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.


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.

Search This Blog

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Poetry Therapy

Anxiety and depression are the most common psychological problems which most people have to contend with in everyday life. Inspirational poetry, as illustrated by the following examples, can often provide the battle cry which enables us to continue the fight when all seems lost. More information can be found at the Websites of the National Association for Poetry Therapy and the Institute for Poetic Medicine


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thought your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings:
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it. . . .

                                                    --Rudyard Kipling


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Clinical Effectiveness vs. Getting Smarter by Degrees

 There once was a preacher named Fiddle
Who refused an honorary degree.
He didn't mind being calle Fiddle,
But he wouldn't be Fiddle, D.D.!

Research has shown that treatment outcomes are not determined by what the certificate or degree says on the wall, or by the discipline within which the certificate or degree has been conferred,  but by the effectiveness of the rapport which one develops with one's clients. In the words of Irving Yalom, who is world-famous for his work with groups, "It's the relationship that heals. It's the relationship that heals. It's the relationship that heals. My professional rosary!"

I once began a session with a client using a quote from another poem, :"The Walrus and the Carpenter," by Lewis Carroll, which began,  "The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things. . ."

"Ooh, that's my favorite poem!" the client exclaimed. She had a horrible childhood and had spent most of her life in therapy as a result. But she had persevered in seeking treatment. Eventually, she married, and raised a daughter who was about to graduate from college and start a family of her own. The reason she had been able to do so, I believe, is depicted in the rest of Lewis Carroll's poem, which can easily be seen as a symbolic depiction of the manner in which successful therapy overcomes life's inconsistencies, absurdities, and contradictions.

The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright--
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done--
"It's very rude of him," she said,
"To come and spoil the fun!"

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead--
There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be grand!"

"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

"O Oysters, come and walk with us!"
The Walrus did beseech.
"A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each."

The eldest Oyster looked at him, But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head--
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat--
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn't any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them, And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more--
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

"But wait a bit," the Oysters cried,
"Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!"

"No hurry!" said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.
"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--

Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."
"But not on us!" the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
"After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!"

"The night is fine," the Walrus said.
"Do you admire the view?

"It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf--
I've had to ask you twice!"

"It seems a shame," the Walrus said,
"To play them such a trick,
After we've brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!"

The Carpenter said nothing but
"The butter's spread too thick!"
"I weep for you," the Walrus said:
"I deeply sympathize."

With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

"O Oysters," said the Carpenter,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Can Hypnosis CREATE a "Master and Slave" Relationship?

Only if you WANT it to!  It is generally agreed that the legndary Rasputin acquired his reputation as a seducer of women in the Court of Imperial Russia because of his imposing physical characteristics in a culture of intense sexual repression, and not because he forced them into submission by means of hypnosis.

Whenever I would give a talk on hypnosis to psychology classes, I used to point out hypnosis does not automatically turn you into a zombie or a robot, or weaken your will, or make you dependent upon another person, because you can always refuse to comply with any suggestion you are given. However, what is against your will may not be the same thing that is against someone else's will.

One day, during the ten-minute break between classes, a girl came to my desk and told me that for the past twenty years, her father used to hypnotize her mother and tell her what he wanted to have for dinner the following evening. She would dutifully prepare the meal without remembering that she had been given a suggestion to do so under hypnosis. The couple had currently separated, and her ccccmother had gone to visit her husband in order to plead with him to reconsider. Since the daughter was aware of this part of her parents' relationship, what was going on was obviously no secret.

Although it is not possible to diagnose someone I have never met, people with a diagnosis of  dependant personality disorder usually want to be told what to do, and they will often go to great lengths to maintain a relationship which is in danger of breaking up. Her mother was always eager to please her husband, and was pleading with him to return the marriage to where it was before. Nevertheless, since she did not have to do any of these things, unless she actually wanted to do them. It is quite likely that her parents' relationship would have remained much the same, regardless of whether or not hypnosis was present to act as a catalyst.--  although hypnosis itself is often made into a fetish by hypnotic mistresses, goddesses, and those who love them.

As Steve Lynn and I put it in the conclusion of our chapter in the American Psychological Association's Handbook of Clinical Hypnosis,(Gibbons & Lynn, 2008), the nature and success of a particular induction is not as important as the characteristics and personality of each client we encounter. For more information on the role of hypnosis in catalyzing changes in behavior, see Gibons & Woods (2016).


Gibbons, D. E., & Lynn, S. J. (2008). Hypnotic inductions: A primer. In Ruhe, J. W., Lynn, S. J., & Kirsch, I. (Eds.) Handbook of clinical hypnosis, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Assn.

Gibbons, D. E., & Woods, K. T. (2016) Virtual reality hypnosis: Exploring alternate and parallel universes. Amazon Books, 2016. (Both print and Kindle editions are available.) 

Orgasms Induced by Hypnotic Suggestion

I once attended a workshop taught by the late Martin T. Orne, who was the editor of the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. A medical student told him that a friend had said, "I gave my wife fifteen orgasms last night, and you can do it too!"

"To his wife?" I asked, and the room exploded in laughter.  Later, however, someone asked Dr. Orne how many people in the general population are capable of responding to almost any suggestion they are given. "One or two percent," he replied, with the verbal equivalent of a shrug.

In the following You Tube video, Brian David Phillips demonstrates how easy it is to induce both multiple and full body orgasms in a sufficiently willing and responsive subject, merely by suggesting that they are going to take place.

Are these responses genuine, or was she merely play-acting? Most professional observers would probably agree that in all likelihood, this volunteer is part of the one or two percent of hypnotic subjects that Orne was talking about, who are capable of actualizing virtually anything that is suggested to them.

Some lay hypnotists have made a great deal of money putting on workshops and selling tapes over the Internet purporting to show you how to do this yourself. As you can see, however, Phillips isn't doing anything but suggesting what is about to take place. Hypnosis, in regard to this or any other suggestion, provides both the opportunity and the occasion for people who are able to use their imagination in an "Alice-in-Wonderland" fashion to go ahead and do so. All the rest depends upon the subjects' ability and willingness to comply with the instructions and suggestions he or she is given.


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. (2000). Applied hypnosis and hyperempiria. Lincoln, NE: Authors Choice Press (originally published 1979 by Plenum Press).

Sarbin, T. R., & De Rivera, J. (1998). Believed-in imaginings: The narrative construction of reality (memory, trauma, dissociation, and hypnosis). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.