Don E. Gibbons, Ph.D., NJ Licensed Psychologist #03513
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Saturday, February 10, 2018

How Eistentiall Hypnosis Shaped My Life

I used to think that my interest in hypnosis sprang from the fact that I "hit it just right" in my mid teens with the first person I ever hypnotized, a skeptical seventh grader. But why had I already been reading books on hypnosis, and how did I know enough to hypnotize him in the first place?

Now, I recall that when I was four years old, I developed a potentially life-threatening throat and ear infection which, in those days before antibiotics, required me to remain in bed for six months. In order to quiet my restlessness, my mother read to me each day for several hours, until her throat was sore. At that age, it did not matter how often I had heard a particular story before, I was still clamoring to hear it again. Although my mother did notrealize it at the time, she was placing me in a trance-like state as she endlessly read to me from Grimm's Fairy Tales, A Child's Garden of Verse, and similar childhood classics to keep me quet.

By the time I rhad tecovered from my infection, I was acutely aware of the power of words to transcend reality, even if I was too young to verbalize it; and many decades were to pass before I could have a hand in relating it to others  (see Gibbons & Lynn, 2008).

As far as individuals are concerned, hypnosis is essentially an artistic medium which is dependent for its effectiveness upon the personality and circumstances of each client we encounter, exactly as it had been with me as a child. The narratives I was told in hypnosis, such as the parable of the hare and the tortoise, and the little engine that could, enabled me to complete the long trek to the Ph.D.(de Rivera & Sarbin, 1998) in spite of setbacks too numerous to mention 


Gibbons, D. E., & Lynn, S. J. (2008). Hyonotic inductions: A primer. In Ruhe, J. W., Lynn, S. J., & Kirsch, I. (Eds.) Handbook of clinical hypnosis, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Assn.

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

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