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.

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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.

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Shakespeare, the Dalai Lama, and the Serenity Prayer


The traditional Eastern view of life may be summed up as follows:




The Western view, on the other hand, might be expressed in the words of Shakespeare:

To be or not to be, that is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to bear the slings and arrows of an outrageous fortune,
Or to take up arms against a sea of troubles
And, by opposing, end them.

A modern version of this view is expressed in the following video:  



Who is right? If we were never willing "to take up arms against a sea of troubles," slavery would still exist, wives would always remain submissive to abusive husbands, and democracy would never have come into existence. On the other hand, for a small child growing up in an alcoholic and abusive home, a person toiling in dead-end jobs with no hope of getting another one, a prisoner serving a life sentence, or a patient in a hospice with a terminal illness, their only hope may be to turn inward in the quest for happiness and inner peace. 

For most of us, one answer may be appropriate in one situation or time in life, while the other answer may be appropriate at another time. I once had a Buddhist client with multiple  personalities, who told me that in Tibetan Buddhism you choose your parents according to what they can teach you. "I must have had to learn an awful lot," she told me. She sure did!  

A practical guide to making the appropriate choice is suggested in the following "Serenity Prayer" by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, which has been adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step organizations:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.


Monday, May 22, 2017

When You're Just too Depressed to DO Much


You're not suicidal. If you needed prescription medication, you're taking it.  But you just don't feel like DOING anything! And if you have a job or someplace else you need to be, you don't feel like going.  What can you do when your depression is serious enough to spoil your day, but not serious enough to seek prompt medical attention?

You obviously don't feel too depressed to be on the computer, but you could probably use some advice from people who know exactly how you feel. I would like to recommend that you begin with the Ted Talk on You Tube entitled, "How to Get Stuff Done When You're Depressed."  Then, while your depression is on the mend (and one thing that you can count on most of the time is that it will go away), you can help to cheer yourself up by watching four more videos from  their playlist on the subject of depressoon  They have dozens more, if you're still interested, both on the subject of depression and its treatment.

You might also be interested in:

How to Get a Good Night's Sleep 

How to Keep  Your Boss feom Driving You Crazy

Emergency First Aid for Panic Attacks

How to Meditate Like an Expert Almost Anywhere

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Predicting the Path of Sciientific Revolutions

Scientific progress appears to depend less upon the contribution of individuals, and relatively more upon the cultural superorganic -- the accumulated knowledge and experience of the culture into which they are born.

For example, in regard to current debates regarding the nature of hypnosis and related experiences (Gibbons & Lynn, 2008; Gibbons & Woods, 2016), I would like to recommended Professor Frank Pajares' excellent outline and study guide  for Thomas S. Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Kuhn, 2012),  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 the late Theodore X.Barber, the leader of the non-state view of hypnosis, which is currently expressed in Theodore R. Sarbin's Believed- in Imaginings.(DeRivera&Sarbin, 1998).


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!"



References
Gibons, 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 Kindleditions are available.) 

De Rveraa, J.,, & Sarbin, T.  R. (Eds.,  Believed-In Imaginings:he Narrative Construction of Reality. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 1998

Kuhn, T. S. (2012). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 4th ed. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press





 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Emergency First Aid for Panic Attacks

One of the worst things about having a panic attack is how frightened you are about having the next one. This will show you how help stop a panic attack while it is in progress. Please pass this information on to anyone who might be able to use it. You will be able to  prevent  a lot of needless suffering!   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.,  



Emergency First Aid for Panic Attacks

The best thing you can do during a flashback or panic attack is to ground yourself in the present. You can do this by using each of your five senses:

1. Look around you and name five things that you can see.

2.  Look around you and name four things that you can hear,

3,  Look around you and name three things that you can touch.

4.  Look around you and name two things that you can smell.

5.  Look around you and name one thing that you can taste.


This should gradually cause the panic attack to recede as you pay attention to the things in your environment and not to the memories that keep trying to flood into your awareness.

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 to attain 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.x

Reference

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

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.