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 30, 2015

How to Make Your Recorded Voice Sound Better on the Internet

For making a recording of your own voice to make available online, many people are currently using and recommending the free, open-source software called Audacity, which, despiite its initially formidable appearance, is as easy to operate as a $30 recorder that you could purchase at a drugstore.
(There is even a conference about Audacity coming up in England this July -- not bad for a free, open-source program!)

All the control buttons are in the upper left-hand corner and if you mouse over them it will show you what they do. And if you have background noise or a cheap microphone and cannot afford to rent a recording studio, not to worry.  Here are two brief You Tube videos on how to fancy up the presentation, once you get your recording done. The first one shows you how to make two simple adjustments using Audacity to produce major improvements in your presentation. In the second one, the same presenter shows you a few additional choice tricks. After using them, I no longer sounded like Donald Duck with tonsillitis. (Kermit the Frog, perhaps?)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

How to Listen to Your Inner Healer

Listening to your inner healer
Here is a script for concluding the hypnotic session wich  I have found useful  for enabling the client to share in the outcome in a variety of constructive ways,

You love being hypnotized! Each time you enter hypnosis, you enter it more rapidly and more deeply. Each time you enter hypnosis,, your Best Me -- the person you are becoming --  gives you more strength to work out your issues, in many different ways and on many different levels, some of which you may already be aware of, and some of which you may not yet realize until they actually happen 
Now we will return from these higher realms of being to the everyday state of consciousness and the time and place from which we left.  
You will obtain everything you desired from this session, regardless of whether or not it was actually included in the suggestions you were given, and regardless of whether or not you were consciously aware of all of them youtself.  
 Because time passes so much more slowly in hypnosis., even though you may only have been hypnotized for only a few minutes, it can seem as if we had been gone for an eternity, and the benefits you derive from the experience will be correspondingly increased.
Regardless of how much or how little you actually remember of these higher and more powerful levels of reality, you will always recall these hypnotic sessions with fondness, even as you look forward to the next opportunity to return to them with ever increasing anticipation; for you will obtain from each session everything that you hoped to get from it, regardless of whether or not it has been specifically suggested to you.
The sound of my voice will have much the same enjoyable effect as if you were in hypnosis. For this reason, whenever you can safely do so, you will be able to listen to recording of nt voice ob the computer and it will have just the same effect as if I were actually there, hypnotizing you right then.
Tonight, you will be able to fall asleep easily, and you will have a pleasant, refreshing sleep from which you will awaken rested and refreshed, and feeling wonderful; for your Best Me is always with you, guiding your path in the way it should go. Know who you really are. Be who you really are.
 By the time I get to the count of five, you will be able to open your eyes, feeling wonderful. Your mind will be clear and alert. You will easily be able to concentrate on anything you have to do, and you are going to feel better than you have for a long, long time!
One. Getting ready to open your eyes now.
Three. Almost ready.  
Four. . . .
Five. You can open your eyes now, feeling wonderful


 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.

Friday, July 17, 2015

How to Make Friends at Any Age

Many people find that they have fewer and fewer friends as they get older and old friends die or move away.  Many others have discovered that there is more to making lasting friendships than simply being a great conversationalist. The following WikiHow article has been contributed to by over 2300 people and read by over three and a half million. Here is the result of their collective wisdom.

How to Make Friends

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
There's a certain beauty in being a lone wolf. You have more time to do the things you want to do, like take introspective walks, read books, write and other solitary endeavors. But it's also nice to have friends. Sometimes you need that one person to talk to. You can play games, hang out or even just talk on the phone. So consider these suggestions to meet people and form strong, lasting friendships. Take your time, and don't rush.


  1. Spend more time around people. If you want to make friends, you first need to put yourself out there somehow in order to meet people. If you're still in school, sit somewhere with other people, it doesn't have to be the 'popular' table, or a crowded one, but one with at least 2 other people. Remember, friends seldom come knocking on your door while you sit at home playing computer games.
  2. Join an organization or club with people who have common interests. You don't necessarily need to have a lot of common interests with people in order to make friends with them. In fact, some of the most rewarding friendships are between two people who don't have much in common at all, but if you like a specific topic, try searching for just a location. It's a great way to meet new local people! Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, BlendAbout and Google+ are great way to meet new people and learn more about the people you meet. A church, Masjid (mosque), temple or other house of worship is a great place to start since you have at least have a religious faith in common.
  3. Join a sports team. A common misconception about this is that you have to be really good at playing a particular sport in order to make friends with others on the team, but not all teams are so competitive. As long as you enjoy the sport and support your teammates, joining a local team with a laid-back attitude could be a great way to make new friends. But a sports team isn't the only way. If you play instruments or sing, try joining a band or choir.
  4. Volunteer. Volunteering is a great way for people of all ages to meet others. By working together you build bonds with people, and you might meet others who have a passion for changing things the way you do (a common cause).
  5. Talk to people. You can join a club, go to school, or go to church but you still won't make friends if you don't actually talk to people. By the same token, you don't have to be involved with an organization to be social, and any time you talk to someone, you have a chance at making a lasting friend. You can talk to anybody: the clerk at the video store, the person sitting next to you on the bus, or the person in front of you in the lunch line. Don't be too picky. Most conversations will be a dead-end of sorts, when you may never talk to that person again, or you just remain acquaintances--but once in a while you'll actually make a friend.
  6. Make eye contact and smile. If you have an unfriendly countenance, people are less likely to be receptive to your friendship. by not squinting (get some glasses), looking bored, frowning or appearing blankly deadpan, folding your arms or hanging out in a corner; such habits may make you look troubled or disinterested.
  7. Start a conversation. There are many ways to do this; a comment about your immediate environment (The weather is a classic: "At least it's not raining like last week!"), a request for help ("Can you help me carry a few boxes, if you have a minute?" or "Can you help me decide which one of these is a better gift for my mom?") or a compliment ("That's a nice car." or "I love your shoes."). Follow up immediately with a related question: Do you like this warm weather? What kinds of gifts do you normally buy for your mom? Where did you get shoes like that?
  8. Make small talk. Keep the conversation light and cheery. Even if you're complaining about something, make sure it's something you're both dissatisfied with, and emphasize the positive—how such a situation can be avoided in the future, or alternatives. Bounce a few words back and forth for a little bit. Many conversationalists say that it is good to follow a 30/70 (30% talking, 70% listening) pattern during small talk when possible.
  9. Introduce yourself at the end of the conversation. It can be as simple as saying "Oh, by the way, my name is...". Once you introduce yourself, the other person will typically do the same. Remember his or her name! If you show that you remembered things from your past conversation(s) with the person, not only will you look intelligent but he or she will see that you were paying attention and are willing to be a true friend.
  10. Initiate a get-together. You can chat your heart out but it won't get you a friend if you don't open up the opportunity for another conversation or meeting. This is especially important if you meet someone who you aren't otherwise likely to meet again. Seize the day!
  11. If you've discovered that the person you're talking to has a common interest, ask him or her more about it and, if appropriate, whether they get together with others (in a club, for example) to pursue this interest. If so, this is a perfect opportunity to ask about joining them. If you clearly express interest (when? where? can anyone come?) they'll probably invite you. If you have a club, band, church, etc. that you think they might enjoy, take the opportunity to give them your number or email address and invite them to join you.
  12. Ask them out for lunch or coffee. That will give you a better opportunity to talk and get to know each other a little bit better. A good way to extend yourself is to say: "Hey, well, I've got to go, but if you ever want to talk over lunch or coffee or anything like that, let me give you my number/e-mail address." This gives the person the opportunity to contact you; they may or may not give you their information in return, but that's fine. Maybe they don't have time for new friends—don't take it personally! Just offer your contact info to whoever seems to be potentially a good friend, and eventually somebody will get in touch.
  13. Don't do anything to pressure someone into being friends with you. Never chide acquaintances for failing to invite you to a party, for example; don't call someone repeatedly or stop by uninvited (unless you have established that stopping by unannounced is OK); and refrain from overstaying your welcome anywhere. In general, take friendship slowly, and don't try to force intimacy to grow quickly; the move from acquaintance to friend can take a long time. It's understandable to want more of a good thing, but try to err on the side of less. If you are not sure about the pace of your new friendship, check in with your friend and ask directly. Too much, too fast can be scary or intimidating, and not everybody is able to say "Slow down..." - instead, they may run the other way!
  14. Be loyal to a friend. You've probably heard of fair-weather friends. They're the ones who are happy to be around you when things are going well, but are nowhere to be found when you really need them. Part of being a friend is being prepared to make sacrifices of your time and energy in order to help out your friends. If a friend needs help with an unpleasant chore, or if he or she just needs a shoulder to cry on, be there. If your friends make a joke, laugh with them. Never complain about a friend.
  15. Be a good friend. Once you've started spending time with potential friends, remember to do your part (e.g. initiating some of the activities, remembering birthdays, asking how the other person is feeling) or else the friendship will become unbalanced and an uneasiness or distance is likely to arise.
  16. Be reliable. If you and your friend agree to meet somewhere, don't be late, and do not stand them up. If you're not going to make it on time or make it at all, call them as soon as you realize it. Apologize and ask to reschedule. Don't make them wait for you unexpectedly; it's rude, and it is certainly not a good way to launch a potential friendship. When you say you'll do something, do it. Be someone that people know that they can count on.
  17. Be a good listener. Many people think that in order to be seen as "friend material" they have to appear very interesting. Far more important than this, however, is the ability to show that you're interested in others. Listen carefully to what people say, remember important details about them (their names, their likes and dislikes), ask questions about their interests, and just take the time to learn more about them. You don't want to be the guy or girl that always has a better story than anyone else or that changes the subject abruptly instead of continuing the flow of conversation. These people appear too wrapped up in themselves to be good friends--"one-ups-man-ship" is a put down.
  18. Be trustworthy. One of the best things about having a friend is that you have someone to whom you can talk about anything, even secrets that you hide from the rest of the world. The key to being a good confidante is the ability to keep secrets, so it's no secret that you shouldn't tell other people things that were told to you in confidence. Keep in mind that recent studies show that people rarely keep secrets. Before people even feel comfortable opening up to you, however, you need to build trust.
  19. Choose your friends wisely. As you befriend more people, you may find that some are easier to get along with than others. While you always give people the benefit of the doubt, sometimes you realize that certain friendships are unhealthy, such as if a person is obsessively needy or controlling towards you, constantly critical, or introducing dangers or threats into your life. If this is the case, ease your way out of the friendship as gracefully as possible. Preoccupy yourself with other things, such as a new volunteer opportunity, so that you can honestly say that you don't have enough time in your schedule to spend time with them (but don't substitute their time for time with other friends; they may notice and become jealous, and more drama will ensue). Cherish those friends you make who are a positive influence in your life, and do your best to be a positive influence in theirs.
  20. Put emphasis on the good, unique qualities about yourself. Are you funny? If yes, then great, a little humor always keeps conversation light and happy, and people love to be around someone who makes them laugh. If you're like me and you have a quirky, different style of humor then make sure you let them know that the things you say are in fact a joke, so that you don't just come across as simply weird. This way they will understand a bit more about you too, which could potentially spark their interest. If you are a unique person, then show it!
  21. Encourage your friend: A very good friend encourages his/her friend. He/she will remain with him/her in both good as well as bad times. Never ever make fun or laugh at your friend in front of others. If someone is making fun of him/her a good friend will come to save or support his/her friend.
  22. Get a job,meet many people and socialize that way.For example, when you are with your office colleague try to improve your conversations with him/her by talking about something that you both have in common and never boast or brag about yourself.
  23. Be confident. Many people are not very confident. They are reserved, timid and afraid to start a conversation. Make the effort and start talking no matter how uncomfortable it feels.
  24. Don't separate your friend from the rest of the group. Some people get jealous of their friends if they talk to other people or make other friends. Most people don't like it and would no longer want to hang out with you
  25. Use a friendship matchmaking website to make new friends! Sites like FriendMatch were made to help people make new friends instead of dates.


  • You don't have to be a superstar to be fun. You don't even have to do cartwheels. You do need to be positive and friendly, however, so that people feel good and appreciated when they're around you.
  • Know that this is no exact science. There's no perfect method to getting a friend. It's a natural process, and if it happens, it happens.
  • Friendships require a lot of tolerance and it boils down to how much you are willing to give and take.
  • Let the friendship unfold naturally. Don't force the friendship because they won't be your true friend if you cannot be yourself around them.
  • Make sure you keep yourself open to new possibilities. You never know what might be in store for you, if you have the eyes to see.
  • Its very important to remind and counsel your friend he/she about the things they should avoid or refrain. This will help you convey how special that friend is to you.
  • Learn to entertain. Create a reason why people would want to come over to your place. Offer something to people that they don't already have. While you don't want a pool or video game console to be the only reason people come over, it will give you an opportunity to socialize with people and for them to get to know you better. Go online and find people that like to go swimming and have cookouts. Invite new people over you feel you can trust and just be friendly. Make this a group event so that you're not the only person there. Be sure to have some friends there that you already know to help you break the ice.
  • If you have a friend who knows some good people that you aren't acquainted with, ask them to invite those people to hang out with the two of you. It is a great way to make some friends who have common interests.
  • Along with learning to entertain, try to be unique to attract attention. When you have something interesting that people can learn from you, they tend to stick around and ask you questions. This is usually the case when you know a lot about something popularly known yet complex, something controversial, or something that could just spark a big debate. Some of the most interesting people you meet may have a large knowledge base when it comes to things like politics, certain religions, or strange topics like astrology and divination.
  • Get your friends to know your family as well so that there will be more chances to stay in touch with one another.
  • In general, the Internet is a great place to make friends, but it's also easy to invest a lot of time online with someone you think of as a friend, but then you never meet because of time and distance. Expect to have to sift through a lot of people online before you find the right one for you. Make yourself beautiful, get a makeover.
  • From the very first conversation you have with someone, you should use body language to convey that you are affable, non-threatening, and approachable. Smile frequently, laugh often, and make eye contact. In your words, be confident, but don't be cocky, condescending, or mean-spirited.
  • Be fun to be with.
  • Give your friend space. You don't have to see your friend 24/7. If you don't leave your friend, he'll feel uncomfortable.
  • Try not to be weird, be happy, smile and try to take interest in what they're interested in.
  • Be kind and hang out with people who make you feel like your self.
  • Don't be shy and be real. Many people just like the way you are.
  • Don't take rejection personally, a person who doesn't want to be your friend would probably not ended up being a good friend anyway.
  • Don't talk about yourself all the time; ask them questions about themselves. Show interest in your friends and what they like.
  • Treat others how you want to be treated.


  • Never leave old good friends because you may like someone else more. This is a big, bad mistake. It's great to have different groups of friends, but if you abandon one group for another, you may soon find yourself without any friends at all. Remember the saying, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold".
  • You may reform or change yourself, but only for yourself. Don't try to change just in order to fit in to make new friends. A truly good friend sometimes does things he or she doesn't want to do, such as helping a friend move or going to see a band that you don't really like, but you should never give into pressure to do something you think is wrong.
  • Don't try to buy friends by giving people gifts or money. While it's nice to give a friend a gift sometimes, if you go overboard, it's asking for trouble. A person who will "be your friend" without responding with little things in turn, when you buy him or her things, probably just likes the things you gave them--not you. The long run. Also, don't ask too often for friends to buy you things like candy from a vending machine. You might come across as annoying or an advantage taker, maybe even greedy or ungrateful.
  • Don't be untrue to your convictions and beliefs, and if this causes you to lose some friends, you're better off without them. You'll also find that your integrity may help you win better friends, and if you just "be yourself" you'll make friends who like you for who you are.
  • Don't be too bossy. Don't order your friends around and tell them to do things your way all the time, even if they like it. Let them be who they are and let them know that you love them for who they are. Be nice, but not too nice because they will take you for granted.

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Make Friends. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.




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., & 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.

How to Use Body Language :Like a Pro

Power Posing can Affect Everything About Us

In the following video, Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how "power posing" -- standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don't feel confident -- can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.

Friday, June 5, 2015

False Perceptions, False Beliefs --- and Better Ones!

Here is a list of false perceptions and false beliefs which may have been setting us up for failure.

Most of us are familiar with the following "Serenity Prayer" by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, which has been adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step organizations:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

The following rules for a positive philosophy of life were written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920s. They have been circulated and re-printed many times since then. He called them Desiderata; but I would like to take the liberty of also referring to them as The Serenity Rules, because they spell out some excellent illustrations of how to apply the Serenity Prayer in our own lives. 
(or "The Serenity Rules")
by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence 
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. 
Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is. Many persons strive for high ideals,and everywhere life is full of heroism. 
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love;for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. 
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
 Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy,

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

What Einstein Didn't Tell Us

Physics didn't stop with Einstein. In the following video, Prof. Michio Kaku helps to fill us in on some of what has transpired since then.

The numerous revolutions in scientific thinking since the Middle Ages have probably affected our beliefs about ourselves, the world, and the future as much as any other form of suggestion-enhanced experience. But the past is prologue. In other words, "Brother, you ain't seen nothin' yet!"

Saturday, May 30, 2015

How Our Beliefs about Time Influence our Behavior

Do you get angry when a signal light is changing red in front of you, and you know that you will have to be the first one to have to stop? If you do decide to take a risk and squeeze by, do you ever look back in amazement that the car behind you frequently refuses to stop, even at the risk of life and limb? You may be suffering from "Americanitis," as I am. As +Kelley Woods  has shared with me, parents and grandparents will find the following insights useful in helping to understand the difference between generations, as well as the difference between cultures.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hypnotizability: Three Things to Remember, and One to Forget

If, after formal training in hypnosis, you should happen to have any lingering doubts about your own abilities as a hypnotist, I would like to suggest three things to remember, and one to forget.
  1. Remember that your partner is responding to his or her own thoughts, as well as to your suggestions.  Even after an appropriate pre-hypnotic talk has been given which is designed to allay any misconceptions about the nature of a hypnotic experience, there could be many individualized reasons for your partner not being able to "get into it;" and if this should occur, the best way to find out if there is some specific obstacle is simply to ask.
  2. Remember that the ability to respond to suggestion is strongly influenced by the culture in which we live. Mesmerized subjects used to go into convulsions and faint in response to what they believed to be the power of  "animal magnetism;" but today we know that they were responding to the power of suggestion. Nowadays, some people who are experiencing hypnosis may behave like glassy-eyed zombies -- unless, of course, it is suggested that they will behave in a completely normal manner and act as if they were wide awake!  It was differences such as these which led T. R. Sarbin to define hypnosis as a social role which we accept and live out as part of our own personal reality, but which we would experience quite differently if the role were defined in a different manner. He wasn’t talking about some sort of pretense or play acting, of course, but the kind of socially agreed-upon reality which we experience every day, and which is at least in part defined by people’s beliefs and expectations -- such as the role of bride an groom at a wedding ceremony, or the role of mourner at a funeral, or the role of a person being cited for breaking a traffic ordinance.
  3. Remember that the ability to respond to suggesstion is also strongly influenced by the partner's own imagination. T. X. Barber has defined hypnotizability as "the ability to think along with and vividly imagine the instructions and suggestions one is given."  If you are able to lose yourself in watching a sunset, or the dying embers of a campfire, or listening to a song or the words of a poem, you already know what a hypnotic experience often feels like. Similarly, most of us are able to recall the experience of becoming so absorbed in our play when we were children that we did not hear our mother’s voice calling us in for dinner. (In adults, this is referred to as a negative auditory hallucination, and is regarded as an indication of deep hypnosis!) +Kelley Woods  has pointed out that little children usually have no trouble turning themselves into a monster or a fire engine. We don't learn to become good hypnotic responders, then, we un-learn it! All that your partner has to do in order to experience hypnosis is to be able tp let go and respond in a spontaneous, childlike manner which is different from the everyday, logical, practical state of mind in which we conduct most of our everyday lives.
With these three things to remember, if the thought should still come to mind that you are not any good at using the power of suggestion in order fo enable your partner to experience hypnosis -- forget it!   By chance alone, you could encounter three or four people in a row who happen to be on the low end of the bell-shaped curve which we find in most laboratory studies of suggestibility, though not necessarily in everyday life. However, you can always use a few "convincers" to persuade even low-responders that they too have been hypnotized, and they will usually respond better to whatever treatment is subsequently provided. (We may not be Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers, but most of us like to dance -- and most of us, with practice, can become pretty good at it!)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Differences Between Hypnosis, Meditation, Mindfulness, and Relaxation Training

In order to understand the alterations in experience which may be induced by hypnosis, meditation, mindfulnesss, and relaxation training, let's look at what it means to be conscious of oneself in the first place.

In the early years of the Twentieth Century, adherents of the school of psychology known as structuralism were attempting to discover the basic elements of consciousness by employing a method known as introspection.  This "looking inward" to identify the basic components of one's thoughts and feelings led to widespread disagreement among various investigators regarding just how many such elements of consciousness there actually were. The diffficulty, of course, lay in the fact that consciousness, like a mirror, tends to reflect back what is put into it; and if reading and speculation have led a person to surmise that a particular element exists in conscioiusness, as soon as one begins musingly to "look inward" to discover such an element, that element is likely to appear. The process is somewhat reminiscent of the game which Tolstoy and his brother used to play when they were children, which involved seeing how long they both could go without thinking of a white bear.

Since the perception of one's own awareness is, by definition, a subjective phenomenon, what is true regarding the perception of the elements of consciousness is also true regarding the experience of one's consciousness as a whole. In other words, tbe number of "altered states" (or, more accurately, altered experiences) of consciousness which may be induced by expressed or implied suggestion is probably equal to the number of such states or experiences which it is possible to conceive or to imagine; for each of these imagined definitions may be presented in the form of an induction procedure or similar ritual containing explicit or implicit suggerstions which will bring about such an experience in subjects who are sufficiently responsive and willing to comply. Thus, the suggestor is free to define the dimensions and experiential properties of a suggestion-induced "trance state" in practically any manner he or she may desire. Today, for example, we hear of hypnosis, meditation, mindfulness, relaxation training, mind control, ultra-height, autogentic training, suggestology, dianetics, and a host of other techniques too numerous to mention. Rather than concluding that these techniques are all variations of "hypnosis," it is more accurate to describe them as changes in perceived awareness which are brought about by means of suggestion, and which differ from hypnosis in the same way that they differ from each other: in the specific phenomenological content of the changes in perceived awareness which are either directly implied or suggested by the procedure which is utilized to bring about such changes, and hence, in the "feel" of the resulting subjective experience, and in the effect of that experience upon the subsequent thought and behavior of the person who undergoes it. A highly responsive hypnotic subject may feel as if he or she had been unconscious, for example, and report no memory of the events which transpired while supposedly under the influence of the "trance" (unless it has been suggested that one is not supposed to feel that way in hypnosis, or it has been specifically suggested during hypnosis that one will remember everything), whereas a student undergoing an advanced form of yogic training may feel as if he or she is merging with infinite reality!

An "induction procedure," then, is not some sort of mechanical process which one person "uses on" another to render the subject more compliant witb the will of the suggestor, as laymen occasionally tend to perceive it; and neither does it operate in some mysterious manner to open up a direct channel of communication with the "unconscous mind." It is, rather, a method of providing both the opportunity and the rationale for those who are able and willing to utilize their imagination in an "alice in wonderland" fashion to go ahead and do so. 

Rather than inquiring how many alterations in perceived awareness it is possible to produce by means of expressed or implied suggestison, or how one may go about measuring their purported "depth" -- which is, after all, pointless when one is dealing with subjective experiences for which new phenomenological dimensions can be invented, suggested, and consequently experienced by sufficiently responsive subjects virtually at will -- it is more appropriate to inquire how such experiences may best be defined and guided to fulfill their primary purpose which is to assist the subject in achieving an increased measure of self-awareness and self-control (Gibbons, 1979, pp. 15-17). The question then becomes, which of these techniques is best adapted for use with a particular individual, and in what form this procedure should best be tailored, for the enhancement of human potential, the ennoblement of the human spirit, and the fulfillment of human existence This is the question examined in the following video by Eckhart Tolle: