differ from hypnosis in the same way that they differ from each other: in the specific phenomenological content of the changes in perceived awareness which are either directly implied or suggested by the procedure which is utilized to bring about such changes, and hence, in the "feel" of the resulting subjective experience, and in the effect of that experience upon the subsequent thought and behavior of the person who undergoes it. A highly responsive hypnotic subject may feel as if he or she had been unconscious, for example, and report no memory of the events which transpired while supposedly under the influence of the "trance" (unless it has been suggested that one is not supposed to feel that way in hypnosis, or it has been specifically suggested during hypnosis that one will remember everything), whereas a student undergoing an advanced form of yogic training may feel as if he or she is merging with infinite reality!

An "induction procedure," then, is not some sort of mechanical process which one person "uses on" another to render the subject more compliant witb the will of the suggestor, as laymen occasionally tend to perceive it; and neither does it operate in some mysterious manner to open up a direct channel of communication with the "unconscous mind." It is, rather, a method of providing both the opportunity and the rationale for those who are able and willing to utilize their imagination in an "alice in wonderland" fashion to go ahead and do so. 

Rather than inquiring how many alterations in perceived awareness it is possible to produce by means of expressed or implied suggestison, or how one may go about measuring their purported "depth" -- which is, after all, pointless when one is dealing with subjective experiences for which new phenomenological dimensions can be invented, suggested, and consequently experienced by sufficiently responsive subjects virtually at will -- it is more appropriate to inquire how such experiences may best be defined and guided to fulfill their primary purpose which is to assist the subject in achieving an increased measure of self-awareness and self-control (Gibbons, 1979, pp. 15-17). The question then becomes, which of these techniques is best adapted for use with a particular individual, and in what form this procedure should best be tailored, for the enhancement of human potential, the ennoblement of the human spirit, and the fulfillment of human existence This is the question examined in the following video by Eckhart Tolle: 



Monday, February 9, 2015

The Enchanted Cottage: A Hyperempiric Induction


 "For as long as we stay here, in this enchanted cottage,
            even my words will be ehchanted."
As +Kelley Woods has pointed out, young children have no trouble instantly changing themselves into a monster or a fire engine, especially when parents encourage this kind of imaginative involvement. The following induction was originally written for children, but I later found that it was a favorite with the college students in my graduate hypnosis courses at the University of West Georgia. Perhaps we don't learn to become high responders in hypnosis. We un-learn it!
Just sit back, and close your eyes, and I am going to tell you a magic story. It is a story about a very special place, deep in an enchanted forest, where everything I tell you will come true. . . Imagine now that we are walking together down a long, winding path which runs through the middle of a large woods. We are walking along, early on a bright spring morning. Birds are singing in the trees, and here and there a flower is poking its head out of the soft, green grass which grows beside the path. And because this is a magic story, the farther we go along the path, the more real everything around us becomes. 

Now and then a ray of sunlight makes its way down through the branches of the trees and falls upon the dewdrops in the grass, causing them to sparkle like a million tiny diamonds. The air is fresh and cool, with gentle breezes blowing now and then, causing the trees, and the grass, and the flowers to move ever so slightly, as if everything in the world were feeling so happy on this bright spring morning that nothing could keep still for very long. . .

And because this is a magic story, the farther we go along the path, the more real everything becomes. . . As we continue on our walk, we can begin to be aware of the sound of rushing water. With each passing second, the sound is becoming clearer and clearer still. And now we are standing beside the bank of a forest stream, which is the source of the sound we have been hearing.

The water is flowing past us swift and clear, for it has come tumbling down from a magic spring many miles away in the hills. And because the water from the magic spring is enchanted, anyone who drinks it will be enchanted too. And anyone who is enchanted in this way will be easily able to find that special place, deep in the magic forest, where everything I say will come true.  

We dip our hands eagerly into the bubbling stream and cup them together, bringing the cool, fresh water up to our lips again and again, until we have drunk all that we want. . . Now it is time to hurry on our way once more; for the water from the magic spring has made it certain that we will soon find that very special place in the enchanted forest, where everything I tell you will come true; and we know now that it cannot be far away. 

As we continue on our journey, we notice a tiny path leading off to one side, and we decide to go up this path to see where it leads. Before very long, we notice that the woods are beginning to thin out, and that we are about to enter a clearing. And as we approach nearer and nearer to the edge of the clearing, we can see that the path we have been following leads right up to a small cottage. . . This is that very special place I have been telling you about, where everything will come true. For as long as we stay here, in this enchanted cottage, in the enchanted forest, even my words will be enchanted, and everything I tell you will happen exactly as I say it will.  

The door to the cottage is standing slightly open as we hurry up the path, and as soon as we reach the entrance we hurry on inside in order to lose no more time. We have arrived now, at that very special enchanted place in the enchanted forest which we have traveled so far to reach. And as long as we remain here, in this enchanted cottage, everything I say and everything I describe to you will come true as soon as I have said it. For as long as we remain here in this enchanted place, even my words will be enchanted. 
  


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., & 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.