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.

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.


     

    •  

    Saturday, July 16, 2016

    How to Deal with Flashbacks and Panic Attacks

    One of the worst things about having a panic attack is how frightened you are about having the next one. This posting is intended to show you how to keep a panic attack from happening again. It is not intended to serve as a substitute for guidance from a duly licensed mental health professional, who can help you to understand and deal with the problems which brought about the panic attack in the first place, and provide you with practical tips on how to deal with or prevent them. 

    Confucius said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." But once you have taken that step, you have to keep going. The two rules for success in any self-improvement program are: 1) Begin, and 2) Don't stop!  If you suffer from panic attacks, you should have plenty of motivation to follow both of these rules.

    While methods of treatment may vary, It is generally agreed that the cognitive-behavioral approach is the fastest-growing orientation in psychology, with an ever-growing body of research behind it to demonstrate that it actually works. 

    Cognitive-behavioral therapists frequently use a document called a panic attack thought record in order to help you get rid of the wrong ideas and wrong perceptions which may be contributing to your anxiety, and to alter the situations which trigger them. A summary of The "STOPP" technique, which has been referred to as "CBT in a nutshell," is available. There is also a free online self-help course and other materials on how to use them. You can make as many copies of the forms and other information as you want for your own use by using the print command on your computer. (Much of the foregoing information is available courtesy of www.getselfhelp.co.uk.)

    Once you get the hang of it, if you continue to do these mental workouts as regularly as you would exercise physically in a gymnasium, you will eventually become able to think, feel, and act in a calm and confident manner in almost any situation. However, just as reading a book on surgery will not make you into a surgeon, and reading an exercise manual will not build muscles, merely reading a Blog posting on how to avoid having panic attacks will not be enough to enable you to teach you how to get rid of them. People who practice meditation, for example, do not hope enlightenment merely by reading about it! By the same token, regular practice using the thought record for a variety of situations is the key to success. 
       
    How to Identify a Panic Attack

    How can you be sure that what you are concerned about is a panic attack and not something else? While an actual diagnosis should only be made by a duly-licensed mental halth professional, it may be helpful to knlow that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychitric Association (2013, p, 208) defines a panic attack as an abrupt surge of intense fear or intense discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes, and during which time four (or more) of the following symptoms occur:
    1. Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate.
    2. Sweating.
    3. Trembling or shaking.
    4. Sensatons of shortness of breath or smothering.
    5. Feelings of choking.
    6. Chest pain or discomfort.
    7. Nausea or abdominal distress.
    8. Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint.
    9. Chills or heat sensations.
    10. Paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations).
    11. Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself).
    12. Fear of losing control or "going crazy."
    13. Fear of dying.
    For at least a month after the panic attack, either or both of the following must take place: a) the person is extremely worried that either the panic attack itself, or what he or she was so afraid of while the panic attack was going on (losing control or going crazy), is going to happen again; and/or b) the person makes a "significant, maladaptive change in behavior"  in order to keep the panic attack from recurring, "such as avoiding exercise or unfamiliar situations." 

    To meet the definition of a panic attack, the symptoms cannot result from a drug reaction, nor can they be a symptom of something else such as schizophrenia.

    Reference

    American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Arlingron, VA, American Psychiatric Association, 2013.


     

    This Blog contains many other examples of experience as an art form, for the enhancement of human potential, the ennoblement of the human spirit, and the fulfillment of human existence.


    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.



    Thursday, July 7, 2016

    Do Some People WANT to Destroy Themselves?

    It is commonly said that self-preservation is a powerful human need, which is understandable if we have a healthy self-concept and seek out opportunities and situations which tend to increase our self-esteem. But what if you have learned ti dislike yourself? If you have been treated badly by those who are closest to you, might you not also come to dislike yourself? Can this give rise to a need for self-destruction?  

    Most of us have known people who make one bad decision after another, and then "go off" on people who try to make logical but difficult suggestions which would interrupt their downward spiral. These bad decisions may involve maxing out their credit cards and repeatedly borrowing money from parents, friends, spouses, or relatives in order to pull them out of yet another self-inflicted spending spree, until others are unable or unwilling to engage in further rescue efforts. Self-destructive behavior may also take the form of self-injury or cutting, various types of addiction such as alcohol or drug dependency, pathological gambling, suicide or suicidal gestures, etc.  Eventually, These self-destructive tendencies may be expressed in the form of psychosomatic ailments which can eventually become disabling  to the point that the individual is no longer able to work.   

    In the proposed revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, a separate category of personality disorder, Self-Destructive Personality Disorder, was proposed for further study.  It was not included after was perceived as being largely the result of domestic violence caused by males. Many of us continue to see cases of self-destructive behavior in clinical practice, however; and politically correct or not, the concept does seem to have objective validity. Here is the description of the proposed self-destructive personality disorder.so that you can jjudge for yourself.

    A) A pervasive pattern of self-defeating behavior, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts. The person may often avoid or undermine pleasurable experiences, be drawn to situations or relationships in which they will suffer, and prevent others from helping them, as indicated by at least five of the following:
    1. chooses people and situations that lead to disappointment, failure, or mistreatment even when better options are clearly available
    2. rejects or renders ineffective the attempts of others to help them
    3. following positive personal events (e.g., new achievement), responds with depression, guilt, or a behavior that produces pain (e.g., an accident)
    4. incites angry or rejecting responses from others and then feels hurt, defeated, or humiliated (e.g., makes fun of spouse in public, provoking an angry retort, then feels devastated)
    5. rejects opportunities for pleasure, or is reluctant to acknowledge enjoying oneself (despite having adequate social skills and the capacity for pleasure)
    6. fails to accomplish tasks crucial to their personal objectives despite having demonstrated ability to do so, e.g., helps fellow students write papers, but is unable to write their own
    7. is uninterested in or rejects people who consistently treat them well
    8. engages in excessive self-sacrifice that is unsolicited by the intended recipients of the sacrifice
    B) The behaviors in A do not occur exclusively in response to, or in anticipation of, being physically, sexually, or psychologically abused.
    C) The behaviors in A do not occur only when the person is depressed.

    See also: How to Recognize a Personality Disorder.

    Saturday, July 2, 2016

    When Twelve-Step Programs Don't Work for You

    It was not until I had been teaching for about ten years that I realized that meeting a new class for the first time was like meeting a new person for the first time. Every class, just like every individual, has a distinct personality that is not entirely like any other. Many of the clients in my psychology practice have tried A. A. or other twelve-step programs and given up. I like to point out that every twelve-step program, just like every college class, has its own personality too. If you aren't comfortable with one particular class, you don't just drop out of school, you look around for another one that you can take. 

    However, there are still many people who are just not comfortable in group settings where they share their innermost secrets with the other people in the room. As an alternative to twelve-step programs, other groups have been formed which are based on the principles of cognitive-behavioral psychology. The folks at www.smartrecovery.org have a tool chest of resources which is a treasure-trove for people who want to alter hard-to-change behaviors of every type (not just addictions). They have a list of Articles and Essays containing a great deal of practical material which can be directly put into use, and a superb reading list. When twelve-step programs do not work for you, perhaps you might want to check them out!


     

    Friday, July 1, 2016

    Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: (CBT) Online Downloads

    You can get rid of the false beliefs and  perceptions
     that make life diffiicult -- if you go sbout it in the right way!.
    The Greek philosopher Epictitus said, "Men are disturbed not by events, but by the views which they take of them." Fast-forward to the Twenty First Century. Cognitive-behavioral psychology teaches that these disturbing views are made up of  False Beliefs that are Driving You Crazy and False Perceptions that are Driving You Crazy.

    The initial results which were reported by both researchers and practitioners in the area of cognitive behavioral psychology were so encouraging that the British National Health Service decided to make cognitively based self-help  information available to everyone in the U.K. at either no cost or a nominal fee. This well-intentioned effort was not entirely successful, of course. But if the results were this promising, they are definitely worth a look by anyone who is seriously interested in self-improvement. Although this is not an official government Web site, a vast amount of self-help information is still available at www.getselfhelp.co.uk.