Don E. Gibbons, Ph.D., NJ Licensed Psychologist #03513
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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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What is Hypnosis?

He thought he saw a Rattlesnake
That questioned him in Greek.
And then when he woke up, it was
The Middle of Next Week!
"The one thing that I regret." he said,
"Is that it can not speak!"
                           --Nietzche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

Traditionally, hypnosis has been regarded by most people as a state of trance.. Bit until comparatively recently, in Western culture the experience of trance was interpreted as due to demonic influences or, occasionally, the mark of holiness or sainthood, as it was in the case of Saint Teresa. 


Saint Teresa was a prone to spontaneous
states of ecstasy. 
Although healing by means of trance induction probably dates back to prehistoric times, the revival of interest in the induction of healing trances in Western culture may be traced directly to the work of the Viennese physician, Franz Anton Mesmer (1733-1815). Mesmer was considerably influenced by the teachings of Paracelsus that the stars and the planets exert considerable influence over human behavior by means of their magnetic fields. He decided to investigate the implications of this theory by slowly drawing some small magnets over the bodies of his patients. This was frequently found to be accompanied by convulsions, fainting, and the disappearance (at least temporarily) of a host of symptoms which today we would attribute to the power of suggestion. But to Mesmer and his followers, the discovery of these new "powers" of magnetism appeared to be an exciting medical breakthrough. 

Mesmer soon discovered, however, that he was able to produce the same results without the aid of special magnets. This led him to conclude that the "magnetism" in question was coming from his own body. He abandoned the use of metal magnets altogether, and simply began to make passes in the air with his hands near the bodies of his patients. He coined the term "animal magnetism" to explain what was happening.

When the demand for his services had reached its height, Mesmer proceeded to "magnetize" a large elm tree on the estate of his patron, the Marquis de Puysegur, a few miles outside of the city of Paris; and great crowds would often gather to stand under the tree, either to derive the benefits if its healing power for themselves or simply to observe the dramatic results which were apparently produced in others.


Events were to take yet another turn when a retarded peasant lad of twenty-three named Victor Emmanuel was brought to stand under the now-famous elm tree, in the hope that the "magnetic rays" which were supposedly emanating from the tree might also be of some benefit to him. As many retardates are apt to do when they are placed in a situation in which they are not quite certain what is expected of them, Victor, though he remained standing, promptly utilized the occasion to avail himself of a quick nap. Other patients standing under the tree, seeing Victor asleep on his feet, apparently perceived this event as merely another result of the strange mesmeric rays emanating from the tree; for they promptly began to feel drowsy and to "fall asleep" themselves, thereby initiating a change in the form of suggestion-induced trance experience which heralded the death of mesmerism and the birth of traditional forms of hypnosis.



Hypnosis immediately became an object of fascination.
By now the role of suggestion in determining both the outward form and inward experience of trance behavior should be obvious. The mesmeric "crises" were brought about by implicit suggestions or expectations arising from the eccentric astrological notions of Paracelsus, whereas the "sleeping" or hypnotic trance was first manifested by people who were imitating the behavior of a retardate, who wast too stupid to realize that he was supposed to go into convulsions and went to sleep instead! An "induction procedure" provides both the occasion and the opportunity for those who are able to respond well to suggestion to go ahead and do so. All the rest depends upon ongoing cultural narratives, explicit or implicit cues which are present in the situation, and the ability and wilingness of the participant to comply with the instructions and suggestions which he or she is given. (Gibbons, 1979).

Today, we no longer need to rely upon the model of trance behavior provided to us by a sleeping retardate over two hundred years ago, when much better models are available. A hyperempiric induction is based on suggestions of mind expansion, enhanced awareness, and increased responsiveness and sensitivity, in contrast to traditional hypnotic inductions based on expressed or implied suggestions of lethargy, drowsiness, and sleep. (Gibbons, 1973). Hyperempiric inductions, or "alert hypnosis," has been found to be just as effective as traditional hypnotic inductions in facilitating subsequent responsiveness to suggestion (Bányai, & Hilgard, 1976; Gibbons, 1975, 1976). But this time, we didn't have to wait for another historical accident to come along. I simply made it up!  


But thoughts are things; and these things exist in the brain as nerve impulses just as surely as anything else does. And to the extent that the belief that you in hypnosis, (or in hyperempira as the case may be), you're hypnotized if you think you are! And that is all that is necessary for hypnosis to play as much of a part as any other experience in the ongoing narative of your ife story.


Sources and Citations
                                      
Aaronson, B. The hypnotic induction of the void. Paper presented at the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, San Francisco, October, 1969.

Bányai, E. I., & Hilgard, E. R. (1976). A comparison of active-alert hypnotic induction with traditional relaxation induction. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 85, 218-224.


de Rivera, J., & Sarbin, T. R. (eds.) (1998). Believed-in imaginings: The narrative construction of reality (memory, trauma, dissociation, and hypnosis). Washington, DC: American Psychological association.

Gibbons, D. E. (2001). Experience as an art form. .New York, NY: Authors Choice Press.

Gibbons, D. E. (2000). Applied hypnosis and hyperempiria. Lincoln, NE: Authors Choice Press (originally published 1979 by Plenum Press).
  
Gibbons, D. E. (1974). Hyperempiria, a new “altered state of consciousnes” induced by suggestion. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 39, 47-53.

Gibbons, D. E., & Cavallaro, L (2013).. Exploring alternate universes: And learning what they can teach us. Amazon Kindle E-Books. (Note: It is not necessary to own a Kindle reader to download this e-book, as the Kindle app may be downloaded free of charge to a standard desktop or laptop computer and to most cell phones.)

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.

Havens, R. A. (2007). Self hypnosis for cosmic consciousness: Achieving altered states, mystical experience, and spiritual enlightenment. Bethel, CT: Crown House Publishing Co., LLC.

Phillips, B. D. (2007). Tranceplay: Experimental approaches to interactive drama involving experiential trance. Journal of Interactive Drama, 2.1, pp. 15-55.


Sacerdote, P. (1977). Applications of hypnotically elicited mystical states to the treatment of physical and emotional pain. The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 25(4), pp. 309-324.

Sarbin, T. R., & De Rivera, J. (Eds.) Believed-in imaginings: The narrative construction of reality. Washington, DC: American Psycholofical Association.
  


 

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