Don E. Gibbons, Ph.D., NJ Licensed Psychologist #03513
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The New Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy, LLC

The New Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy, LLC, is located at 675 Route 72 E Manahawkin, NJ 08050. Telephone us at(609)709-2043 and (609) 709-0009.Take Mill Creek Road South, just off Route 72, on the road to Beach Haven West.After about 400 feet, turn right into the office complex of Greater Coastal Realty. Then turn right and go past the Lyceum Gyn. Continue on to the Prudential Zack Building. We. are the last office at the end. We accept Medicare and most other major insurance.Weekend and evening office hours are avalable.

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP): Where's the Beef?

A few years ago at a hypnosis conference in London, during a discussion of the phenomenon of hypnotic rapport, one of the members of the audience said that she used to occasionally lapse into her native Gaelic during a hypnosis session, and, even though her clients may not have understood a word of Gaelic, the results were still quite effective.

Suppose, instead of using a language that was already fully developed, she had decided to experiment with the language patterns of highly successful hypnotists, and assembled a group of like-minded individuals to help her discover exactly which inductions, and which suggestion patterns, were the most effective. Sometimes the results would inevitably appear to be more powerful in comparison with the patterns which had been used before -- at least with the current sample. Over time, as these practitioners discovered that sometimes the results were more effective and sometimes they were less effective, we could expect a drift in the direction of ever more complex patterns as more and more elements were added to the mixture, much as the Native American rain dances evolved over the course of many centuries whenever they would dance as rain clouds appeared, because sometimes it did actually rain -- and heavily, too!  So, the obvious conclusion was not that the rain dance was ineffective when no rain was forthcoming,, but that it was necessary to keep working in order to make the dance more powerful


  

Before you continue to expend more time, energy, and money in developing fancier and fancier hypnotic language and induction patterns, you should consider that the effectiveness of a particular suggestion or induction lies in the individual meaning that ii has for the client in terms of his or her individual life narrative, rather than the linguistic style within which a suggestion is composed or the induction within which it is framed (de Rivera & Sarbin, 1998),



I am fond of quoting a well-known story about a 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 grew up to experience a much more successful life than he otherwise would have had were it not for his grandmother's suggestion, which, even without the benefits of an induction,  had become a self-fulfilling prophecy.


In order to be part of science, a finding must be able to be replicated at will when other investigators use the same conditions that produced it in the first place. That's the "beef" that sells our product. Then, once its existence has been demonstrated, it can be used in other situations as an art. Medicine, for example, is both an art and a science. But until a basic finding has been demonstrated under controlled conditions,  it's merely a "sacred cow" that cannot be killed because produces income for its adherents while it shames the rest of us.




 Reference

de Rivera, Joseph & Sarbin, T. R. (Eds.) (1998). Believed-in imaginings: The narrative construction of reality. Washington, DC: American Psychological Assn.,

Friday, February 9, 2018

What is Hypnosis?

Some people grow up never knowing that they are color blind. They have to take a test similar to the following samples from the Ishihara Color Blindness Test in order to find out. They are shown a series of plates which are carefully constructed so that regardless of what color they are,  the same of amount of light is reflected from each of the tiles of which they are composed.  Some the tiles that are of different colors than the others are arranged in the form of numbers.  Between twelve and twenty percent of the white male population, and a tiny fraction of females will not be able to see any numbers in the plates reproduced below. Can you



Why is such a test necessary? Because color-blind people believe that they are no different than anybody else, this causes them to operate in a "cultural trance" in which they gloss over very real differences in their experiential abilities.

A hypnotic induction and deepening procedure may be thought of as  a "hypno-blindness test." A certain percentage of the population, more imaginatively gifted than the rest, is naturally capable of visual and auditory hallucinations, insensitivity to pain, and all of the other phenomena that we associate with high hypnotizability.  But, like those who grow up never knowing that they are color blind until they are tested for it, these experientially gifted individuals also operate in a cultural trance which makes them gloss over real differences in their experiential abilities until they are tested.

What does hypnosis do to change things? A recent thread on Hypnothoughts asked people to describe the most unique induction they knew. After the obviously humorous ones were removed, the only thing the remaining ones appeared to have in common was that they were all suggesting or implying that the subject's consciousness was beginning to function differently.  When a hypnotist suggests that someone's consciousness is beginning to function differently, this removes their cultural blinders and, if they are sufficiently able and willing, frees them up to use their imagination in what to the rest of us appears to be an "Alice-in-Wonderland" fashion.

Exceptions do occur, of course, when people manifest hypnotic-like behavior without an induction. But, without social validation for our perceptions, we are usually quite hesitant about appearing to be very much different from those around us. As I have stated elsewhere, if I were to walk up to an imaginatively gifted person, ask him to close his eyes, and suggest, with no previous induction, that by the time I got to the count of five he could open his eyes and see me dressed in a Santa Claus suit and hat, he would usually think that I was crazy. And if such a suggestion should actually happen to work, he would probably think that he was crazy! But if I first suggested that he was "going into hypnosis," using some sort of an induction proxedure to make such a sufggestion sufficiently plausible,then he can use the power of his imagination to do whatever he or she is able and willing to do with these abilities until the session is concluded by suggesting that he is no longer hypnotized.

It has been said that the organisms most frequently experimented on are the laboratory rat and the college sophomore, because they are the most available to academic researchers. The differences in hypnotic responsiveness I have just referred to are reliably obtained when data are gathered under standardized testing conditions such as a college classroom.

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 dozens of 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 there are from one to three high responders who obtain a perfect score of twelve on the test, one or two people 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 been gathered by now at many colleges and universities around the world, and has yielded a great deal of useful information about differences between high and low responders. (I have collected some of it myself.)

Now let's perform a thought experiment. I would like to ask you to imagine that the Harvard Group Scale is being given to a class of introductory psychology students at the American University of Beirut, let us say, when a person dressed in a police uniform bursts into the room and says in a loud, commanding voice, "The city is under biological attack, and a germ cloud is headed this way. Take refuge in the basement immediately and await further instructions!"


Even if such an announcement is a hoax (i.e., a cleverly-designed suggestion) thought up by a dissident student organization 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 dash for the exits and head for the nearest underground shelter. What happeed to the individual differences in suggestibility which the Harvard Group Scale was supposed to measure? They simply vanished, as everyone took flight!


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. In human society, suggestion appears to be causally related to experiences as diverse as falling in love,coming under the sway of a totalitarian dictator,being saved in a revival meeting,or turning into an animal (transmogrification),as practiced in Native American culture. Individual differences in responsiveness, if they exist. do not seem to attract much attention.,


Hypnotizability, however, does seem to be related to suggestibility as it is measured on the Harvard Group Scale. But even here, if the standardized testing conditions are departed from. individual differences seem to vanish or be considerably diminished. 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).

Regardless of whether the induction takes you up, down, or sideways, you're hypnotized if you think you are!  I use this kind of suggestion-enhanced experience in my psychology practice every day in order to facilitate the acceptance of subsequent therapeutic suggestions which are actualized more easily because the induction has made them more credible..
Print References
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.





Tuesday, February 6, 2018

What is Hyperempiria?



"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."                                                         
 --Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland



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. However, the imaginatively gifted among us 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

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 societal institutions -- are devoted in whole or in part to regulating our behavior so that we do not destroy one another individually.  

With hyperempiria, or suggestion-enhanced experience, it becomes possible to pre-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.

Hyperempiria, or suggestion-enhanced experience,  is nothing less than the next step upward in human evolution. And the challenge facing all of us is to make it possible for the exponentially gifted elite who dwell among us, as well as most others who possess these gifts to a lesser extent, to make the fullest use of their hyperempiric abilities. 




Why do we Need Hypnosis?






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. 

Monday, February 5, 2018

Don't Pay Good Money for Charisma-Based information!

In the words of +Michael Ellner, "The path that the people who beat the odds take does not seem to be as important as the way they walk the path that they have chosen. This is based on extensive experience assisting people with life-threatening diseases and conditions and assisting people living with medically unexplained syndromes and symptoms like chronic pain, FMS, IBS and CFS. What they do — does not seem to be as important as how they do what they do… The people who do what they do with a happy heart, peaceful mind and playful spirit seem to have the best outcomes regardless of what they are doing."

And how can therapists help them to get that way? Irving Yalom, famous for his group work, said, "It's the relationship that heals. It's the relationship that heals. It's the relationship that heals. My professional rosary." As witch doctors and medicine men have known since the dawn of pre-history, If you construct an ideology that people accept, and if you relate well enough to your clients to get them to the point that Ellner just described, it doesn't matter much what you do. Regardless of whether or not the Academic community points out that there is no scientific support for your claims , you will still be regarded in some quarters as a success. In reality, however, there is no need to spend hundreds of dollars a workshop which is primarily intended to whet your appetite tp sign up for the next one in the series, in order to eventually qualify for a pricey "certificate" which has no legal standing, and no meaning to people who have not themselves embarked on a similar training quest .

Many people spend a great deal of time and money going from workshop to workshop, either to perfect their therapeutic techniques or to experience the latest trends in psychotherapy for themselves, when the success of a therapeutic intervention actually depends more on the client than it does on them. Since most of these highly-touted and pricey procedures work at least some of the time, this creates a "partial reinforcement effect" which causes people to try even more advanced workshops, in the hope that they will eventually get it perfect -- in the same way that a laboratory rat who is only rewarded occasionally will work even harder than one that is rewarded all the time. 

 It looks impressive, of course, if there is a certificate on the wall stating that you have been certified by the Great Poo-Bah or Swami Rama-Ding-a-Ling (and preferably both!). But most of us are probably not going to know who they are. In addition, empirical research has confirmed that while psychotherapy in general is effective, the relationship between therapist and client is a more important contributor to a successful outcome than whether the degree on the wall (if there is one!) indicates that the therapist has completed a Bachelor's, Master's, or Doctoral program, or the particular field in which the degree happens to be granted, or the theoretical orientation of the therapist.

With the coming of the Internet, we are going through an information revolution which is more far-reaching in its implications than the ones which occurred when steam power replaced the horse, and electricity replaced steam. I am not arguing against continuing our professional education; but one thing ought to be clear when our nearest google prompt is a lot closer and cheapter than our nearest ATM prompt. Don't pay good money for information which is based solely on charisma! The totem poles are on fire!