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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

EVERYONE Lives in a Parallel Universe!

+Kelley Woods recently shared with me an article from the British newspaper the Daily Mash, which makes the point that everyone lives in their own parallel universe, which only occasionally intersects with others, because we all have different experiences in life.

The Daily Mash is a satirical publication, but their point is a psychologically valid one. One day, for example, I happened to mention to my ten-year-old daughter that Lenin was her mother's second cousin."

"WHO?" she asked, incredulously.

"Lenin," I responded.

"JOHN LENNON?" she asked.

In my parallel universe, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a major historical figure in the development of Communism:

V. I. Lenin

In my daughter's ten-year-old parallel universe, on the other hand, Lenin did not exist. However, the Beatle John Lennon was as unique as a -- well -- a Yellow Submarine!

Postmodern constructionism holds that since nobody can ever really know what "truth" is (Just ask a philosopher!), everyone constructs his or her own reality, or parallel universe, in order to explain the facts of experience as he or she understands them. But as far as "truth" is concerned, therapists are as much in the dark about the ultimate nature of reality as anyone else.

Just because our own parallel universes are not the same as those of other people, it doesn't mean that we are unable to help others. Once we have determined the contents of someone else's parallel universe, we can provide corrective experiences to replace their negative perceptions with positive ones. For example, I am fond of quoting a well-known story about a Russian boy who had become shy and withdrawn because his face was disfigured by a birthmark -- until his grandmother told him that this was a special sign from God that he was destined for greatness. Although he did not become famous, he eventually married, had a family, and experienced a much more successful life than he otherwise would have had, were it not for his grandmother's prediction, which had come to function as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If n client with esteem issues has one talent or skill that they can do extremely well, we can guide them to experience a parallel Universe in hypnosis where they really shine, and use that experience to alter the narrative of their life story in this one.  I was recently working with a client who was going through several anxiety provoking stresses at the same time. She was also an excellent amateur gymnast, and she would probably have had great success if she had the means to compete at the national and international level. She responded extremely well to hypnosis. 

To boost her confidence and self esteem, I hypnotized her and suggested that she was going to experience the thrill, the exertion, and the triumph of winning an Olympic competition in a parallel universe, and having the gold medal hung around her neck at the end of the ceremony. At the conclusion of the session, she opened her eyes, obviously thrilled to the core, and exclaimed, "Wow! I just won a gold medal!"

She knew that she had done this in hypnosis, but it didn't seem to make any difference. We chatted for a while, and I jokingly mentioned that perhaps I should adopt the motto for our practice that some dance studios use, posting a sign outside which read, "Walk in, dance out." To my surprise, as I watched her leave the office and go down the hallway to the door at the far end, she was dancing!

She later told me that she had no more difficulties in facing her current stressors with resolution and courage.