Don E. Gibbons, Ph.D., NJ Licensed Psychologist #03513
This Blog is published for information and educational purposes only. No warranty, expressed or implied, is furnished with respect to the material contained in this Blog. The reader is urged to consult with his/her physician or a duly licensed mental health professional with respect to the treatment of any medical or psychological condition.

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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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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How to Change Your Life and the Lives of Others



There are two parts to an experience: what actually happens, and what you believe about what happens. The second part is by far the most important in determining just what that experience will become.

After Hurricane Katrina struck New Jersey, my wife and I were volunteering at the local high school working with those who were displaced by the storm. One elderly lady who had lost everything was a ray of light, cheering up all of those around her. Finally, someone asked her why she was so cheerful, and she replied, "When I turned eighty, i decided I wasn't going to worry about anything any more.'

I am fond of quoting a well-known story about a boy who had become shy and withdrawn because his face was disfigured by a birthmark -- until his grandmother told him that this was a special sign from God that he was destined for greatness.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 prediction, which had become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Recently, I suggested to a hypnotized client who had come to me to improve her self-confidence,, "Because of the hypnotic training you have received here, you are beginning to enter a new phase of your existence. Regardless of the goal you have set for yourself, if you can believe in it, you can believe it, and it you can believe it, you can make it happen. Believe it will happen, expect it to happen, feel it happening, and savor in advance the fruits of your success!" As she left the office, I noticed that she was humming to herself, and i have no doubt that these suggestions, and the others she received in a similar vein, will be effective.

Cognitive-behavioral psychologists refer to this process as re-framing: looking at something in a more positive light than before. When this re-framing applies to a person's self, or to the selves of others, it has the potential to change one's entire life!

However, I'm not talking about "positive thinking" or  "whistling in the dark" programs such as The Secret." I'm talking about the good old fashioned, roll-up your sleeves and get to work kind of motivation, which comes easily once you have enough faith in yourself. 

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. But 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. Therefore, we should be able to examine the validity of "the law of attraction" by examining the degree to which it operates in these other areas of experience. I have listed below the comments which my friend Roy Hunter reports as having been made to individuals who are suffering from cancer and other maladies, 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 come upon them?
  • You must have a karmic debt to pay off.  If you read The Diary of Anne Frank, you will get a good idea of the kind of person she was. Now consider the fate of Ann and others like her as they covered with lice and dying of hypothermia in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. What did they do to deserve this?
  • 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.
  • 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!" Tell 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 wind up there.
  • Why did you create this problem? The CIA World Factbook lists the United States as fiftieth 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 operation and effects are well-documented in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

A more narrow, focused investigation of psychic abilities is the subject of ongoing research by the Parapsychological Association.  "an international professional organization of scientists and scholars engaged in the study of psi (or 'psychic') experiences, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition.  The primary objective of the PA is to achieve a scientific understanding of these experiences." It also appears possible that some of these phenomena may be focused and directed using hyperempiria, or suggestion-enhanced experience, or by a method described by Claude Bristol in his book, The Magic of Believing, which is available in audio format on this blog free of charge.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Humanistic Psychotherapy for Dealing With Life's Absurdities

Several years ago, I initiated the petition to establish the Division of Humanistic Psychology in the American Psychological Association, which became Division 32.

It has long been recognized that a warm and supportive atmosphere and a strong therapeutic alliance is essential in dealing with many of the problems which come before us. In this regard, I often think of the poem by Lewis Carroll, entitled, "The Walrus and the Carpenter," which describes what appears to be a journey between the therapist (whe walrus in the poem), and a carpenter (the client, who is a work in progress), as they outwit and defeat life's problems (the oysters).


The Walrus and the Carpenter - Lewis Carrol

The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright--
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.


The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done--
"It's very rude of him," she said,
"To come and spoil the fun!"


The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead--
There were no birds to fly.


The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be grand!"


"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.


"O Oysters, come and walk with us!"
The Walrus did beseech.
"A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each."


The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head--
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.


But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat--
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn't any feet.


Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more--
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.


The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.


"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."


"But wait a bit," the Oysters cried,
"Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!"
"No hurry!" said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.


"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--
Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."


"But not on us!" the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
"After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!"
"The night is fine," the Walrus said.
"Do you admire the view?


"It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf--
I've had to ask you twice!"


"It seems a shame," the Walrus said,
"To play them such a trick,
After we've brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"The butter's spread too thick!"


"I weep for you," the Walrus said:
"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.


"O Oysters," said the Carpenter,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Twenty-First Century Revolution in Trauma Treatment

The first stage in psychotherapy with multiples and other trauma survivors is to make the client feel safe, in order to avoid triggering previous traumas. It is necessary when working with DID clients to rely more on providing an environment in which they can feel comfortable, instead of trying to uncover all of their previous traumatic memories, with the goal of providing "insight," which might only serve to re-traumatize them and extend the course of therapy indefinitely. (As one multiple who had previously been in therapy for seventeen years with no improvement exclaimed, "What insight? They were horrible!")  

The following video by Babette Rothschild (herself a victim of childhood trauma) illustrates how to overcome panic attacks by focusing awareness on the perception of here and now rather than on the internalized memories of previous trauma.



After this basic level of security and safety has been attained, client and therapist can then collaborate in the construction of a therapeutic relationship which will increase feelings of confidence and self-esteem, overcome anxiety, depression, and despair, and bring forth an optimistic outlook on life which enables them change the narrative of their life story. (Levine, 1997; Naparstek, 2004; Rothschild, 2000; Scaer, 2007).  These new methods of treatment by the world's leading trauma researchers and clinicians constitute  ". . .a paradigm for understanding trauma's far-reaching psychological and physical consequences, without which, psychotherapeutic interventions remain extremely limited, and at times harmful to our clients." (emphasis mine). 

Procedures such as these are rapidly dealing a death blow to outmoded, Twentieth-Century notions of "healing" based upon regression to cause, which is about as sophisticated and as useful as trying to housebreak a puppy by "rubbing his nose in it." The puppy will usually stop sooner or later, but is that because of our treatment or in spite of it? And if the "training" is vigorously pursued, could the frustration and anxiety thus engendered actually make new learning more difficult? 
The following video from PESI Seminars features some of the world's leading experts discussing how recent breakthroughts in the treatment of trauma, dissociation, and multiple personality are making it possible for clients who have gone years without improvement to finally begin to change.  


References
American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, DSM-V, 5th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Forward, S. (1997). Emotional blackmail: When the people in your life use fear, obligation, and guilt to manipulate you. New York: Harper-Collins.  
Forward, S. & Buck, C. (2002). Toxic parents: Overcoming their hurtful legacy and reclaiming your life. New York: Bantam.
Levine, P.A. (1997). Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
Naparstek, B. (2004). Invisible heroes: Survivors of trauma and how they heal. New York: Bantam.
Rothschild, B. (2000), The body remembers: The psychophysiology of trauma and treatment. New York: Norton.  (Click on the link for a YouTube book review.)
Scaer, R. C. (2007) The body bears the burden: Trauma, dissociation, and disease. New York: Routledge.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Understanding and Relating Come Before "Fixing!"

Dr.Milton Spett recently observed, "Most psychologists would agree that clients are much more likely to accept guidance from a therapist who first shows some empathy and compassion." When we consider the treatment of trauma in particular, books such as Robert C. Scaer's The Body Bears the Burden, Belleruth Naparstek's Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal, and Peter Levine's Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma, are in agreement that first, the clients must first be made to feel safe, and then they can begin to talk about their trauma in a way that is comfortable for them. When therapy centers only on re-processing the trauma itself, the result is frequentlty worsening instead of improvement. 

There is another reason for starting with safety before we get to the healing phase. As illustrated in the following video, which uses the exaggeration of humor to make the point, whether the problem could be solved by removing the nail is premature when we are dealing with psychological injuries.  In many cases. understanding and relating comes before "fixing;" and the relationship itself provides the most effective catalyst for change!
, (If the link doesn't work on your device, go to YouTube and watch, "It's Not About the Nail.")



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Scroll down for a list of some of the most popular sites on this Blog. 

Below this list are the most recent Blog entries. 
For an easily accessible list of all Blog postings, see the list entitled, "Blog Archive" in the column at the right of this page.




 


The Blog contains many other examples of experience as an art form, for the enhancement of human potential, the ennoblement of the human spirit, and the fulfillment of human existence.


See also the following print sources:

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., & 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.





Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Subliminal Perception? It's Mostly a Hoax, Folks!

Here's an experiment you can perform yourself. Call up the nearest university which has a graduate department of psychology, and ask to speak to the professor who teaches courses in perception. When you get a faculty member who is willing to answer your question, ask him or her about the status of research which demonstrates the validity of subliminal perception, and when the hysterical laughter at the other end of the line dies down you will have your answer. 

The consensus of current research is that, within certain limits, the response to a stimulus is proportionate to the intensity of that stimulus. The fainter the stimulus, the lesser is the response tendency.  

In response to the scandal created when a few gullible advertisers were taken in by the claims of those who stood to make a buck by hawking subliminal perception techniques, some jurisdictions passed laws against their use. But paranoia is not the same thing as proof. (After all, the Puritans also had laws against witchcraft.) 

In the American Psychological Association's searchable data base on publications in psychology, there was an article published in January of this year in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, vol. 48 number 1, pp. 258-360 by  Legal, Chappe, Coiffard, and Villard-Forest, entitled, "Don't you know that you want to trust me? Subliminal goal priming and persuasion."  Before being presented with a persuasive message about the consumption of tap water, the experimenters subliminally primed one group of subjects, with the goal "to trust," and did not prime others. Then the subjects were given a questionnaire about their perception of the persuasive message, the source of the message, and their intentions to consume tap water. The results indicated that the primed subjects had a better evaluation of the message, and expressed a greater intention to consume tap water.

Of course, one swallow does not a summer make. And time will tell whether or not this study is replicable. Jason Nier, in an article entitled, "What Every Skeptic should Know about Subliminal Persuasion," in The Skeptical Inquirer, vol. 16, 1992, forcibly argued that research into the area of subliminal persuasion was "either fraudulent or flawed." 

The controversy was not completely laid to rest, however.  Later, in the same publication (vol. 23, 1999), Epley, Savitsky, and Kachelsky, while admitting that much of the earlier research on subliminal pursuasion was flawed, concluded, "more recent research using better methodologies have demonstrated that subliminal perception can influence behavior."  So the beat goes on. But clearly, the claims for the efficacy of subliminal perception have been exaggerated.

In establishing statistically significant results of an experiment, one calculates the likelihood that the results which you obtain could have been obtained by chance alone; and if the odds against chance are high enough, you accept your hypothesis. But in order to be accepted as an established scientific finding, the name of the game is replicability, or the extent to which a given experimental finding can be repeatable at will under the same controlled conditions.  In the fifty years since the claim about subliminal perception was first made, several studies on this topic have been conducted. Despite the occasional positive finding amidst the considerable effort which has been devoted to its pursuit, the goal of scientific replicability has to date not been achieved. Thresholds (or Limens) of perception do vary, as you can easily verify yourself when you hear your name spoken at the next table in a crowded restaurant, but this is not the same thing as subliminal perception. We are definitely attuned to pick up meaningful stimuli more easily than stimuli which are not meaningful. This has been studied ever since the days of Wundt in the late 1800s, and it forms a big chunk of the experimental literature on perception. But subliminal perception? its mostly a hoax, folks!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

How to Overcome Perfectionism



Do the important things -- and then take time to enjoy life!
The following list is adapted from a posting on www.smartrecovery.org. The difference between these statements and other types of "positive thinking" affirmations is that these statements are all true, we just don't always realize that they are! So when you concentrate on accepting one of these statements you don't get the feeling that you are merely lying to yourself, as you might do if you were to try to accept a different type of affirmation such as, "I am effective and serene in social situations," when you know very well that you are not.

Since the suggestions which we receive in hypnosis, or the ones we give to ourselves in self-hypnosis, are often more effective than the things we say to ourselves in everyday life, this list provides us with an excellent source of suggestions or autosuggestions if perfectionism has been a difficulty for you. However, a hypnotic induction is not necessary for these affirmations to be accepted. You simply need to go over them a few times each day in your mind until they become part of your everyday reality, much as you might repeat a set of physical exercises until you have reached the level of comfort you desire.


If your perfectionism is more than the "everyday garden variety" which we all experience at times, you may need to explore the possibility of talk therapy and/or psychotropic medication in order to obtain a satisfactory resolution.  But for almost everybody, incorporating the following beliefs into your philosophy of life will enable you to enjoy life a great deal more!
  • No one can be totally perfect.
  • I'm not perfect and I never will be — tough!
  • It's okay to want to do my best. Doing well does not necessarily mean being the best.
  • I perform in many different roles and it is highly unlikely that I will excel in every role at all times.
  • Just because I make a mistake does not mean I am a mistake.
  • To be human is to err.
  • The pressure I put on myself to perform perfectly is an unrealistic pressure that can actually cause me to perform worse because I will be worried and nervous.
  • The pressure I put on myself to perform perfectly creates an extra source of stress that can affect me emotionally and physically.
  • Trying to do my best is a reasonable goal, but it will not always be achieved.
  • Few things in life are exact. Things can be done in a variety of ways and have many different solutions.
  • People do not always agree on what is correct or right. Judgments are often subjective.
  • I will try to set my own realistic goals, please myself, and have the strength to be creative and different in the face of others' potential disapproval.
  • Our whole society is geared to expect that people will make mistakes and errors. Examples are traffic tickets, prison, consumer recalls, consumer complaints, refunds, legal suits, etc.
  • True friends accept imperfection.
  • Mistakes do not equal incompetence. Mistakes are just mistakes —period! 
Scroll down for a list of some of the most popular sites on this Blog. 
Below this list are the most recent Blog entries. 
For an easily accessible list of all Blog postings, see the list entitled, "Blog Archive" in the column at the right of this page.

 

Here are some of our most popular sites:
The Blog contains many other examples of experience as an art form, for the enhancement of human potential, the ennoblement of the human spirit, and the fulfillment of human existence.


See also the following print sources:

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., & 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.



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A One-Minute Compassion Practice for Inner Peace

It doesn't matter whether you regard the following exercise as a form of meditation, as autosuggestion, or as a prayer. Whenever you feel the need, you can use it to break the cycle of stress in your life. As you concentrate on each thought all you have to do is allow yourself to believe it will happen, expect it to happen, and feel it happening!

May I have compassion for myself.
May I be kind to myself.
May I have peace.

If  your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. The Buddha
---------------------------------------
Scroll down for a list of some of the most popular sites on this Blog. 
Below this list are the most recent Blog entries. 
For an easily accessible list of all Blog postings, see the list entitled, "Blog Archive" in the column at the right of this page.
Here are some of our most popular sites:
The Blog contains many other examples of experience as an art form, for the enhancement of human potential, the ennoblement of the human spirit, and the fulfillment of human existence.


See also the following print sources:

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., & 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.