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, April 28, 2019

How Does Hypnosis REALLY Work?

A Suggestion is an Induction.
                                                                              -- Ernest. R. Hilgard

Everybody seems to be looking for the fastest and most powerful hypnotic induction, but hypnosis doesn't work that way!

Let's perform a thought experiment. Imagine that I am giving the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Suggestibility (Shor & Orne,1962), which is the most widely known scientific measure of   individual horhypnotic responsiveness, to a class of introductory psychology students in a politically sensitive part of the world, when someone dressed in a police uniform bursts into the room, shouting that there is an active shooter on campus and orders everybody to take immediate cover under their desks and await further instructions. Everyone, including the instructor, promptly cowers under their desks in a high state of emotion for an indeterminate time, until it gradually becomes clear that this was a hoax, i.e., a cleverly designed suggestion on the part of a dissident student group in order to disrupt the smooth operation of the school. 

What happened to the individual differences in suggestibility that the test was supposed to measure, and what happened to the individual differences in hypnotic depth that had been achieved? They disappeared! In other words, under the right conditions everybody is totally suggestible, and in practically no time at all.

How, then, does hypnosis really work? Here is Steve Lynn's excellent summary of our induction chapter in the American Psychological Association's Handbook of Clinical Hypnosis:

. . .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).


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.

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

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Hypnosis as a Pseudo-SEANCE.

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 such practices revealed a deep yearning on the part of many people for this.type of experience, which may be put to constructive use in the practice of clinical hypnosis.

"Marianne" 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. Consequently, she went to public grade school and graduated from high school with no prospects of going further. 

Her mother had wanted to keep Maryanne by her side instead of leaving to get married as her other children had done, so she encouraged her to becone emotionally dependent upon her. When Maryanne finally did go to work, her boss was bullying and demanding. 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 boss any longer and her work had begun to suffer.

On her first visit to my psychology practice, four years after her mother had died, she 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. 

Marianne responded very well to hypnosis and was amnesic for most of the sessions. However, no matter how much I tried, I was not able 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.

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 ego strengthening appeared to be all that Marianne needed in order to regain her former self confidence to clean up her house and begin looking for a job.

I did not discuss the content of my suggestions with her because, in today's skeptical intellectual climate, I did not want her to attribute the results solely to hypnotic suggestion, which might destroy their effectiveness. 

Was she really talking to her mother at the gateway to Paradise? I have no right to say that my experiences are any more "real" than hers. However, I am perfectly content to help my clients put together a set of beliefs which enables them to lead happier and more effective lives, without any concern as to whether or not I am using hypnosis as a pseudo-"seance."

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

A Speaker's Treasury of Wit and Wisdom

If you have a speech to give on a topic related to psychology, here is a succession of talks by Dr. Murray Banks, one of the most sought-after speakers in the United States for many years, which can serve as a treasury of humor to liven things up a bit.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Hypnotic Mistrsses, Goddesses, and Those who Worship Them

I recently ran across a video on YouTube by "Mistress Lisa," which has been viewed over one and one half million times:

If you watch the tape carefully, within a fraction of a second after she completes her induction, you will catch her quickly throwing her head back with a momentary gleam of triumph in her eyes. There is trouble brewing in paradise! Although she herself does not appear to have followed up on it, there are many other postings of female hypnotists, hypnotic mistresses, goddesses, and seductresses, some of whom merely provide constructive suggestions of well-being, and some of whom seem to be seeking the worshipful adoration of male (and occasionally, female) worshippers who appear to be all too willing to turn their lives and worldly goods over to them. What in the world is going on? 

These videos are obviously not illegal, and not very many people have complained about them, or they would have been closed down years ago. You can enter the words "mistress" or goddess" on Facebook, You Tube, or a Google prompt, and simply follow the links for an in-depth introduction to dozens, and possibly hundreds, of other mistresses and goddesses of varying methods and temperaments. However, I found only one Website,devoted to the hypnotic enslavement of women. 

What are the psychological motives behind these practices? Are they dangerous, or merely harmless role playing? Some parents view their children not as individuals to be loved and encouraged to develop their own lives, but as extensions of themselves, whose purpose in life is to flatter the parents' ego. They selectively withdraw love until the child, desperate for affection and totally dependent on the rejecting parent, will do almost anything to get it (Forward, 1989). The parent or parents may also act seductively, and even sexually molest the child in order to gratify their own needs, because "babies don't tell."

As adults, we often tend to re-create an approximation of the family environment in which we were raised. Is it any wonder, then, that some men long for a relationship with a woman whom they can worship as a goddess if this is the kind of mother they had, who is alternately seductive, punitive, and distant and rejecting? But w
hy are so many more men than women looking for this type of satisfaction? 

There are a few documented instances of male seducers such as Rasputin, who have taken advantage of women in repressed societies who could not admit their secret longings, even to themselves. if, on the other hand. a woman  in our present-day culture wants to dedicate herself completely to a man who only occasionally shows any concern for her, she probably will have little trouble finding one. 


Forward, S. (1989). Toxic parents: overcoming their lethal legacy and reclaiming your life. New York: Bantam.


Saturday, April 13, 2019

Hypnotically Re-Energizing a Mystical Experience

People of many different religious traditions have attested to the life changing potential of mystical and transcendental experiences involving the experience of contact with a consciousness beyond one's own However, in this culture, people who have had spontaneous mystical experiences, often 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-energizing a person's view of life.

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 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 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!)

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Suggestions for Hypnotic Comprehensiveness

A 52 year old divorced woman came in for her first hypnosis session to eliminate chronic anxiety stemming from what she referred to as "empty nest syndrome" after her son had left to join the military.

She said that she was a Wiccan, and asked me what I thought about psychic ability. In the long conversation which followed, l told me her that the research often showed dramatic results; but in order to be accepted by the scientific community, these results had to be repeated by others who carried out the same research under the same conditions. So far, this has not been.found to be the case. Then I added that many physicists now believe that there are eleven different dimensions of reality instead of the.three that we are used to, and perhaps psychic abilities operate in these dimensions. This might explain why we could often obtain such dramatic results without being able to replicate them under controlled conditions in the laboratory

She seemed satisfied with this conclusion, but most of our session time had been used up. So, after the hypnotic induction had been completed, I suggested that she would obtain everything she wanted from today's session, regardless of whether or not it had been included in the suggestions she was given and. regardless of whether or not she was completely aware if it herself at the time
When she returned for the next appointment, she showed me a picture of her son, who had just begun. his first day of training at Marine boot camp and thanked me profusely.  She had been using her newly strengthened beliefs about her psychic abilities to "will" a curtain of protection around him and keep him from harm. Her anxiety attacks and much of her chronic anxiety had completely vanished. 

Since that time, I have always included suggestions for "comprehensive coverage" in my hypnosis sessions, in. order to allow for the possibility that there might be something that either I or the client may have overlooked or not been able to include.

Was she really psychic, or was she merely deluding herself? Since  noobody can know what "truth" is in these maters, we should help our clients to put together a world view that helps them to make the best of their lives, regardless of our own beliefs. She had made the choice herself. And, in the unlikely event that she should ever find out that she is wrong, we can deal with that problem when it arises.