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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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hypnotizability: Three Things to Remember, and One to Forget

If, after formal training in hypnosis, you should happen to have any lingering doubts about your own abilities as a hypnotist, I would like to suggest three things to remember, and one to forget.
  1. Remember that your partner is responding to his or her own thoughts, as well as to your suggestions.  Even after an appropriate pre-hypnotic talk has been given which is designed to allay any misconceptions about the nature of a hypnotic experience, there could be many individualized reasons for your partner not being able to "get into it;" and if this should occur, the best way to find out if there is some specific obstacle is simply to ask.
  2. Remember that the ability to respond to suggestion is strongly influenced by the culture in which we live. Mesmerized subjects used to go into convulsions and faint in response to what they believed to be the power of  "animal magnetism;" but today we know that they were responding to the power of suggestion. Nowadays, some people who are experiencing hypnosis may behave like glassy-eyed zombies -- unless, of course, it is suggested that they will behave in a completely normal manner and act as if they were wide awake!  It was differences such as these which led T. R. Sarbin to define hypnosis as a social role which we accept and live out as part of our own personal reality, but which we would experience quite differently if the role were defined in a different manner. He wasn’t talking about some sort of pretense or play acting, of course, but the kind of socially agreed-upon reality which we experience every day, and which is at least in part defined by people’s beliefs and expectations -- such as the role of bride an groom at a wedding ceremony, or the role of mourner at a funeral, or the role of a person being cited for breaking a traffic ordinance.
  3. Remember that the ability to respond to suggesstion is also strongly influenced by the partner's own imagination. T. X. Barber has defined hypnotizability as "the ability to think along with and vividly imagine the instructions and suggestions one is given."  If you are able to lose yourself in watching a sunset, or the dying embers of a campfire, or listening to a song or the words of a poem, you already know what a hypnotic experience often feels like. Similarly, most of us are able to recall the experience of becoming so absorbed in our play when we were children that we did not hear our mother’s voice calling us in for dinner. (In adults, this is referred to as a negative auditory hallucination, and is regarded as an indication of deep hypnosis!) +Kelley Woods  has pointed out that little children usually have no trouble turning themselves into a monster or a fire engine. We don't learn to become good hypnotic responders, then, we un-learn it! All that your partner has to do in order to experience hypnosis is to be able tp let go and respond in a spontaneous, childlike manner which is different from the everyday, logical, practical state of mind in which we conduct most of our everyday lives.
With these three things to remember, if the thought should still come to mind that you are not any good at using the power of suggestion in order fo enable your partner to experience hypnosis -- forget it!   By chance alone, you could encounter three or four people in a row who happen to be on the low end of the bell-shaped curve which we find in most laboratory studies of suggestibility, though not necessarily in everyday life. However, you can always use a few "convincers" to persuade even low-responders that they too have been hypnotized, and they will usually respond better to whatever treatment is subsequently provided. (We may not be Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers, but most of us like to dance -- and most of us, with practice, can become pretty good at it!)