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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Monday, October 30, 2017

Why Use Hypnosis in the First Place?






There are literally hundreds of applications for hypnosis, and new ones are being found all the time. But why do we need to use hypnosis in the first place?

Evolution did not come to a screeching halt with the first bipeds who could accurately be labeled homo sapiens. We have been learning to use the powers of our human imagination in new and exciting ways ever since. However, we frequently need to use the services of a hypnotist who can function as an enabler, coach, or personal trainer in order to show us how to use these emerging abilities with confidence, because they are frequently so different from the current patterns of thought which we have grown accustomed to using in everyday life.

If I were to walk up to a person who responds extremely well to suggestion, ask him to close his eyes, and matter-of-factly state that by the time I got to the count of five he could open them and see me wearing a Santa Claus suit and hat, he would surely think that I was crazy. And if such a suggestion should actually happen to "work," he would surely think that he was crazy! But if I first asked him to close his eyes and suggested with sufficient plausibility that he was "going into hypnosis," and then I told him that by the time I got to the count of five he could open his eyes and see me dressed like Santa Claus, such a suggestion could be accepted much more easily because it would have become more credible.

There are so many ways to "hypnotize" people that entire books have been written on this topic, and new methods are being devised all the time. -- so many, in fact, that the only thing which they seem to have in common is that they all plausibly present the idea (either directly or indirectly) that a person's consciousness is beginning to function differently. It is this suspension of disbelief which enables people to make use of the previously-unrealized powers of their imagination. .All the rest depends on the ability and willingness of the subject to follow the instructions he or she is given.

What are we to make of this imaginatively gifted elite with an Alice-in-Wonderland imagination who dwell among us, and who need to legitimize the use of their natural gifts by means of what Michael Ellner has referred to as the "transformational magic" of an an "induction procedure" before they can make use of them? Where do these abilities come from, and what is their ultimate purpose?

Human evolution is indeed far from finished. and any,aliens who might be observing us from afar would surely conclude that our evolutionary development has been lopsided. With 98% of the same genetic makeup as our closest simian cousins, the chimpanzees, there is little doubt that our evolutionary development has been uneven.. We have highly developed frontal lobes which enable us to formulate lofty ideals and distant goals, but all too often our emotional centers prevent us from achieving them. More than once in the last century, we have come close to annihilating each other; and many societal institutions are devoted in whole or in part to regulating our behavior so that we do not do so individually. We obviously have a long ways to go to be able to do all the things that our human brains have enabled us to want to do. It is indeed an honor to show people how to work more effectively with their emerging evolutionary potential, for they are truly "the bearers of the light" of future progress. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

How to Defeat PTSD and Panic Attacks


Ingrid Betncourt was a candidate for the presidency of Columbia when she was kidnapped by Rebel forces and held prisoner in the jungle for six years under extremely brutal conditions. In the following TED Talk with English subtitles, she tells the story of how she was able to resist her captors without being broken by them. Ms, Betancourt;s courage in the face of terrifying circumstances can serve as a model for us all, to conclusively prove we do not have to allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by forces which are outside of us.




Tuesday, October 24, 2017

How to Constructi Lasting, Effective Hypnotic Suggestions

(The following narrative is designed to illustrate the manner in which hypnotic suggestion may be used to bring about real and lasting personality change. It is a composite of suggested events with which i am personally familiar, and I can vouch for their effectiveness.)

A psychology graduate student had fallen in love with a student in his statistics class. They had a torrid brief romance; but that summer, while he was away with his R.O.T.C. unit, she experienced her first bipolar manic episode, during which she had been sexually intimate with several of the male students during a cast party of a campus theater group.

The couple were heartbroken. As a clinical psychologist  in training, he was well aware of the intense nature of the biologically-driven hypersexuality which a manic episode could induce, and she was overcome by guilt
.
Recalling the story of Scheherezade, who escaped execution by telling the king a new and fascinating tale for a thousand and one nights, until he had mellowed enough to pardon her, Since he knew that she responded well to hypnosis, he asked his beloved to agree to join him on a series of trips to hypnotically-suggested alternate universes (Gibbons & Woods, 2016). During these times, they would make love in a series of intensely meaningful settings: engagements, weddings, honeymoons and anniversaries, conceiving children together, and any number of other experiences which would add meaning and beauty to their lives. With the BEST ME Technique, it can get "realer than real," because you can augment and enhance the dimensions of experienced reality almost any way you want to.  Amnesia would never be involved, and would be suggested away if it did occur, as the experiences would always be consensual and jointly planned. If the emotional scars had not healed by the time a hundred such trips had been undertaken, they would agree to go their separate ways.  Of course, she would also have to agree to take her medication regularly and remain in therapy for as long as necessary, while they also sought couples counseling together.

Needless to say, by the end of this period, their lives had become so intertwined that it was inconceivable for either of them to think of marrying anyone else.

As stated at the begining of this post, although the narrative itself is fictional, it is comprised of a series of individual applications which have been shown to be  effective. Taken together, they illustrate the fact that the ultimate art form is human experience itself. and hypnosis is the ultimate artistic medium (Gibbons, 2001). They also support the principle that the basis for permanent  personality change is a sufficiently meaningful alteration in the inarrative of one's life story (de Rivra & Sarbin, 1998). Please note, however, that it is the meaningfulness of the experiences that count, rather than their inteensity. The intensity, thugh unsurpassed, is a consequence and not a cause of a meaningful attachment, as our present hedonistic culture is inclined to regard it. :Instead, the meaningfulness of the aforementioned events should be constructed from the sources mentioned in the following video.




References

Gibbons, D. E. (2001). Experience as an art form. .New York, NY: Authors Choice Press.

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

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, K. T. (2016). Virtual reality hypnosis: Explorations in the Multiverse. Amazon Books..



Monday, October 23, 2017

HYPNOSIS Does Not Exist -- but SUGGESTION DOES!

But O! Beamish nephew, beware of the day
If your Snark be a Boojum! for then
You will softly and silently vanish away
And never be met with again.
--Lewis Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark

The Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility, Form A (Shor & Orne, 1962) is modeled after the experimental approach originally begun by Clark Hull (1933). It contains a script consisting of a light hypnotic induction, followed by a list of twelve suggestions in increasing order of difficulty, from "easy" ones which almost anyone can pass, to more difficult items such as the inability to shake one's head "no" when challenged, or amnesia for most of the test items until after a prearranged signal has been given. Since its initial publication in 1962, the test has been used in studies all over the world, in order to give us a greater understanding of individual differences in suggestibility.

In a typical administration, in a class setting of about thirty people, there are from one to three high responders who obtain a perfect score of twelve on the test, one or two people at the low end who are just sitting there with their eyes open, looking around the room with a mixture of curiosity and boredom, and the rest manifesting varying degrees of responsiveness in between. Data of this type have yielded a great deal of useful information about differences between high and low responders over the years. For example, I found that highly hypnotizable people convincingly reported having undergone a Fundamentalist experience of "Salvation," while low scorers did not (Gibbons & DeJarnette, 1972).

Now let's perform a thought experiment. Im
agine, if you will, that the Harvard Group Scale is being given to a class of introductory psychology students, when a person dressed in a police uniform bursts into the room and says in a loud, commanding voice, "There is an active shooter in the building. Everybody get under your desk and await further instructions!!"

Even if such an announcement is a hoax (i.e., a cleverly-designed suggestion) thought up by a disgruntled student to disrupt the orderly running of campus activities, if it were to be conducted in a sufficiently convincing manner, everyone in the class -- including the instructor -- would probably cower under their desks in a high state of emotion. What happened to the individual differences in suggestibility which the Harvard Group Scale was supposed to measure? They simply vanished, as everyone scrambled for shelter.


A high degree of responsiveness to the impostor's suggestions would occur regardless of how an individual student might have scored on the suggestibility test which was currently underway. Notice also that the subjects would probably have been totally involved in the content of the impostor's suggestions: trembling, feeling frightened, weeping, crying out in alarm, and so on.

Even though many useful applications have been found, suggestibility only appears to be a trait of personality, because our experiments are designed and carried out in a standardized group setting such as a classroom. But if a suggestion is believable enough, or if you modify the setting in which it is measured, as in the hypothetical example just mentioned, individual differences in responsiveness change dramatically or even disappear.

Many practicing hypnotists will assure you that in clinical settings, these measured differences are less than reliable. Once their doubts and fears have been eliminated by an appropriate pre-hypnotic talk, some people respond to hypnosis poorly, most people respond to some extent, and a few others respond extremely well. A number of techniques have been developed to "hypnotize the un-hypnotizable" by convincing the low-responders that they too have been hypnotized.When this is done, they not only respond better on suggestibility tests then those who have not accepted this idea, but they also respond better in therapy (Lynn & Kirsch, 2006).

You're hypnotized if you think you are!! I use hypnotic inductions every day in order to facilitate the acceptance of subsequent suggestions, which are then accepted more easily because they have become more credible.I
f the enabling suggestion d oes not come from accepting the belief that you have been hypnotized, it can come from the fact that the suggestions of a performer such as Kreskin have been made sufficiently credible through his reputation as a successful entertainer, thereby enabling him to specifically repudiate the use of hypnosis,, as illustrated in the video below:



But why do we need inductions, or the assurances of a charismatic entertainer, before we can make the fullest use of our imaginative abilities? The answer is easy. Evolution dfd not come to a screeching halt with the first furless biped who could definitively be labeled homo sapiens was born. We have been developing our imagination in new and exciting ways ever since. But the imaginatively gifted among us usually need an "enabler" to allow us to use these emerging imaginative abilities with confidence, because they re so different from the ways in which we customarily think. Kreskin is an "enabler," just as a hypnotic induction is an "enabler." it's as simple as that. 
Since I don't have the kind of stage presence that would enable me to do without them, and since i need to use suggestion for more than falling into or jumping out of chairs, as Kreskin does, I use hypnotic inductions in my psychology practice almost every day and use the term as casually as anyone else (Gibbbons & Lynn, 2008), even though there is as yet no reliable, generally-accepted evidence that hypnosis is a separate physiological state of the organism, in the way that sleep, fainting, coma, and shock are separate states. 
The "snark" of hypnosis may indeed be a "boojum" of the active imagination, as the history of hypnosis will also dramatically show.. But far from "vanishing away," mental health professionals who employ hypnosis have an ever-growing number of clients and are continually finding new applications for it. Once our clients have accepted the suggestion that their consciousness is functioning differently, as long as they call it hypnosis, we can provide them with a wide array of additional suggestions to enhance the ongoimg narrative of their daily lives (de Rivera & Sarbin, 1998).

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

Gibbons, D., & DeJarnette, J. (1972). Hypnotic susceptibility and religious experience. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 11, 152‑166.

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.

Hull, C. (1933). Hypnosis and Suggestibility. New York: Appleton-Century.


Shor, R, E., & Orne, E. C. (1962). Harvard group scale of hypnotic susceptibility, Form A.  Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

Lynn, S. J., & Kirsch, I. (2006).Essentials of clinical hypnosis: An evidence-based approach.Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

How to Use Mass Hypnosis (Hyperempiria)

In the following video, Adolf Hitler certainly appears to have his audience hypnotized, judging from the way they eagerly clung to every word he said, even when he boasted to ihs cheering followers that he had eliminated every other political party in Germany. How was he able to get away with this? 

He certainly was not using hypnosis in the conventional sense of the word, but by redefining the consequences of World War 1 and the subsequent suffering of the German people, he could be said to be using suggestion enhanced experience, or hyperempiria.

Hitler used to claim that a big lie is believed more easily than a little one. He strung together a series of big lies aimed at convincing the average German that they were not defeated in World War 1, but instead they were stabbed in the back by a World Jewish conspiracy. This conspiracy was aimed  at making them suffer more than anyone else during the Depression in order to totally destroy their morale, because the Germans were actually a biologically superior race which was destined to rule the world. In order overcome the power of this worldwide conspiracy, all dissent must be eliminated and all power must be concentrated In the hands of a single man who would have the will to triumph over every obstacle, This, of course, was Hitler. Then, at the conclusion of the speech, Deputy F├║hrer Rudolf Hess drives home the point by triumphantly announcing that the Nazi Party is Hitler, and Hitler and Germany are one.

 And so it was that this experience of military defeat and seemingly endless suffering was reframed by byperempiric suggestion into a narrative in which God had sent Hitler to save Germany, and to establish the German people in their rightful place as masters of the world, with disastrous consequences for all concerned. But not everyone who uses mass hypnosis needs to string together a series of big lies. In the video depicting Marc Anthony's speech at the funeral of Julius Caesar, Shakespeare illustrates how suggestion enhanced experience may be used to reframe an event by a series of revealing truths, with a dramatic effect upon the crowd of mourners.


..

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Did Shakespeare use Hypnosis or Hyperempiria?

In Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, after Caesar's supporters had murdered him in the fear that his power would become absolute, the populace was initially inclined to support the murderers. The funeral oration was delivered by Marc Antony, one of Caesar's few remaining supporters. In ten minutes, he had converted those in attendance into a howling mob bent on vengeance. 

Shakespeare did not have a certificate in hypnosis, He understood very well, however, how to compound conviction and emotion. But is this hypnosis, or is it hyperempiria (suggestion-enhanced esperience)?  As was asked earlier in the play in a different context, "To be or not to be, that is the question." Here's the scene. Judge for yourself. Finally, here's a kink to avideo of how mass hypnosis or hyperempiria was used in real life, in this case wirh disastrous consequences for all concerned.



Friday, October 13, 2017

How Fundamentalists Get to Heaven

(This posting is adapted from Gibbons, D. E., & De Jarnette, J. (1972) Hypnotic susceptibility and religious experience. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 11, pp. 152-166.)

If you don't respond well to suggestion,
then you won't have a "Salvation" experience.
And if you don't have a "Salvation" experience,
then no matter what ELSE you do, you won't get into Heaven!
Carrollton, Georgia, is a small to medium-sized city located approximately fifty-five miles west of Atlanta. It is regarded by both students and townspeople as being part of the "Bible belt," and most (though certainly not all) of the churches in the area had a Fundamentalist Christian orientation. Fundamentalists take quite literally the scriptural statement, "For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2: 8-9). The "salvation sermon" first leads the prospective convert to feel the tremendous burden of guilt which one bears for one's past misdeeds and failure to repent; and this is followed by a great wave of joy as the convert feels his or her sins being "washed away" and is "born again" as a "new creature in Christ."

This salvation experience, however, is not considered to be voluntarily attainable, since it is the result of  "grace," or the unmerited favor of God. Should an individual seek to join a particular Fundamentalist congregation merely because one is convinced of the truth of Christian teachings, many members would be inclined to doubt that he or she is truly a member of the "elect of God" and, not being able to have such an experience, is probably fore-ordained to burn in Hell regardless of what kind of life one may be leading.


From a scientific point of view, it may be postulated that the degree to which an individual is able to have a salvation experience such as the one described is a function of the degree to which that person is suggestible, and that there is therefore a direct relationship between the ability to be "saved" and the ability to be hypnotized. (Gibbons & DeJarnette, 1972; Gibbons, 1988). After giving a questionnaire to our high and low responders on the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility (Shor & Orne, 1962) concerning the nature of their personal religious experiences, we found that there was no significant relationship between hypnotic susceptibility and a previous change in denominational preference, or between susceptibility and the perceived religiousness of one's father. However, the low-susceptible subjects were less likely to perceive their mother as being moderately religious or deeply religious. Compairing high- and low-susceptible "saved" Protestants with high- and low-susceptible "unsaved" Protestants, the "saved" group contained significantly more subjects who were highly susceptible to hypnosis.


In follow-up interviews, the reasons for the differences between high and low-suggestible subjects became glaringly apparent. The high susceptibles said things like, "I began to feel a warm tingling glow inside of me. The next thing I knew, I was down in front of the altar, and I was crying," or, "It was like the Hand of God came down and touched me. I felt so happy. I never felt joy like I felt it that day." But when the few low-susceptibles who indicated that they had been "saved" were asked about their experience, they said things like, "I had been going to that church for about six months, mainly because my girl friend went there, but I never 'went forward.' Then one day the preacher accepted all those who had accepted the Lord to put up our hands, and we both put our hands up and that was it."


Hyperempiria, or suggestion-enhanced experience, also plays a significant role in experiences as varied as falling in love, having an orgasm, coming under the sway of a totalitarian dictator, or exploring an alternate universe.  

 Print 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. (1988) Were you saved or were you hypnotized? The Humanist, pp. 17-19. 

Gibbons, D. E. (1987, August). Were you saved or were you hypnotized? Paper presented at the joint conference of the American Humanist Association and the Humanist Association of Canada, Montreal. 


Gibbons, D. (1988, June). Hypnotic susceptibility and the salvation experience. Paper presented at the meeting of the International Society for Professional Hypnosis, Houston, TX. 


Gibbons, D. (1988, March). Were you saved or were you saved or were you hypnotized? Paper presented at the meeting of the International Society for Professional Hypnosis, Atlantic City, NJ. 


Gibbons, D. E. & De Jarnette, J. (1972). Hypnotic susceptibility and religious experience. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 11(2), pp. 152-156. 


Sarbin, T. R. (1998) Believed-in Imaginings. New York: Barnes & Noble. 


Shor, R., & Orne, E. C. (1962). The Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting psychologists pres



Sunday, October 1, 2017

Hypnosis, Murder, and the Power of Suggestion

Hypnosis doesn't make us any more virtuous 
than we already are!.
The possibility of using hypnosis to commit a crime has long been the object of speculation, some of which is humorous and some which is deadly serious. Here's an example of how society teaches that there is a penalty if you violate a moral code -- specifically, the prohibition against using hypnosis to commit a murder. (The possibility that you could is taken for granted.) In the following cartoon, Wylie E. Coyote decides to do just that. Notice how he helplessly glances at the audience once he realize his impending demise as the result of his actions.



Is it really possible to commit a crime such as murder by means of hypnosis?  


In one well-known laboratory experiment, subjects were hypnotized and told to throw acid in the face of the experimenter (who was protected by invisible glass), to pick up poisonous snakes (which were actually harmless), and to shoot the experimenter with a gun (which had been loaded with blanks). A significant minority of the hypnotized volunteers complied. A few years later, however, the experiment was repeated, using both hypnotized subjects and a control group of subjects who were not hypnotized -- and about the same number responded, whether hypnotized or not!


Hypnotists often tend to pay too much attention to the specific suggestions they have given instead of the total situation of what is going on. For example, imagine that you are a student in introductory psychology, taught by Prof. Snarf, who asks for volunteers in a psychological experiment. You accept the invitation, and are given a hypnotic induction, followed by the instructions to pick up a beaker of acid and hurl it in the experimenter's face, to pick up poisonous snakes, or to shoot the experimenter with a supposedly loaded gun. Would you  really believe that a reputable scientist would let you commit a murder as part of a psychological experiment? Or would you be inclined to believe that because you are ordered to do these ridiculous things there must be a reason for it other than the one that was given, so you might as well go ahead and do as you are told? Some people, at least, choose the second option (Sarbin & De Rivera, 1998), 
Dr. Martin Orne coined the term demand characteristics to refer to this tendency of a subject in an experiment to act in the way that the subject thinks one is supposed to behave, rather than simply reacting to the instructions in themselves.

But there is another factor at work. Research by Milgram (1965) on the effects of obedience, revealed that about a third of his experimental of subjects were willing to turn a dial which purportedly increased the voltage of an electric shock to the point that it appears that they are administering a potentially lethal dose. The implication (which seems to be borne out by history, from Stalin to Hitler to Saddam Hussein and many others) is that an evil "authority" can sometimes seize control of a society and find enough followers who are willing to obey orders that they can keep the rest of the population under control.

Most of us would agree that a hypnotic induction does not make us any more virtuous than we were before. Obeying a command to perform an immoral act after an induction has been given, therefore, is likely to have been brought about by the fact that the hypnotist was perceived as a sufficiently credible authority figure to absolve people of legal and moral responsibility for their actions, as was the case with the compliant subjects in Milgram's experiments, or the willing henchmen of tyrants throughout history. 


See also: 
Is Hypnosis Dangerous? Some Hypnotists Are!


Print References

Milgram, S. (1965) Liberating effects of group pressure. Journal of personality and social psychology2, pp. 127-134.


Milgram, S. (1983) Obedience to authority. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.


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.