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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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 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.