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.

We accept Medicare and most other major insurance.
We do not accept credit or debit cards.

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Sunday, August 11, 2019

How Many Altered States of Consciousness Exist?

In the early years of the Twentieth Century, many psychologists were inspired by the discovery in chemistry that all matter could be reduced to certain basic elements. Since the purpose of consciousness was to allow us to experience the real world, they reasoned that it should be possible analyze the contents of consciousness into its own basic elements. This "mental chemistry" was given the name structuralism; and various groups of structuralists began their research, using a method called introspection, or "looking inward," a trained analysis of one's own thoughts and feelings, to see just how many basic elements of awareness exist.. However, the various groups of researchers could not come to a general agreement regarding how many elements of consciousness there actually were. One group claimed that they could find fourteen, another forty-three, and so on. The problem lay in the fact that consciousness is like a mirror. It reflects back what is put into it. The entire process is reminiscent of the game that Tolstoy and his brothers used to play when they were children, which involved trying to see how long each one could go without thinking of a white bear. (Try it!) 

There are probably as many altered experiences of consciousness as it is possible to conceive or to imagine; for each of these imagined definitions may be written up in the form of an induction procedure and presented to a sufficiently imaginative hypnosis partner, and that is exactly how he or she is going to experience a change in the perception of his or her awareness.

My evidence for this assertion t is hyperempiria. I did not wait for another historical accident to come along, as was the case when mesmerism morphed into hypnotism in response to people imitating the behavior of the retarded Victor Emmanuel, who was too  stupid to know that he was supposed to go into hypnosis and went to sleep instead: I simply made it up! I gave the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility to of Hypnotic Susceptibility to two groups of introductory psychology students, one of which was first  given a standard hypnotic induction and the other was given a hyperempiric induction based upon suggestions of increased awareness. Both groups showed a significant increase in suggestibility, but the two groups did not significantly different from each other. (Gibbons, 197 ).I currently prefer to use both inductions in tandem, first taking clients "down" into hypnosis and then "up" into hyperempiria (Gibbons &Lynn, 2010) before providing meaningful experiences of life-changing intensity in the mulriverse (Gibbons & Woods, 2016).\\

If the number of suggestion-induced altered states of consciousness is indeed unlimited, as it appears to be, given the ease with which such suggested experiences may be constructed, the only question which we need to ask ourselves is how can we define these experiences in a manner which is the most useful for the task at hand, forr the enhancement of human potential, the ennoblement of the human spirit, and the fulfillment of human existence.

References
                                      
Gibbons, D. E. (1979). Applied hypnosis and hyperempiria. New York: Plenum Press.
  
 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. 267-29

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








Saturday, August 10, 2019

How to Have an Indomitable Will




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 she was willing to use it!



References

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.


 
  






Metaphysical Hypnosis

People of many different religious traditions have attested to the life changing potential of metaphysical experiences involving the experience of contact with a consciousness beyond one's own However, in this culture, people who have had this type of experience oftentimes don't talk about it because others may simply dismiss them as being a crackpot. When such a history is present, however, it can serve as a focus for completely re-framing a person's view of the self, the world, and the future, which is the professed aim of cognitive-behavioral psychology.

A 58 year old retired English teacher and mother of five grown children who recently had been divorced after a marriage of forty years came to me for help with depression. She was spending the greater part of each day in bed, with the blankets drawn up over her head. She was taking antidepressants, but they did not seem to help. She responded well to hypnosis; and early in the course of therapy, she mentioned that when she was about sixteen, she had a spontaneous mystical experience: "I could step beyond the ordinary world of reality, and I felt totally loved." I asked her if she would like to revisit this mystical experience as a way of getting over her depression, and she immediately agreed.

I told her that for best results, it would help if she were to recapture her mystical experience with the same life-changing intensity that she had experienced it the first time. She readily agreed to this also. Pulling out all the stops in order to evoke an experience of life-changing intensity, I hypnotically  guided her to the Multiverse  (Gibbons & Woods, 2016) and suggested suggested that we were reaching down into her vast, untapped potential for feeling happiness and joy. This potential for happiness and joy was flowing out from the innermost depths of her being in many different ways and on many different levels, like water from a hundred secret springs. As these feelings continued to flow without limit, they were healing and cleansing every muscle and fiber and nerve of her body, driving out all of the worry, and all of the stress, and all of the care that she had ever felt, and leaving her glowing from head to toe with such an intensity of happiness that she could not bear it if she were not hypnotized.

She remained outwardly impassive as I continued in this vein, emphasizing that this happiness was greater and more intense than anything she had ever hoped for, dreamed of, longed for, or imagined, I suggested that when she returned from hypnosis, she would not be able to bring all of this intensity back with her, because it would be more than she could bear in the everyday state of consciousness in which we live and move and have our being. But nevertheless, it would transform her life, and turn each new day into a thing of wondrous beauty.

Her depression lifted within two more sessions. Because she was a Buddhist, it was easy to frame her mystical experience as evidence that true happiness comes from within. She no longer remains in bed all day, and frequently goes out to go shopping, play cards or to visit with friends. Her demeanor is pleasant, relaxed, and cheerful. She is continuing to come in for monthly sessions in order to keep her orientation focused on the positive aspects of life, and as a means of continuing her personal and spiritual development.

The client's youngest daughter, who has had a great many personal difficulties of her own, has recently moved in with her. Even though she frequently serves as a lightning rod for her daughter's wrath, the client has remained impassive, and has managed to maintain a generally congenial relationship with her (when the daughter is on speaking terms!)

Reference



Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Hypnosis as The Secular Equivalent of Salvation



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 have 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. After giving a questionnaire to high and low responders on the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility (Shor & Orne, 1962) concerning the nature of their personal religious experiences, De Jarnette and I (Gibbons & De Jarnette, 1972) 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. Comparing 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." 

If relatively enduring changes in personality and behavior can result from the suggestions contained in a "salvation sermon," then people who respond well to suggestion should also be able to experience such changes in response to strongly worded suggestions in therapeutic settings. After taking my hypnosis clients "down" into hypnosis and then :up" into hyperempiria (Gibbons & Lynn, 2010) and dissolving them into the infinite love of the Multiverse, the universe of all possible universes (Gibbons & Woods, 2016), fundamental changes in deep-seated beliefs concerning the self, the world, and the future which are the professed aim of cognitive psychology (Beck, Rush, Shaw, & Emery, 1979) can sometimes occur in a single session, occasionally accompanied by tears of joy, as was the case with a high school senior whom I hypnotized a few days ago.  after taking her in hypnosis to the multiverse, I told her with considerable elaboration that she was dissolving into the infinite love of the multiverse itself  When she emerged from hypnosis, she expressed surprise that she found herself wiping tears from her eyes. The next time I  saw her, she told me that she wanted to pursue a college degree in hypnosis; and after I told her that no such program existed and we had discussed the situation she decided to major in social work in order to pursue her newly-acquired interest in hypnosis as a licensed professional, as I had done with psychology.

 In summary, people who respond well to suggestion and are ready for a meaningful life change which is in accordance with their preexisting beliefs and values may find that a hypnotic session or a salvation sermon can provide the catalyst for such a change to take place.

References

Beck, A. T., Rush, A. J., Shaw, B. F., & Emery, G. (1979). Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford.


Gibbons, D. E. & De Jarnette, J. (1972). Hypnotic susceptibility and religious experience. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 11I2), pp. 152-156. 

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.

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

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


  

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Hypnosis for Conducting a Non-Deceptive Seance


To borrow a line from Charles Dickens, “One thing must be clearly understood, or no good can come from this story I am about to tell.” Our brain constructs our own reality! We construct this reality out of what William James called the “buzzing, blooming confusion” of raw sensory input, which bombards us from every direction. Since no two people have exactly the same experiences, what we believe to be “out there" is actually an individually constructed parallel universe which only approximately intersects with those of others.

In accordance with the teachings of post-modern constructivism, my job as a therapist is to help clients to construct a reality that will help them to live better lives, regardless of the reality that I may construct for myself

"Maryanne" was the last of six children in a rigidly conservative Catholic family. All of her brothers and sisters had gone to Catholic school, and those who wanted to had gone to college. By the time Maryanne was born, there was no money left for private education. so she went to public grade school and graduated from high school with no prospects of going further. 

Shortly after she was married, she incurred serious spinal injuries from a fall an icy sidewalk, which resulted in her having to see a pain specialist and take medication for the resulting chronic discomfort..

Her mother wanted to keep Maryanne by her side instead of leaving to get married as her other children had done, so she encouraged her to become emotionally dependent.

Her father, on the other hand, scolded her incessantly, in the mistaken belief that he could "shock" her into being highly motivated if he nagged her intensely enough. Instead, Maryanne developed s number of stress-related physical ailments including ulcers, migraine headaches, and chronic constipation.

When she finally did go to work, her boss was bullying and sadistic. Once when she.had mistakenly ordered a shipment of several cartons of supplies delivered directly to her desk instead of the office, her boss forbade her to move them out of the way for several days, and made her climb over them in order to get to her desk.

She lived close enough to her parents to go home for lunch, and her mother would hold her and soothe her to give her courage enough to return to her job every afternoon, until she finally was fired because she could not put up with her demanding boss any longer and her work had begun to suffer.


She married a man with Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, in the expectation that they would be able to help each other with their health problems. He had also developed a chronically sarcastic outlook which was well within her emotional comfort zone because it unconsciously reminded her of her father.

Shortly after she was married, she incurred several serious spinal injuries from a fall on icy pavement which requires her to receive ongoing medication and treatment by a pain specialist.

On her first visit to my psychology practice, four years after her mother had died, Maryanne showed me a picture she had taken on her cell phone of household clothing piled inside her bathtub because she did not have the energy to put it away. Fortunately, her new husband liked to cook, and he did most of the grocery shopping. But the matter of household chores was clearly her responsibility.


Maryanne responded very well to hypnosis and was amnesic for most of the sessions. However, no matter how much I tried, I was unable to help her to summon the energy to clean up her messy house.

One day, she was discussing her desire to go back to work in order to help with the family finances, adding that she would have to clean up her house first before she could ever consider doing that. She also mentioned how depressed she was and how much she missed her mother, who had died four years previously. Her father was also deceased.

It occurred to me that she might be unconsciously using the condition of her house as a wall to prevent her from having to look for a job. When I was about to hypnotize her, I told her confidently that this time we were going to give her all the energy she needed. "Are you going to take the place of my mother?" she asked, which tended to confirm my suspicions.

I could not take the place of her mother, of course; but if she could re-experience her mother holding and soothing her just as she had done in real life, I would not need to. In Victorian times, there was a great interest in contacting the spirits of departed loved ones by means of a "seance," in order to obtain reassurance and advice. The practice died out, however, when many of the supposed mediums who conducted these sessions we're exposed as frauds. Nevertheless, the widespread popularity of seances revealed a deep yearning on the part of many people for this.type of experience.

After hypnotically guiding her through a rainbow of pleasant emotions and coming to the pot of gold at the end of it, I suggested that this was the gateway to Paradise, where she could contact her mother and pour her heart out to her while being comforted and soothed, much as her as her mother had done while she was alive.

This type of reassurance appeared to be all that Maryanne needed in order to regain her former self confidence, clean up her house, and  begin looking for a job.

Was she really talking to her mother at the gateway to Paradise? As a post-modern constructivist, I have no right to say that my experiences are any more "real" than hers. I am perfectly content to help my clients put together a set of beliefs which enables them to lead happier and more effective lives as they themselves interpret them. Considering
 the depth of pent-up longing experienced by many grieving relatives who yearn to contact their loved ones once more, as the Victorians have amply demonstrated, the opportunity to experience a non-deceptive hypnotic seance would appear to be a potentially useful application of hypnosis. However, one must be careful not to ask leading questions, in order to insure that the hypnotic realities constructed by one's clients are truly their own, and not a projection of the hypnotist. 


Monday, July 29, 2019

How to Learn Self-Hypnosis at Home

You can easily  learn the basics of self-hypnosis at home and free of charge by reading this instructional article on WikiHow. It describes the use of the BEST ME Technique to combine Beliefs, Emotions, Sensations and perceptions, Thoughts and images, Motives, and Expectations, in order to more fully involve oneself in the content of a suggested experience. I use it with the clients in my psychology practice, both as an introduction to the experience of self-hypnosis and for use between therapy sessions as a training and practice aid. According to the statistics available at the site, with the help of several co-authors, it has been viewed almost 1-1/2 miillion times since I first wrote and posted it.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

"Covert Hypnosis" and "Ambush Hypnosis:" It's Mostly a Hoax, Folks!


In spite of the numerous advertisements encouraging you to learn how to do just that, don't just sidle up to someone at the mall, or someone who is asleep, and try to hypnotize them on the sly!

Though not impossible, it is extremely difficult to hypnotize someone without their prior knowledge and consent. Although covert hypnosis (sometimes referred to as "ambush hypnosis") can work occasionally with an unsuspecting person who is caught by surprise, much more often than not, people will catch on to what you are trying to do. They will either laugh at you, or become angry for insulting their intelligence, and/or suspect that you have an ulterior motive and report you as a suspicious person -- that is, if they don't decide to take the matter into their own hands.



Monday, July 22, 2019

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 isn't!

I have listed below 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!"

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Suggestibility: Exploding the Myth

Suppose you are standing by a newspaper rack one morning, when your eye is caught by the following headlines:
MASSIVE ASTEROID POISED TO STRIKE EARTH!
"NO ESCAPE," SAY SCIENTISTS
MILLIONS GATHERING TO PRAY
A bolt of fear shoots through you, as you stand rooted to the spot -- until you hear the sound of loud laughter behind you and, turning, you see a friend who works in a print shop. You realize that you have been made the object of a practical joke. Your friend (who may soon become your former friend!) obviously printed up a fake newspaper, and placed it in the rack when he saw you coming.
A practical joke such as this would be based upon suggestion --i.e., presenting an idea in such a way that it is likely to be accepted as literally true, and therefore "real," at least for the moment. In the hypothetical example just mentioned, notice that when such a suggestion is accepted, you respond not merely with your voluntary abilities, such as thinking about whether or not there might still be a place to hide, but with your involuntary abilities as well, such as feeling frightened and all that goes with it. In other words, the "power of suggestion" is rooted in our beliefs and perceptions about reality itself!

It is often said that the two organisms most frequently experimented upon are the laboratory rat and the college sophomore, because of their ready accessibility to researchers. When experiments designed to measure individual differences in responsiveness are designed and carried out in a standardized group setting such as a classroom, suggestibility appears to be a trait of personality. In a typical administration of The Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Suggestibility, perhaps the most widely-used of these measures, in a class 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.

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.

Hypnosis or Mindful Hypnotic Meditation?

I remember Richard Nongard once posting that hypnosis is the same as meditation. Rather than referring to myself as a hypnotist, I like to say that I am practicing mindful hypnotic meditation, mentioning that research has shown at the branch of long-term meditators actually change with time, as has been found with Tibetan lamas. This has enabled me to acquire a number of long-term hypnosis clients who come in on a near weekly basis for relief from their chronically stressful environment. This is further amplified by the use of suggestions for time distortion. Financially it has been a definite plus for my practice, and I think it has helped a lot of people.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Poetry: Sending Words nto Battle

Anxiety and depression are tlike a flat tire. If you don't fix it you aren't going anywhere. However, they are he most common psychological problems which most people have to contend with in everyday life. Inspirational poetry, as illustrated by the following examples, can often provide the battle cry which enables us to continue the fight when all seems lost. More information can be found at the Websites of the National Association for Poetry Therapy and the Institute for Poetic Medicine

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thought your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings:
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it. . . .

                                                    --Rudyard Kipling

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.