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 (609)709-2043 and (609) 494-0009.

Driving directions: Take Mill Creek Road South, just off Route 72 E After about 400 feet, turn right into the office complex of Mill Creek Commons.Then, immedately turn right again and go past the Lyceum II Gym. Continue on to the Prudential Zack Building,which will be the only building on your right. We are the last office at the end.

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Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Kelley Woods Technique of Virtual Reality Hypnosis

Although millions of dollars are currently being spent on mechanically based systems of virtual reality, this research only deals with physical perceptions, and leaves the remainder of our vast human capacity for experience completely untouched.

Kelley Woods hypnotized a dying client whose minister had been unable to convince her that she was deserving of admission into Heaven, and suggested that she was already there and  bathing in the infinite love of God. With this reassurance, when the hypnosis was concluded her failing body was able to experience a peaceful death (Gibbons & Woods, 2016, pp, 173-180).

I have been using the Woods technique of virtual reality hypnosis with many of the clients in my general psychology practice, who may loosely be included under the description of "the worried well," with dramatic results which are similar to the personality changes which are observed in people who have undergone a Fundamentalist experience of  "salvation" (Gibbons & de Jarnette, 1972), but without the inclusion of specific religious indoctrination.. However, I have decided not to publish a volume of case studies about this  power of virtual reality hypnosis until I have concrete evidence that similar dramatic results have been mire conclusively demonstrated, 


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

 Gibbons, D. E., & Woods, K. T. (2016). Virtual reality hypnosis: Explorations in the Multiverse. Amazon Books

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Can Hypnosis be used to Commit a Crime?

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 seems to take for granted that hypnosis is a power which you can use on someone to commit a murder. In the following cartoon, Wylie E. Coyote decides to do just that. Notice how he helplessly glances at the audience once he realize his own impending death as the result of his actions.

Can hypnosis be used as an instrument of mind control? Is it really possible to commit a crime by means of hypnosis?  Laboratory investigations into whether or not hypnosis can be used for antisocial purposes inevitably fall short of the mark, because the situational background is not sufficiently taken into account. 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.

Some years ago, I was asked to testify in the case of a man who had falsely advertised himself as a psychologist and had begun hypnotizing teen-age girls in the area, one of whom subsequently accused him of rape. In order to make its case that hypnosis could be used to compel behavior, the prosecution had pointed to an incident in Eastern Europe several decades earlier, in which a stage hypnotist had handed a man a pistol loaded with blanks and commanded the man to shoot him. The hypnotized subject, who was an off-duty police officer, drew a loaded revolver from his pocket and shot three members of the audience. 

I testified that while hypnosis cannot force people to people do something which is against their moral and ethical codes, it is impossible to conclusively demonstrate in the laboratory whether or not hypnosis could be used to compel anti-social behavior. You could never actually allow such behavior to occur in an experimental setting, or in any kind of staged demonstration, and the subjects know it! But, in what I like to call "the laboratory of life," the results are more clear-cut. Hypnosis in its modern form has been around for over two hundred years; and if you have to go half way around the world and back several decades in time in order to find even one instance of its alleged use in the commission of a crime, then it would be easier to conclude that this individual was psychotic or personality disordered than to conclude that his behavior was the result of the alleged coercive power of hypnosis. If hypnosis could be used in such a manner, by this time its anti-social applications would be well-documented -- in organized crime, in international espionage, by thwarted lovers, and in many other settings. And the evidence simply is not there. 

When a hypnotist is accused of rape or seduction, the problem is not with hypnosis itself, but with the power differential which is inherent in a therapeutic relationship, as it is when the abuser is a person in a position of high status, as was the case with Rasputin, a priest and an advisor to the Tsarina in the court of imperial Russia. This trust must never be abused. The responsibility always lies with the person in authority. It is necessary for the trusted person to maintain strong boundaries and to stop any inappropriate relationships from developing, even if a client displays seductive behavior due to transference, a personality disorder, mental illness, physical attraction or simple intimidation.. A teenager would be especially susceptible to such suggestions; and If he or she subsequently accused the hypnotist of rape, then the chances are, the hypnotist may have abused his or her position of trust and authority in order to have sexual relations with the client, which is tantamount to rape, as we are currently seeing on the news where hypnosis is not involved at all. Therefore, the prosecution's mistake was to attack hypnosis itself, rather than the power differential which the hypnotist (who had falsely advertised himself a psychologist) had abused, 

In would be a serious mistake that we make in situations such as these is to assume that fantasies of seduction under hypnosis occur only to hypnotists and never to their subjects -- in which case, the problem is still not with hypnosis itself. However, if mutual consrnt is not freely given aheaad of time, there is  a very high inxidence of "buyer's remorse," due to the fact that the subject usually has conflicting motives or hypnosis would not be necessary.

Instances such as these tend to be reported in great detail by the media, and are amplified still further by depictions of hypnosis in fiction. Because of the publicity which results from them, there are many people who will not have anything to do with hypnosis .And because these abuses continue to surface from time to time and dramatized by the mass media as illustrated in the foregoing cartoon, the public is probably never going to be won over completely, despite our repeated assurances that hypnosis is perfectly safe when used by ethical and appropriately trained professionals.

(I am grateful to Dr. Annette K. Schreiber for her collaboration and assistance in the preparation of this posting.)

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.

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Missing Link to Hypnotically Changing Lives

Why are some suggestions simply rejected out of hand while others only persist for varying lengths of time, and still others have the capacity to change personality and identity, and to alter the entire course of one's life? Regardless of how deeply your client is hypnotized, or how cleverly your suggestions have been worded, we have never been able to completely rid ourselves of this "inconvenient truth." What else is going on that we may nor be paying enough attention to?

I was about fifteen when I discovered Claude Bristol's book, "The Magic of Believing." Bristol's genius lay in his realization that since all religious traditions employ some form of the magic of believing, then this magic clearly does not "belong" to any one of them.  It is a natural ability which we all possess, and is rooted in the perception of reality itself.  

The "magic" of any particular belief or suggestion depends upon the personality and unique characteristics of each individual (Gibbons & Lynn, 2010), as expressed in the degree to which it successfully alters the ongoing narrative of one's life story (Sarbin & de Rivera, 1988). Nowadays, I like to take people to the Multiverse and provide them with individually-designed corrective experiences (Gibbons & Woods, 2016). But Bristol's teachings still provide the underpinnings on my work. While it may seem a bit basic for most professionals who work witrh hypnosis, I still recommend it to many of my clients. Here's a full-length audio version of his book, You can skip around, or read a few minutes at a time, and it will save your place. Good reading!


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.

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.

The Most Effective Way to Use Hypnosis

"Help! I'm a student in Dr. Gibbons' Psychology class!"
When I opened my psychology practice in New Jersey,, one of my first hypnosis clients asked me, "You aren't going to turn me into a chicken, are you?"

"No," I replied. "That's for stage hypnotists." But I did once. And this experience taught me more about the true nature of hypnosis than I have learned from any other single source.

Several years earlier, when I was discussing the topic of hypnosis in an Introductory psychology class, I asked a student who had previously shown herself to be adept at hypnosis if she would be willing to help me illustrate how easy it was to turn a hypnotized person into a chicken. She readily agreed, After hypnotizing her, I told her that I would count backwards from ten to one, and that at the count of one she would have been turned into a chicken.

"You will always be able to hear and to respond to my voice," I continued, "and I will return you to your normal state in a few minutes, before I bring you out of hypnosis. But until I do, you will experience the world exactly as if you had been turned into a chicken. You will remember everything I have said, and it will be a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Okay?"

She nodded in agreement, and I counted slowly backwards from ten to one, providing suggestions along the way that she could feel herself changing into a chicken; and at the count of one, I announced that she had become a chicken. "Would you like to open your eyes and walk around a bit?" I asked. She did so, walking slowly as I took hold of her elbow. "Why are you walking like that?" I asked.

"I'm a chicken," she answered in a high, cackly voice, much to the amusement of the class.

I guided her back to her desk, counted from one to ten to restore her usual perceptions, and then concluded the hypnotic demonstration. I then asked her if she had really felt like she was a chicken, and she slowly and thoughtfully nodded in agreement. 

I was not being pranked. She had taken my class in hypnosis, and I knew that she had superb hypnotif abilities.  But if she had really believed that she was a chicken, why didn't she scurry away in fear as soon as I approached her desk? Why did she allow me to slowly walk her around the room, limping slightly instead of struggling to get away, as a real chicken would surely do? Why was she able to understand my spoken question? How was she able to answer it by saying, "I'm a chicken?" And why were the suggestions so easy to undo, as if she understood English as well as she ever did?

We could talk about a "hidden observer" that always knows what's going on and maintains control, no how matter deeply a person is hypnotized, as Hilgard (1974) did. We could talk about "trance logic," which is similar to the logic which is found in dreams, as Martin Orne (1959) did. But why should we infer the presence of any extra mental processes when they are not needed?

What she had actually believed and responded to was the narrative of what had taken place (Sarbin & de Rivera, 1998), She knew that she was a student in my class, and she knew that she had consented for me to hypnotize her. She still had the kind of "Alice-in-Wonderland" imagination which we all have as children, but most of us lose as we become adults. Therefore, she was able to act, think, and feel as if she were a chicken for the purpose of my class demonstration when she volunteered to do so.  

The demonstration was undertaken in the spirit of fun, and everyone understood that. But the transformational effects of believed-in  imaginings can be powerful indeed if they fit into the ongoing  narrative of one's life story.

If hypnosis is believed in imaginings, as asserted by Sarbin & de Rivera (1998), is it easer to tell hypnotized people that they are turning into a chicken, or that they are dissolving completely into the
 infinite, unbounded love of the Creator? What would be the effect of such a suggestion upon the ongoing narrative of a person's life -- especially upon their mental health and their overall level of happiness? I have been using this type of approach with selected clients in my general psychology practice. Judge for yourself. 

Modern physics has provided us with a model of the multiverse which can be metaphorically accessed by means of hypnosis in order to provide the necessary conceptual framework, as illustrated in the following video by Professor Michio Kaku.


Here is an example of how this works in practice. "Marie" was an attractive, twenty-three year old college senior who had been diagnosed with treatment-resitant bipolar disorder during a one-week psychiatric hospitalization two years before she began treatment with me Her capricious moods had been wreaking havoc with her ability to maintain gainful employment and to keep a satisfactory grade point average which would allow her to pursue her ambition of becoming a clinical psychologist. This caused her a great deal of anger.

During her third session with me, she stated that she was having difficulty following the converstion due to a severe migraine. We had briefly discussed hypnosis during her previous visit, and she had expressed an interest in it.After an induction and deepening, I provided sugestions that she was traveling to the Multiverse through a rainbow of delight instead of through a wormhole, with each band containing a different positive emotion as a means of making these emotions more easily accessible. Suggestions of time distortion were included, so that even though the hypnotic session might have lasted only a few minutes, it would feel as if we had been gone for an eternity. After entering the Multierse and allowing the infinite love of the Creator to banish all feelings of worry, douobt, self-distrust, fear, and despair, she was returned to the universe from which we left, with the additional suggestions that this was the most wonderul thing that has ever happened to her, and she was well on the way to becoming the happiest woman in the world.

I consider this exercise to be a form of hypnotic meditation which, like other types of meditation, requires regular practice for maximum effectiveness. Her stress-related mograines were due to her toxic work and home environment. Since she is unable to change either jobs or relatives, she has becomre a regular monthly hypnosis client and reports that her life has become much more tolerable and her migraines have vanished.

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

Gibbons, D. E., & Woods, K. T. (2016). Virtual reality hypnosis: Explorations in the Multiverse. Amazon Books 

Hilgard, E. R. (1974), Toward a neo-dissociation theory: Multiple cognitive controls in human functioning. Perspectives in Biology & Medicine, 17(3), pp, 301-316. Baltimore, Md: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Orne, M. T,  (1959), The nature of hypnosis: Artifact and essence. Journal of abnormal and social psychology,

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.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Law of Attraction is FATALLY FLAWED!

The central theme of the book, "The Secret," is that we create our own reality by "the law of attraction." If we send forth positive thoughts, then we attract positive events to us; and if we send forth negative thoughts, then we attract negative events.

Whatever an individual's thoughts can attract, a group's thoughts should be able to attract too. If we really do create our own reality by sending forth positive or negative thoughts, then this effect should be apparent not only in individuals, but also in groups, in historical trends, and in society as a whole. But it doesn't!

I have first listed some comments which my friend Roy Hunter reports as being made to individuals who are suffering from cancer and other maladies which should also operate according to "the law of attraction," and taken the liberty of constructing a reply to them. 
  • What did you do to attract cancer in the first place? What about all those people who get cancer because they are living in an area where there is a high level of carcinogens in the environment?
  • You have a disease consciousness. The Black Death killed between 75 and 200 million people, between 1348 and 1350. What could all those people have been thinking that caused such a plague to so suddenly descend upon them?
  • You must have a karmic debt to pay off.  If you have read The Diary of Anne Frank, you will have a good idea of the kind of person she was. Now consider the fate of Ann and others like her as they lay covered with lice and dying of hypothermia in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. What did they do to bring this upon  themselves?
  • Why can’t you create enough faith to be healed? Age is a wasting disease. And the survival rate for this particular disease is zero. Has anybody crated enough faith to get out of that one?
  • Don’t you know smoking will kill you? With 99% of the same genes as our closest simian cousins, the chimpanzees, and over a century of experimental research to back them up, most psychologists agree that short-term pleasure is often more important than long-term consequences in determining our behavior, particularly when it comes to matters of addiction.
  • Fat people are out of control. An African journalist recently stated that her greatest surprise in coming to the United States was to discover that in America, thin people are rich and fat people are poor, since in her own country the reverse is true. If this is the case, how can weight be a function of one's personal discipline rather than one's culture?
  • You have a poverty consciousness. The CIA World Factbook lists the United States as twelfth in per capita income, behind such nations as Norway and Hong Kong, yet most Americans are inclined to think of themselves as the richest nation in the world. If we create our own reality, why are we not in first place?
  • "Get out of the victim trap!" Try telling the survivors of Stalinist tyranny who were imprisoned in Siberia that they shouldn't have been thinking so negatively about their situation that it caused them to end up there.
  • Why did you create this problem? The CIA World Factbook lists the United States as fifteehth from the top in infant mortality compared with other nations. Explain to the parents of the babies who died because they were not given better medical care what they or their children did to create this problem.
  • What is God punishing you for?  If God is keeping quiet about His reasons, then what is the point of punishment?
  • If “The Secret” is not working for you, then you must be doing something wrong.  Maybe so!  On a recent radio interview show featuring a leading theoretical physicist who was commenting upon the latest discoveries in his field, a questioner asked him about the "law of attraction." He forcefully criticized the promulgators of this belief for misleading people, and assured the caller that the universe simply does not work that way. Perhaps what people who subscribe to this false doctrine are "doing wrong" is believing in "The Secret" in the first place!
Of course there can be negative and self-destructive attitudes within the personality which interfere with the successful accomplishment of a goal, and which contribute to the development of psychosomatic conditions. But their causes and effects are well-documented in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and have nothing to do with "The Secret!"

For a better guide to the higher powers of the mind, check out Claude Bristol's The Magic of Believing, which is available on Amazon and is free on You Tube

Bristol's genius lies in the fact that he makes no reference to religious or philosophical concepts, nor does he use the word "psychic." Since all religious traditions employ some form of the magic of believing, then the magic of believing clearly does not belong" to any one of them.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Overcoming Negativie Autouggestions from your "Inner Hypnotist"

The psychologist Albert Ellis has put together a list of ten commonly held beliefs which are all false, but which many of us have are inclined to accept, at least occasionally, If they are not identified and specifically eliminated ahead of time, these negative beliefs can function as deeply-rooted autosugestions which may cause the hypnotist's positive suggestions to be rejected without either the hypnotist or the client knowing why. Since many clients are able to recognize these negative beliefs about themselves if they are specifically asked about them, I frequently go over this list with them before their initial hypnosis session: 

I must be perfect in all respects in order to be worthwhile. Many people are haunted by the nagging fear that "something is wrong with them." Nobody can be perfect in everything that we have to do in life. But if you believe that you're a failure unless you are perfect in every way, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of unhappiness.

I must be loved and approved of by everyone who is important to me. Sometimes you just can't help making enemies, and there are people in the world who bear ill will to almost everyone. But you can't make your own life miserable by trying to please them.

When people treat me unfairly, it is because they are bad people. Most of the people who treat youunfairly have friends and family who love them. People are mixtures of good and bad.

It is terrible when I am seriously frustrated, treated badly, or rejected. Some people have such a short fuse that they can are constantly losing jobs or endangering friendships because they are unable to endure the slightest frustration.

Misery comes from outside forces which I can’t do very much to change. Many prison inmates describe their life as if it were a cork, bobbing up and down on waves of circumstance.

If something is dangerous or fearful, I have to worry about it. Many people believe that "the work of worrying" will help to make problems go away: "Okay, that's over. Now, what's the next thing on the list that I have to worry about?"

It is easier to avoid life’s difficulties and responsibilities than to face them. Even painful experiences,once we can get through them, can serve as bases for learning and future growth.

Because things in my past controlled my life, they have to keep doing so now and in the future. If thiwere really true, it would mean that we are prisoners of our past, and change is impossible. But people change all the time -- and sometimes they change dramatically!

It is terrible when things do not work out exactly as I want them to. Could you have predicted the course of your own life? Probably not. By the same token, you can't predict that things are going to work out exactly as you want them to, even in the short term.

I can be as happy as possible by just doing nothing and enjoying myself, taking life as it comes. If this were true, almost every wealthy or comfortably retired person would do as little as possible. But instead, they seek new challenges as pathways to further growth.

Of course, this list does not cover all the negative beliefs which hold us back from becoming the best that we can be. But they are so common that most of us have believed some of them at least part of the time. As far as the others are concerned, whenever you feel a change in mood and you find yourself feeling angry, anxious, depressed, or fearful, you can use a table like this one to write down what was going through your mind at the time, and to figure out how you might be able to see things differently. You can use the print command on your computer to print off as many copies as you need, and keep them handy to change your moods by re-examining and changing the beliefs that got you there.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Trump and Hitler: Post-midterm Update

Many people have compared Trump to Hitler  However,  although they were both narcissists, Hitler was a much better speaker! He even made use of lighting, symbols, and audience involvement to drive home his points. Here, with English subtitles, is one of his classic speeches. 

Note that after Hitler boasts to his cheering supporters that he has eliminated all sources of political opposition, Deputy Fuehrer Rudolf  Hess strode to the platform at the conclusion of his speech, and ecstatically proclaimed that the Party was Hitler, and Hitler and Germany were one, thereby making Hitler's power absolute.

Fortuntely, we still have the working apparatus of a republic to deal with Trump. Here's what other mental health professionals have to say.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

How to Make Your Hypnotic Suggestions Permanent

One day, 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

But in my daughter's parallel Universe, V. I. Lenin did  not exist. John Lennon, however, was as real as a -- well. a "yellow submarine."

Once we have determined the contents of someone's  parallel universe, we can provide corrective experiences which permanently change their behavior  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 a client with esteem issues has one talent or skill that he or she 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.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Having the Will Power That You Need

For centuries, Determinists have been saying that human beings are not free because, although we make choices in accordance with our motives, we do not choose the motives themselves.. Now, we can!

Whenever we have a long-term goal, its rewards are in the future. We attempt to bridge this gap between present efforts and future sources of satisfaction by daydreaming, autosuggestion, "positive thinking," affirmations, visualization, and fantasy techniques. However, these often don't help as much as we need them to, because they don't do enough to involve our whole person in the satisfactions of goal attainment. Eventually, even though our long-term goal remains as attractive as ever, our motivation begins to falter, and sooner or later we give up. If the gap between our aspirations and what we are able to do involves the attainment of a major life goal, such as obtaining a college degree or becoming financially secure, the gap between what we aspire to and what we have actually achieved can often be great enough to cause a full-blown existential depression.

In the following video, the renowned physicist Professor Michio Kaku states that modern physics has finally ended the free will debate, because quantum physics at the sub-atomic level is fundamentally random.

Many modern physicists, prof. Kaku among them, also believe that since there is an infinite number of possibilities for any given outcome, then somewhere In the Multiverse -- the Universe of all possible Universes -- you are already living in a parallel lifetime in which you have achieved your goal and are basking in its rewards. 

By using the technique of mindful hypnosis developed by Kelley Woods and Michael Ellner to project your imagination into a parallel Universe where your goal has already been achieved, you can pre-experience the rewards of this goal with your entire being in hypnosis. This in turn can provide the motivational fuel to continue to pursue the goal you have chosen, no matter how distant or difficult that goal might otherwise appear (Gibbons & Woods, 2016).

The incentive value of mindful hypnosis can be further enhanced by pre-experiencing the rewarding outcomes of other situations related to the goal, such as celebrating at a graduation party with friends and family, or relaxing on the deck of a cruise ship on a much-deserved vacation after a long-desired degree is actually in hand. 

The Importance of Sub-Goals

Lao Tzu said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." About thirty percent of all the graduate students who have to write a dissertation as the final step in attaining their doctorate fail to do so. This is frequently because, when they think of a dissertation as a book-length project, the task looks too formidable and too difficult. But if they can break the job down into meaningful sub-goals, and experience a feeling of achievement when each of these steps is attained, it doesn't matter how long the journey is because they have learned to reward themselves at the completion of each small step.

Benjamin Franklin took Lao Tsu's observation to its ultimate conclusion using deductive logic. If you break your goal down into a sub-goal for each year, and then break each yearly sub-goal down into a sub-goal for each month, and then break each monthly sub-goal down into weekly sub-goals, and construct your daily intentions from there, you're on your way!

Kelley Woods commented, ". . .I've started teaching clients to use Mindful Hypnosis for a few minutes a day, several times a day, focusing on their chosen intention of the day. They are seeing the compounded results of having done this after as little as a week of practice." 

When there is no clearly-identified goal upon which to focus, or when existing goals are not desired strongly enough to fully motivate a person to achieve them, suggestions can be given to increase the enjoyment of goal attainment in general.

A Word of Caution

Of course, we must still be able to give up on goals which are really not worth pursuing, no mater how attractive they may seem at first, in order to protect ourselves from our own mistakes in judgment. The world is full of people who want to become a success as writers, actors, sports heroes, and a host of other things, but are simply not cut out for that kind of work. As we develop the ability to choose our motives as well as our goals, i.e., to have free will in the truest sense of the term, it is up to each of us to decide how practical or how idealistic we want to be.

The hypnoverse of all possible experiences which may be brought about by means of hypnosis is only theoretically unlimited, as is the multiverse of experiences which constitute our daily lives. But the circumstances in which we presently find ourselves are fixed; and to successfully blend the former into the latter, we must consider the point from which we start. Here is Steve Lynn's excellent summary of how they work together, followed by an illustration of their application in everyday life.. His first sentences deal with the structure of the hypnoverse, and the final sentence refers to their application in the multiverse from which we start.
 . . .how clients respond to suggestions depends less on the nature and success of a particular induction than on the following variables: (a) clients' prehypnotic attitudes, beliefs, intentions, and expectations about hypnosis; (b) their ability to think, fantasize, and absorb themselves in suggestions; (c) their ability to form a trusting relationship with the hypnotist; (d) their ability to interpret suggestions appropriately and view their responses as successful; (e) their ability to discern task demands and cues; (f) their ongoing interaction with the hypnotist; and (g) the appropriateness of the therapeutic methods and suggestions to treating the presenting problem. . . . Accordingly, clinicians should devise inductions and suggestions with these variables in mind and tailor their approach to the unique personal characteristics and agenda of each client they encounter" (Gibbons & Lynn, 2010, p. 289). 
Case Illustration

 A nurse I used to work with in a screening center asked me to hypnotize her to stop smoking, which I was happy to do. She mentioned that one of her high school teachers used to hypnotize her regularly (apparently as a demonstration subject in his classes), so it was clear that she was imaginatively gifted. 

We didn't have time for the usual stop-smoking program that I use, with three visits and all the rest. But, knowing her as I did, it was clear that if she was ready to stop she was going to do so, with hypnosis providing the necessary catalyst regardless of the time and format which were available to us -- so I just gave her the usual stop-smoking suggestions, with the usual repetition and elaboration. As I recall, I told her that her desire to smoke would vanish, that the cues which would normally awaken a desire to smoke would no longer be effective in doing so; that she could not be suddenly surprised by taking a cigarette without thinking of it and, using the BEST ME technique, I projected her awareness In the future to enable her to feel strong feelings of pride, achievement, and accomplishment at the fact that she had become a non-smoker, 

To my consternation, the next day, when I asked her how she had done, and she told me that she had gone home and smoked an entire pack of cigarettes! But six months later, when I casually mentioned something about her smoking, she told me, "Oh, I haven't smoked since the time you hypnotized me."`

"But didn't you go home and smoke up a whole pack?" I asked her.

"Yes," she replied. "And then I stopped."

Having worked side by side on the same unit with her for quite some time, I realized why she had responded the way she did. Her approach to authority was basically confrontational. In her everyday work environment, she made it obvious to everyone around her that, "Nobody's going to tell ME what to do!" So, when I gave her suggestions under hypnosis that she was going to stop smoking, her life narrative required that she had to first go home and deliberately smoke up a whole pack just to prove that I wasn't telling HER what to do. Then, once she had made the point to her own satisfaction, she could comply with my suggestions because she finally had the will to change -- as soon as sh was willing to use it!


Gibbons, D. E., & Lynn, S. J. (2010). 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.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Eckhard Tolle's Most Watched Video

The following video by Eckhard Tolle has been viewed over 1-1/2 million times. It is a great introduction to hiws technique of livinf in the now.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Next Step Upward in Human Evolution

With 99% of the same genetic makeup as our closest simian cousins, the chimpanzees, there is little doubt that our evolutionary development has been lopsided. 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 social institutions are devoted in whole or in part to regulating our behavior so that we do not destroy one another individually.  

Human, evolution did not come to a screeching halt with the first bipeds who could accurately be labeled homo sapiens. We have been developing the powers of our imagination in new and exciting ways ever since. We frequently need the services of a hypnotist to function as an enabler, coach, or personal trainer to show us how to use these emerging abilities with confidence, because they are so different from the current patterns of thought which we are used to in everyday life. Using the BEST ME Technique of multimodal suggestion for the simultaneous involvement of Beliefs, Emotions, Sensations and physical perceptions, Thoughts and images, Motives, and Expectations, for greater involvement and effectiveness.(Gibbons & Lynn, 2008), it is possible to fully experience the rewards of distant goals now, in the present, when they are most important for motivation, making it much easier to live up to the goals and ideals which evolution has enabled us to construct but have heretofore been difficult to achieve (Gibbons & Woods, 2016).

The next major breakthough in human evolution is likely to be of a  spiritual nature. The saints and mystics of every major religion have attested to the life-changing properties of experiences in which they felt that they were in the presence of the Creator, returning with a sense of the indwelling presence of God.  People who are sufficiently advanced in their evolutionary development may be hypnotically brought ino the presence of the Creator Himself, and return with an enduring sense of the indwelling presence of God, no longer broken by the stresses of life, and living like they have never lived before! 

Regardless of whether or not our clients' metaphysical beliefs are the same as ours or whether we have no metaphysical beliefs at all, the challenge facing all of us is to help our clients to to make the fullest use of their emerging imaginative abilities by regularly practicing hyperempiric meditations such as these, for the facilitation of human growth, the ennoblement of the human spirit, and the enrichment of human existence.


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: Explorations in the Multiverse. Amazon Books.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

How to Spot Bogus Academic and Professional Credentials

I can run off a Ph.D. degree today on my computer and give it to you, and you can say that you have a Ph.D. without breaking any law. The only time you can actually be prosecuted is when you offer your services to the public in a license-protected occupation, such as a psychologist, counselor, or social worker; but even here, there are exceptions.  In New Jersey, for example, a non-profit organization such as a church can hire you as a psychologist or a counselor  without having to comply with formal licensing requirements, because you are not actually holding your services out to the public, they are, regardless of whether or not you have a real degree, or a phony degree, or no degree at all. Many of them do employ licensed people, of course; and there are many fine instructors in non-profit organizations who do not have the full preparation which is required for working or teaching in public institutions.

If you want to open a practice as a "psychic astrologer," with a Ph.D, that you designed this morning on your word processor,  there's nothing stopping you, because "psychic astrologer" is not a license-protected occupation -- although you may still have to pay for a business license before you can actually open a practice and collect fees for your services. Generally, these occupations operate according to the Golden Rule; He who has the gold makes the rules.

In any field, a legitimdate earned degree which is recognized by established institutions of higher learning must be offered by the officially recognized accrediting body in your locality, and no other, because diploma mills are very good at forming legitimate-appearing organizations which happily "accredit" each other. Here is a list of all officially accredited post-secondary institutions from the U.S. Department of Education.

There aren't any restrictions on forming an "educational institution." It is easy to incorporate "universities" with impressive-sounding titles, offering courses and degrees in all sorts of subjects, who may then group themselves into unsanctioned regional associations to accredit each other -- and they do!  To muddy the waters even further, some States maintain "lists" of educational institutions, which some of these institutions then use as evidence that they are "recognized" by that State, because it is all too easy to confuse being on a State list  with being "accredited by the State in question, which usually involves an official visit by a State accrediting team and a thorough review of the qualifications of every member of the faculty,
Whenever you hear someone say that they "can paper the wall of their office" with their academic degrees, or you see an official-looking diploma signed by people who have a large number of degrees in several different fields after their name, this should be a signal to examine the situation further. (Just think how many years or decades it would take to actually earn all those degrees!)  
What to do.The best way to establish whether or not an accrediting body is legitimate is to call up the Registrar's office of an academic institution which you trust, and inquire as to the legitimacy of the accrediting body of the college or university which you are asking about -- but sometimes even the legitimate institutions themselves get fooled by a person who has begun teaching there with a bogus credenttial. When I was teaching, every few years I would hear about somebody who was booted off the faculty because their diploma was found to be a fake,

Here in New Jersey, there is a woman up the rroad from me who advertises that she has a degree in psychic astrology and hynotizes people to tell them the name of their guardian angel. I once complained about her ro the New Jersey Psychological Association, and I was told that because neither hypnosis nor psychic astrology are regulated by State law, there was nothing that they could do. If there is no State law which refers to them, then they don't exist as far as the State is concerned. 

It is no crime to posess an unaccredited degree. The world is awash with them! Caveat emptor: let the buyer beware.