Don E. Gibbons, Ph.D., NJ Licensed Psychologist #03513
This Blog is published for information and educational purposes only. No warranty, expressed or implied, is furnished with respect to the material contained in this Blog. The reader is urged to consult with his/her physician or a duly licensed mental health professional with respect to the treatment of any medical or psychological condition.

Translations Available

This blog is now available in several dozen languages. By entering the name of the desired language in the box which appears in the space below, any page you visit will have been automatically translated into the language you have selected. You can scroll down to view the most recent entries in chronological order, or you can view the most popular entries in the column on the right. By scrolling down the right-hand column, you can also see a list of all the previous entries.

Translate

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.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hypnosis is Never What You Think

In view of the current debate about the underlying nature of hypnosis,, it might be relevant to cite Professor Frank Pajares' excellent outline and study guide  for Thomas S. Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,"  which has recently been published in its fiftieth anniversary edition. Of particular relevance are Pajares' notes on Chapter V, X, and the chapters which follow it.

Kuhn was frequently cited by Ted Barber, the leader of the non-state view of hypnosis, which is currently expressed in Theodore R. Sarbin's "Believed- in Imaginings: The Narrative Construction of Reality (Memory, Trauma, Dissociation, and Hypnosis)."

i got a good laugh (and an invitation to lunch) at a meeting of the American Psychological Association when, with Barber in the audience, I announced that many of the old-time hypnotists would no doubt regard me as a "Barberian!"

As Shakespeare said in his play, The Tempest, "The past is prologue" -- or, as a New York cab driver reportedly phrased it, "Brother, you ain't seen nothin' yet!"

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Monday, November 14, 2016

"On Groundless Fears," by Seneca

Mzny of the clients in my psychology practice are upset by current political developments, and calls to crisis hotlines have multiplied. This is a You Tube audio of a letter from the Greek philosopher Seneca to one of his dear friends on the subject of groundless fears. He would be right at home with cognitive behavioral  psychology;"We suffer more in imagination than in reality," and then goes on to speak of the remedies of this condition. He's a bit brainy, but what would you expect from a Greek philosopher? However, his words have stood the test of time, and are especially true in today's conditions of post-election stress.


Friday, November 11, 2016

False Perceptions that are Driving You Crazzy

Most of us have one or more habits of perceiving things which make them appear to be much worse than they actually are. See how many of these thought patterns might be clouding your own view of life..

All-or-nothing thinking: Everything is good or bad, with nothing in between. If your opponent is not perfect, then he or she is completely evil..

Overgeneralization: A single negative event turns into a never-ending pattern of defeat. "My opponent didn't support the bill I wanted. My opponent is never going to do anything right."

Mental filter: One single negative thing about your opponent colors everything else. When you're depressed about this, it sometimes feels like you're "looking at the world through mud-colored glasses."

Disqualifying the positive: If somebody says something good about your opponent, it doesn't count. But if somebody says something bad about your opponent, you "knew it all along."

Jumping to conclusions: You make a negative interpretation of your opponent's claims, even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion.

Mind reading: You think that your political opponent is thinking negative things about one your favorite programs and don't bother to check it out. You just assume that this is true.

The Fortune Teller Error: You think that things are going to turn out badly if your opponent is elected to office, and when it happens you convince yourself that it's the end of the world.
.
Magnification (catastrophizing) or minimization: Imagine that you're looking at the opposition candidates through a pair of binoculars. You might think that any mistake they made or is more important than it really is. Now imagine that you've turned the binoculars around and you're looking through them backwards. Something a candidate you favor has done might look less important than it really is,

Emotional reasoning: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: "I feel it, therefore it must be true."

Should statements: You beat up on yourself as a way of getting motivated to do something. You"should" have done this, you "must" do this, you "ought" to do this to do your part to influence the outcome of the election, and so on. This doesn't make you want to do it, it only makes you feel guilty. When you direct should statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment.

Labeling and mislabeling: This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. When the other candidate makes a mistake,you give him or her a label, such as, "a loser" or "He's an ass." Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.

Personalization: You believe that your vote was the cause of something bad that happened, when, among all the millions of votes cast, your own vote really didn't have very much to do with it.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hypnosis Conditioning and Relaxation Tape

The following link contains a standard progressive relaxation hypnotic induction rape based on imagery of relaxing on the beach, with confidence-building and ego strengthening suggestions from John Hartland's Medical and Dental Hypnosis. I first heard Dr. Hartland present this script in the form of a paper at a professional meeting several years ago. I began to see more and more references to it in the professional literature, I began to use it in my clinical psychology practice with good  results. I am posting it here for the convenience of my own clients, and for others who might also wish to use it as a relaxation training and conditioning tape in between hypnosis sessions, with the consent and under the supervision of an appropriately trained and licensed mental health professional.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3gLdfLQ44mqaTRtN25VWlN1Rlk/view?usp=sharing

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Seriously Curious about Hypnosis? Try it Yourself!,

If you are seriously curious about hypnosis, this is an induction by my colleague Kelley Woods, that you can try in the safety and privacy of your own home. (It;s also great for insomnia!).


Monday, September 26, 2016

Learn How to Meditate Like an Expert almost Anywhere






The following article, first published on WikiHow under the title, "How to Meditate," is the product of a collaborative effort by over 700 people. According to the tally at the end of the original article, it has been viewed nearly 1-3/4 million times.
Meditation is a mental discipline by which one attempts to get beyond the conditioned, "thinking" mind into a deeper state of self awareness. To free one's awareness from associating solely with the mind and its soul. There are many different meditation methods. At the core of meditation is the goal to focus and eventually quiet your mind, thus freeing your awareness. As you progress, you will find that you can meditate anywhere and at any time, accessing an inner calm no matter what's going on around you. You will also find that you can better control your reactions to things as you become increasingly aware of your thoughts (letting go of anger, for example). But first, you have to learn to tame your mind and control your breathing.

 Steps 






  •  Make time to meditate. Set aside enough time in your daily routine for meditating; early morning and in the evening are often most preferable. The steadiness of mind meditation is most noticeable when you do it regularly; some people like to end the day by clearing their mind, and some prefer to find refuge in meditation in the middle of a busy day. The easiest time to meditate is in the morning, before the day tires your body out and gives your mind more to think about. Just take care to avoid spending too long meditating––start with around 5 to 15 minutes a day.




  •  Find or create a quiet, relaxing environment. For the beginner, it's especially important to avoid any obstacles to attention. Turn off TV sets, the phone or other noisy appliances. If you play music, choose calm, repetitive and gentle tunes, so as not to break your concentration.

    • Meditating outside works for many meditators. As long as you don't sit near a busy roadway or another source of loud noise, you can find peace under a tree or sitting upon some lush grass in a favorite corner of the garden.




  •  Sit on level ground. Sit on a cushion if the ground is uncomfortable. You don't have to twist your limbs into the half lotus or full lotus position or adopt any unusual postures. The important thing is to keep your back straight, as this will help with breathing later on.

    • Tilt your pelvis forward by sitting on the forward edge of a thick cushion, or on a chair that has its back legs lifted off the ground 8 to 10cm (3 or 4 inches).
    • Starting from your bottom, stack up the vertebrae in your spine, so that they are balanced one on top of another and support the whole weight of your torso, neck, and head. Done correctly, it feels as if no effort is required to hold your torso up. (A small amount of effort is in fact required, but with the right posture, it is so small and evenly distributed you don't notice it.)
    • Relax your arms and legs. They don't need to be in any special position, just as long as they are relaxed and don't interfere with balancing your torso. You can put your hands on your thighs, but it might be easier at first to let your arms hang at your sides––the hanging weight helps reveal where things are out of alignment.
    Relax everything. Keep searching for parts of your body that aren't relaxed. When you find them, (and you will), consciously relax them. You may find that you can't relax them unless you adjust your posture so that you are better aligned, and that place doesn't need to work anymore. This commonly happens with muscles near your spine. You may also notice that you are twisted a little and need to straighten out. Little muscles in your face often keep getting tense, too.




  •  Let your attention rest on the flow of your breath. Listen to it, follow it, but make no judgments on it (such as "It sounds a little raspy... maybe I'm getting a cold?"). The goal is to allow the "chattering" in your mind to gradually fade away. Find an "anchor" to settle your mind.

    • Try reciting a mantra (repetition of a sacred word). A single word like "om" uttered at a steady rhythm is best. You can recite it verbally or just with the voice in your mind. Beginners may find it easier to count their breaths. Try counting your breath from 1 through 10, then simply start again at 1.
    • To circumvent images that keep intruding on your thoughts, visualize a place that calms you. It can be real or imaginary. Imagine you are at the top of a staircase leading to a peaceful place. Count your way down the steps until you are peaceful and relaxed.




  •  Silence your mind. Once you've trained your mind to focus on just one thing at a time, the next step is focus on nothing at all, essentially "clearing" your mind. This requires tremendous discipline but it is the pinnacle of meditation. After focusing on a single point as described in the previous step, you can either cast it away, or observe it impartially and let it come and then go, without labeling it as "good" or "bad". Take the same approach to any thoughts which return to your mind until silence perseveres.
  • Tips

    • With good posture, it will be easier to breathe as your lungs will have more space. In fact, you may notice how most of the muscles in your torso work to help you breathe, from the muscles in the base of your pelvis to the ones in your neck, centered on the main breathing muscle, the diaphragm. They work just a little, assisting the diaphragm. If you notice this, it's a good sign you have established a good posture. The right posture is easy and comfortable. You almost feel like you are floating.
    • It is easy to lose track of time while meditating. Being concerned about time can be distracting to meditation. Some people find it liberating to set a timer and let it be concerned about how long you have to meditate. Choose a gentle timer. If it is too jarring, the anticipation of the alarm can be distracting.
    • If you find it difficult to meditate for the length of time you have chosen, try a shorter time for a while. Almost anyone can meditate for a minute or two without experiencing intrusive thoughts. Then, as the ocean of the mind calms, you gradually lengthen your meditation session until you have achieved the desired length of time.
    • Make some effort to be mindful of your mood and thoughts when not meditating. You may notice that you feel calmer, happier, and sharper on days when you have meditated, and notice a decrease in these qualities when you have not. 
    • Meditation practiced over a long term period of time has been shown to have many beneficial results and is well worth continued practice. Benefits include: Increased mindfulness and awareness, reduced stress, calmer and more relaxed moods, improved memory and focus, and increased in grey matter (brain cells) in various parts of the brain.
    • It may be beneficial to mentally review or replay the previous day at the start of your sessions, if you can do so in a relaxed, passive way. This often happens naturally, and sometimes it's best to allow this to happen, as long as you don't get emotionally wrapped up or let it go on too long before beginning meditation. This procedure is known as "processing" of recent events, and becoming skilled at performing a non-judgmental review of events does much to increase awareness and emotional well-being.
    • Do what works best for you. What works for some people might have other techniques that might not work for you. Don't let that get you down. Remember to relax!
    • The benefits of meditation can be experienced long before the practitioner has been successful in maintaining focus or clearing the mind, simply as a result of the practice.
    • You should be comfortable enough to concentrate, but not so comfortable that you feel the urge to fall asleep.
    • Set aside a specific time each day for meditation, but don't overdo it. If 20-30 minutes in the morning isn't enough, add another session later in the day instead of trying for a single, longer session.
    • What you do with a silent mind is up to you. Some people find that it is a good time to introduce an intention or a desired outcome to the subconscious mind. Others prefer to "rest" in the rare silence that meditation offers. For religious people, meditation is often used to connect with their God(s) and receive visions.
    • For some people, focusing attention on a point or object does exactly the opposite of what meditation is all about. It takes you back to the life of focus, concentration, strain. In this case, as an alternative to the above techniques, some meditators recommend un-focusing your attention. Instead of focusing attention on a point or an object, this type of meditation is achieved by attaining a state of zero. Take your attention above all thoughts to a point where you lose all attention and all thoughts.
    • Do not force yourself to meditate. You should want to meditate before think about trying.
    • Some other benefits that are less observable for most people include: falling asleep more easily, more ease in fighting addictions, altered states of mind (which are most prominent in people who have spent over 1,000 hours meditating such as Buddhist monks).

    Warnings

    • If you find your mind is wandering, try not to scold or beat up on yourself about it. Wandering restlessly is the normal state of the conditioned mind. This is the first lesson many people learn in meditation and it is a valuable one. Simply, gently, invite your attention back to your breath, remembering that you've just had a small but precious "awakening." Becoming aware of your wandering mind is a success, not a failure.
    • Don't expect immediate results. The purpose of meditation is not to turn you into a Zen master overnight. Meditation works best when it is done for its own sake, without becoming attached to results.
    • As you meet other people who meditate, you may encounter a few who will boast about their endurance for long meditation sessions, even hours and hours at a sitting. Don't be tempted to change your practice to "keep up." Meditation is not a competition––it's a way of life.
    • Some people find it's difficult to meditate immediately before bedtime. If you're very sleepy, you may find yourself nodding off. Conversely, meditating may energize your mind, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
    • If your posture is good, you will almost certainly feel a stretch on the back of your neck, and possibly in your shoulders. Just relax. If the stretch is so pronounced that it is painful, work on stretching and relaxing that area when you aren't meditating.
     Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.


    Wednesday, September 14, 2016

    Is it Possible to Hypnotize Animals?

     
    Train? Yes. Hypnotize? No.

     Humans are the only species that can make use of what Michael Ellner has referred to as "the transformational magic" of an  provides both the opportunity and the occasion for those who have the ability to use their imagination in an "Alice-in-Wonderland" fashion to go ahead and do so. If we choose to adopt Michael Yapko's view that all communication is hypnosis, then "birds do it," and "bees do it." My own preference, however, is to use a more conservative definition such as Michael's, and "let sleeping dogs lie."


    Monday, August 29, 2016

    Trauma and Trauma Recovery

    If you tie a string of firecrackers to the a cat's tail and light them, he may not be physically injured if you use a cord that is long enough  -- but he will never be the same cat again! Humans, with our more advanced brains, are often inclined to blame ourselves for a traumatic injury over which we have no control, thinking things like, "I must be a terrible, worthless human being, or my own father would never do such a horrible thing to me!" The first thing a mental health professional has to do is often to teach a traumatized person to love and accept oneself, so that the lasting effects of the trauma can be constructively re-directed.

    We have all had minor traumas and have learned to adjust to them, more or less. But if the trauma is great enough, and/or if it happens often enough, a traumatized human will usually require the assistance of a trauma therapy specialist in order to facilitate the healing process.

    In the following Ted Talk, Sasha joseph Neulinger speaks about surviving multi-generational sexual abuse and how it can still influence our choices for the future in positive directions even if it is not completely reversible.


    Clients sometimes ask to be hypnotized in order to find out whether or not they have been molested or abused in other ways. Hypnosis is not used to help in the recovery of past traumas because there might be so much emotion associated with these memories that the client may be overwhelmed by them. Indeed, the relaxation and security of the hypnotic setting itself may occasionally be sufficient to bring about the recall of childhood traumatic events, possibly traumatizing the client all over again and making recovery even more difficult than it was before. Clients are not even encouraged to talk about their childhood trauma unless they feel comfortable in doing so. There is also the danger of "false memory syndrome," or the tendency of the imagination to construct events which never actually occurred, which caused great anguish in the past, before this phenomenon was formally recognized.

    I like to recommend Babette Rothschild's The Body Remembers for clients in my practice  who like to read about trauma treatment and who themselves have been victims of trauma. She writes with great clarity, but some familiarity with the professional literature is usually helpful.

    Sunday, August 21, 2016

    How to Use Meditation to Identify Life Goals -- and Deal with Stress Along the Way

    There are four basic stages of problem solving:



  • Preparation, in which you become familiar with the elements of a problm by turning it over in your mind;
  • Incubation, or letting it "sit" for a while as your right brain or "unconscious mind" works to come up with a solution; 
  • Illumination, or a sudden insight which presents itself as a solution; and 
  • Verification, or actually checking the solution to see if it is really going to work.ted  

  • Meditation is an excellent way of stoking your mental processes to speed up the incubation stage when you are seeking a solution to a problem or a life goal which has been which has been eluding you.  Although the process may still take some time, meditation is also an excellent way of dealing with the strong emotions which may arise while you are awaiting a solution and, eventually, while you are pursuing it. The following WikiHow article on meditation has been by edited by nearly 700 people and read by over 1-3/4 million. In addition to its other uses, I heartily recommend it as a means of identifying aims and purposes which then can be formulated into 
    winning goals.

    How to Meditate

    from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

    Meditation is a mental discipline by which one attempts to get beyond the conditioned, "thinking" mind into a deeper state of self awareness. To free one's awareness from associating solely with the mind and its soul. There are many different meditation methods. At the core of meditation is the goal to focus and eventually quiet your mind, thus freeing your awareness. As you progress, you will find that you can meditate anywhere and at any time, accessing an inner calm no matter what's going on around you. You will also find that you can better control your reactions to things as you become increasingly aware of your thoughts (letting go of anger, for example). But first, you have to learn to tame your mind and control your breathing.

    Steps

    1. Make time to meditate. Set aside enough time in your daily routine for meditating; early morning and in the evening are often most preferable. The steadiness of mind meditation is most noticeable when you do it regularly; some people like to end the day by clearing their mind, and some prefer to find refuge in meditation in the middle of a busy day. The easiest time to meditate is in the morning, before the day tires your body out and gives your mind more to think about. Just take care to avoid spending too long meditating––start with around 5 to 15 minutes a day.
    2. Find or create a quiet, relaxing environment. For the beginner, it's especially important to avoid any obstacles to attention. Turn off TV sets, the phone or other noisy appliances. If you play music, choose calm, repetitive and gentle tunes, so as not to break your concentration.
      • Meditating outside works for many meditators. As long as you don't sit near a busy roadway or another source of loud noise, you can find peace under a tree or sitting upon some lush grass in a favorite corner of the garden.
    3. Sit on level ground. Sit on a cushion if the ground is uncomfortable. You don't have to twist your limbs into the half lotus or full lotus position or adopt any unusual postures. The important thing is to keep your back straight, as this will help with breathing later on.
      • Tilt your pelvis forward by sitting on the forward edge of a thick cushion, or on a chair that has its back legs lifted off the ground 8 to 10 cm (3 or 4 inches).
      • Starting from your bottom, stack up the vertebrae in your spine, so that they are balanced one on top of another and support the whole weight of your torso, neck, and head. Done correctly, it feels as if no effort is required to hold your torso up. (A small amount of effort is in fact required, but with the right posture, it is so small and evenly distributed you don't notice it.)
      • Relax your arms and legs. They don't need to be in any special position, just as long as they are relaxed and don't interfere with balancing your torso. You can put your hands on your thighs, but it might be easier at first to let your arms hang at your sides––the hanging weight helps reveal where things are out of alignment.
    4. Relax everything. Keep searching for parts of your body that aren't relaxed. When you find them, (and you will), consciously relax them. You may find that you can't relax them unless you adjust your posture so that you are better aligned, and that place doesn't need to work anymore. This commonly happens with muscles near your spine. You may also notice that you are twisted a little and need to straighten out. Little muscles in your face often keep getting tense, too.
    5. Let your attention rest on the flow of your breath. Listen to it, follow it, but make no judgments on it (such as "It sounds a little raspy... maybe I'm getting a cold?"). The goal is to allow the "chattering" in your mind to gradually fade away. Find an "anchor" to settle your mind.
      • Try reciting a mantra (repetition of a sacred word). A single word like "om" uttered at a steady rhythm is best. You can recite it verbally or just with the voice in your mind. Beginners may find it easier to count their breaths. Try counting your breath from 1 through 10, then simply start again at 1.
      • To circumvent images that keep intruding on your thoughts, visualize a place that calms you. It can be real or imaginary. Imagine you are at the top of a staircase leading to a peaceful place. Count your way down the steps until you are peaceful and relaxed.
    6. Silence your mind. Once you've trained your mind to focus on just one thing at a time, the next step is focus on nothing at all, essentially "clearing" your mind. This requires tremendous discipline but it is the pinnacle of meditation. After focusing on a single point as described in the previous step, you can either cast it away, or observe it impartially and let it come and then go, without labeling it as "good" or "bad". Take the same approach to any thoughts which return to your mind until silence perseveres.
    Tips
    • It is easy to lose track of time while meditating. Being concerned about time can be distracting to meditation. Some people find it liberating to set a timer and let it be concerned about how long you have to meditate. Choose a gentle timer. If it is too jarring, the anticipation of the alarm can be distracting.
    • Some other benefits that are less observable for most people include: falling asleep more easily, more ease in fighting addictions, altered states of mind (which are most prominent in people who have spent over 10,000 hours meditating such as Buddhist monks), and most recently discovered is that meditation on the concepts of calmness and relaxation can turn off genes within every cell in the body that cause cells to become inflamed when you are under a lot of stress.
    • If you find it difficult to meditate for the length of time you have chosen, try a shorter time for a while. Almost anyone can meditate for a minute or two without experiencing intrusive thoughts. Then, as the ocean of the mind calms, you gradually lengthen your meditation session until you have achieved the desired length of time.
    • With good posture, it will be easier to breathe as your lungs will have more space. In fact, you may notice how most of the muscles in your torso work to help you breathe, from the muscles in the base of your pelvis to the ones in your neck, centered on the main breathing muscle, the diaphragm. They work just a little, assisting the diaphragm. If you notice this, it's a good sign you have established a good posture. The right posture is easy and comfortable. You almost feel like you are floating.
    • You should be comfortable enough to concentrate, but not so comfortable that you feel the urge to fall asleep.
    • Set aside a specific time each day for meditation, but don't overdo it. If 20-30 minutes in the morning isn't enough, add another session later in the day instead of trying for a single, longer session.
    • Make some effort to be mindful of your mood and thoughts when not meditating. You may notice that you feel calmer, happier, and sharper on days when you have meditated, and notice a decrease in these qualities when you have not.
    • Meditation practiced over a long term period of time have been shown to have many beneficial results and is well worth continued practice. Benefits include: Increased mindfulness and awareness, reduced stress, calmer and more relaxed moods, improved memory and focus, and increased in grey matter (brain cells) in various parts of the brain.
    • It may be beneficial to mentally review or replay the previous day at the start of your sessions, if you can do so in a relaxed, passive way. This often happens naturally, and sometimes it's best to allow this to happen, as long as you don't get emotionally wrapped up or let it go on too long before beginning meditation. This procedure is known as "processing" of recent events, and becoming skilled at performing a non-judgmental review of events does much to increase awareness and emotional well-being.
    • Do what works best for you. What works for some people might have other techniques that might not work for you. Don't let that get you down. Remember to relax!
    • The benefits of meditation can be experienced long before the practitioner has been successful in maintaining focus or clearing the mind, simply as a result of the practice.
    • What you do with a silent mind is up to you. Some people find that it is a good time to introduce an intention or a desired outcome to the subconscious mind. Others prefer to "rest" in the rare silence that meditation offers. For religious people, meditation is often used to connect with their God(s) and receive visions.
    • For some people, focusing attention on a point or object does exactly the opposite of what meditation is all about. It takes you back to the life of focus, concentration, strain. In this case, as an alternative to the above techniques, some meditators recommend un-focusing your attention. Instead of focusing attention on a point or an object, this type of meditation is achieved by attaining a state of zero. Take your attention above all thoughts to a point where you lose all attention and all thoughts.
    • Do not force yourself to meditate. You should want to meditate before think about trying.
    Warnings
    • Don't expect immediate results. The purpose of meditation is not to turn you into a Zen master overnight. Meditation works best when it is done for its own sake, without becoming attached to results.
    • If you find your mind is wandering, try not to scold or beat up on yourself about it. Wandering restlessly is the normal state of the conditioned mind. This is the first lesson many people learn in meditation and it is a valuable one. Simply, gently, invite your attention back to your breath, remembering that you've just had a small but precious "awakening." Becoming aware of your wandering mind is a success, not a failure.
    • Some people find it's difficult to meditate immediately before bedtime. If you're very sleepy, you may find yourself nodding off. Conversely, meditating may energize your mind, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
    • If your posture is good, you will almost certainly feel a stretch on the back of your neck, and possibly in your shoulders. Just relax. If the stretch is so pronounced that it is painful, work on stretching and relaxing that area when you aren't meditating.
    • As you meet other people who meditate, you may encounter a few who will boast about their endurance for long meditation sessions, even hours and hours at a sitting. Don't be tempted to change your practice to "keep up." Meditation is not a competition––it's a way of life.
    Related wikiHows
    Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Meditate. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.


    ------------------------------------------

     
    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.




    Tuesday, August 16, 2016

    What is the Most Effective Hypnotic Induction?

    +michael ellner  has just posted a quotation from MIlton Erickson regarding the most effective form of hypnosis: "It isn't the amount of time. It isn't the theory of psychotherapy. It’s how you reach the personality by saying the right thing at the right time."  This jibes with Steve Lynn's summary of our induction chapter in the American Psychological Association's  Handbook of Clinical Hypnosis, which concludes that the most important consideration  is the personality and individual characteristics of each individual we encounter, If you say the right thing at the right time, there's practically no limit to what you can accomplish!




    Monday, August 8, 2016

    The Psychology of Humor

    Which of the following jokes do you find amusing? Are there any that you just don't get, or are repulsed by?

    Did I read that sign right? 
    _____________________________________________TOILET OUT OF ORDER. PLEASE USE FLOOR BELOW_____________________________________________In a Laundromat:AUTOMATIC WASHING MACHINES: PLEASE REMOVE ALL YOUR CLOTHES WHEN THE LIGHT GOES OUT____________________________________________________
    In a London department store:BARGAIN BASEMENT UPSTAIRS 
    ____________________________________________________
    In an office:WOULD THE PERSON WHO TOOK THE STEP LADDER YESTERDAY, PLEASE BRING IT BACK, OR FURTHER STEPS WILL BE TAKEN._____________________________________________In an office:AFTER TEA BREAK, STAFF SHOULD EMPTY THE TEAPOT AND STAND UPSIDE DOWN ON THE DRAINING BOARD._____________________________________________
    Outside a second hand shop: WE EXCHANGE ANYTHING - BICYCLES, WASHING MACHINES, ETC. WHY NOT BRING YOUR WIFE ALONG AND GET A WONDERFUL BARGAIN?_______________________________________
    Notice in Health Food shop window:CLOSED DUE TO ILLNESS._______________________________________
    Spotted in a safari park: (I sure hope so)
    ELEPHANTS PLEASE STAY IN YOUR CAR_______________________________________
    Seen during a conference:FOR ANYONE WHO HAS CHILDREN AND DOESN'T KNOW IT, THERE IS A DAY CARE ON THE 1ST FLOOR._______________________________________
    Notice in a farmer's field:THE FARMER ALLOWS WALKERS TO CROSS THE FIELD FOR FREE, BUT THE BULL CHARGES._______________________________________
    Message on a leaflet:IF YOU CANNOT READ, THIS LEAFLET WILL TELL YOU HOW TO GET LESSONS._______________________________________
    On a repair shop door:WE CAN REPAIR ANYTHING. (PLEASE KNOCK HARD ON THE DOOR - THE BELL DOESN'T WORK)_______________________________________
    Proofreading is a dying art, wouldn't you say?
    Man Kills Self, Before Shooting Wife and Daughter_____________________________________________
    This one I caught in the SGV Tribune the other day and called the Editorial Room and asked who wrote this.
    It took two or three readings before the editor realized that what he was reading was impossible!
    They put in a correction the next day.
    Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert SaysReally? Ya think?___________________________________
    Police Begin Campaign to Run Down JaywalkersNow that's taking things a bit far!____________________________________________________
    Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes OverWhat a guy!_____________________________________________
    Miners Refuse to Work after DeathNo-good-for-nothing' lazy so-and-so's!____________________________________________________
    Juvenile Court to Try Shooting DefendantSee if that works any better than a fair trial!________________________________________
    War Dims Hope for PeaceI can see where it might have that effect!____________________________________________________
    If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last AwhileYa think?!____________________________________________________
    Cold Wave Linked to TemperaturesWho would have thought!____________________________________________________
    Enfield (London) Couple Slain; Police Suspect HomicideThey may be on to something!____________________________________________________
    Red Tape Holds Up New BridgesYou mean there's something stronger than duct tape?____________________________________________________
    Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery ChargeHe probably IS the battery charge!____________________________________________________
    New Study of Obesity Looks for LargerTest GroupWeren't they fat enough?!-____________________________________________________
    Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas
    in Spacecraft
    That's what he gets for eating those beans!____________________________________________________
    Kids Make Nutritious SnacksDo they taste like chicken?________________________________________
    Local High School Dropouts Cut in HalfChainsaw Massacre all over again!____________________________________________________
    Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot DoctorsBoy, are they tall!____________________________________________________
    And the winner is...Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds DeadDid I read that right?____________________________________________________

    Believe it or not, the "Mirth Response Test" is aimed at examining the psychodynamic reasons why people tend to laugh at, not get, or be grossed out by, a particular joke. The idea is that laughter releases tension in areas which people might be conflicted about -- which is why so much humor deals with sexual topics. If there is just a moderate amount of conflict, you find it funny. If there is too much conflict, as might be expected in the idea of eating children, you might either be grossed out by it, or not get it at all because the notion is so repugnant.  (A less conflict-laden joke of this type might be, "I love animals. They're delicious!) If someone is inclined to laugh at the one about, "use floor below.,"  in the list above, it might be because . . . well, you get the idea.

    On the other hand, sometimes a joke is just a joke, as illustrated by the story of a man who opened refrigerator door to find a live rabbit inside, calmly munching on a carrot. "What are you doing here?" he asked incredulously, 

    "What does it say on the door?" asked the rabbit.

    "It says 'Westinghouse," the man replied.

    "Well," said the rabbit, "I'm westing."  

    Maybe we ought to just let the matter "west " there. . . . 

    Saturday, July 23, 2016

    transution



       The Boy Scout Law: "A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly,
    courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty,
    brave, clean, and reverent."

    Human beings are natural storytellers. Every society tells stories to its young which attempt to explain, in words which are simple enough that children can understand, the meaning of life and the identity of the people into whom they were born. As adults, we re-enact aspects of these same metaphors in patriotic and religious rituals. Most of the time, the effect of such rituals is benign, as illustrated above. But unfortunately, this power can easily be abused; for there is no absurdity so palpable that it will not be accepted if it is presented to children by those in authority and frequently repeated with great solemnity. 

    Most of us are familiar with Charles Dickens' story, "A Christmas Carol," in which the miserly Scrooge has a dramatic personality change after he is visited by three spirits: the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. If Dickens had been writing in the twenty-first century instead of the nineteenth, he might have had Scrooge make three or more visits to an experiential hypnotist. Instead of giving him the fright of his life (or "scaring the Dickens out of him," which we now know is largely ineffective), in our new book, Virtual Reality Hypnosis (Gibbons & Woods, 2016), Kelley Woods and I demonstrate how we would use Kelley's Mindful Hypnosis (Ellner & Woods, 2013) and my BEST ME Technique (Gibbons, 2001, 2001; Gibbons & Cavallaro, 2013; Gibbons, & Lynn, 2010) to provide Scrooge with a series of reward-based experiences in an alternate universe (if only in his imagination), which may be incorporated directly into to the ongoing narrative of his life ( Sarbin & de Rivera, 1998) and allow him to bring those experiences back with him to incorporate into his present personality. 

    References

    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. 

    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.

    Gibbons, D. E., & Woods, Kelley T. (2016). Virtual reality hypnosis: Explorations in the Multiverse. Amazon Books.


    Sarbin, T. R., & De Rivera, J. (1998),  Believed-in imaginings: The Narrative Consruction of Reality (Memory, Trauma, Dissociation, and Hypnosis) . Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.



    Sunday, July 17, 2016

    How to THINK Like a Thin Person


     

    Most diets simply do not work for most people most of the time, because they have not learned to think like a thin person. After we have been on a diet for a while and lost some weight, our body reacts to the diet as if it were a famine. Our metabolism slows down, we stop losing. and eventually we begin to eat more, in order to return to what our body had previously considered as our "normal" weight. Here's how to break the cycle:

    Cognitive-behavioral psychology is the study of the relationships between thinking, feeling, and behavior.  Unless we develop the habit of taking all three of these into account, in the same way that thin people habitually do, we will continue living on a perpetual yo-yo of dieting to lose weight and then gaining it back to the level that our body has become used to. 

    Cognitive-behavioral therapists often use a form called a thought record in order to examine just what goes on in the mind when we make those habitual decisions that keep getting us into trouble by eating the wrong things. You can obtain them at www.getselfhelp.co.uk. You can make copies of their sample form for your own use by using the print command on your computer, and you can also obtain different versions of the thought record for a host of other purposes. In addition, they have a free online self-help course and other materials on how to use the thought record effectively.


    Here's an example of one way that a thought record might be used to counteract one common stressful situation which causes people to consume too much food. Let's suppose you are putting in long hours and having to do more than your fair share at work because other people have been laid off, and your boss is driving you crazy. You start to gain weight because you have gotten into the habit of consoling yourself by eating too much, and then you cannot keep the weight off for the reasons just mentioned. The thought record first asks you a series of simple questions about the thoughts that occurred when you gave in to the temptation to overeat, asks you how appealing those thoughts were, and helps you to think of more appealing thoughts, as illustrated below.  

  • Where were you?   Watching television on the couch at home.
  • Emotion or feeling.  Fatigue. Lethargy. Craving for a snack.
  • Negative automatic thought.  I want to go to the kitchen and get some pretzels and beer.
  • Evidence that supports the thought.  I will enjoy them after a long hard day at work.
  • Evidence that does not support the thought.  I'm becoming a couch potato.
  • Alternative thought or autosuggestion.  I'm going get up and find other activities to enjoy.
  • Emotion or feeling. Relief (rating:60%); discomfort at having to get up (rating: 40%).  

  • Of course, you don't have to chronicle every decision this way in order to learn to think like a thin person. It only takes a few such exercises to the hang of it. But it is necessary to make a good beginning for cognitive-behavioral psychology to help you to keep your feet on the right path As Confucius said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!" 
     Print Sources


    Barlow, D. H. (2008). Clinical Handbook of Psychological Disorders: A Step-by-Step Treatment Manual, 5th ed. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

    Beck, J. S. (2008).  The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person. Birmingham, AL: Oxmoor House.  (Judith Beck is the daughter of Aaron T. Beck, the founder of cognitive-behavioral therapy, and one of its most widely respected leaders in her own right.) 

    Moss, M. (2013). Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.  New York, NY: Random House.


     

    •