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.

Translations Available

This blog is now available in several dozen languages. By entering the name of the desired language in the box which appears in the space below, any page you visit will have been automatically translated into the language you have selected. You can scroll down to view the most recent entries in chronological order, or you can view the most popular entries in the column on the right. By scrolling down the right-hand column, you can also see a list of all the previous entries.

Translate

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.

Search This Blog

Sunday, February 9, 2020

What Can We Learn from Turning a Hypnotized Person into a Chicken?

"Help! m a student in Dr. Gibbons' Psychology class!"

When I opened my psychology practice in New Jersey, my first hypnosis client asked me, "You aren't going to turn me into a chicken, are you?"

"No," I replied with a smile,  "That's for stage hypnotists." But I did once. And this experience has taught me more about the true nature of hypnosis than I have learned from any other single source!


Several years previously
, when I was discussing the topic of hypnosis in an Introductory psychology class, I asked a student who had previously shown herself to be adept at hypnosis if she would be willing to help me illustrate how easy it was to turn a hypnotized person into a chicken. She readily agreed (perhaps because I was pointedly looking in her direction when I asked the question!). 

After hypnotizing her, I told her that I would count backwards from ten to one, and that at the count of one she would have been turned into a chicken.

"You will always be able to hear and respond to my voice," I continued, "and I will return you to your normal state in a few minutes, before I bring you out of hypnosis. But until I do, you will experience the world exactly as if you had been turned into a chicken. You will remember everything I have said, and it will be a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Okay?"


She nodded in agreement, and I counted slowly backwards from ten to one, providing suggestions along the way that she could feel herself changing into a chicken; and at the count of one, I announced that she had become a chicken. "Would you like to open your eyes and walk around a bit?" I asked. She did so, walking slowly as I took hold of her elbow. "Why are you walking like that?" I asked.


"I'm a chicken," she answered in a high, cackly voice, much to the amusement of the class.


I guided her back to her desk, counted from one to ten to restore her usual perceptions, and then concluded the hypnotic demonstration. I then asked her if she had really felt like she was a chicken, and she 
thoughtfully nodded in agreement. 

If she had really believed that she was a chicken, why didn't she scurry away in fear as soon as I approached her? Why did she allow me to slowly walk her around the room, limping slightly instead of struggling to get away, as a real chicken would surely do? Why was she able to understand my spoken question? How was she able to answer it by saying, "I'm a chicken?" And why were the suggestions so easy to undo, as if she understood English as well as she ever did?

We could talk about a "hidden observer" that always knows what's going on and maintains control, no how matter deeply a person is hypnotized, as Hilgard (1974) did. We could talk about "trance logic," which is similar to the logic which is found in dreams, as Martin Orne (1959) did. But why should we infer the presence of extra mental processes such as these when they are not needed?


What she had actually believed and responded to was the narrative of what had taken place (Sarbin & de Rivera, 1998). She knew that she was a student in my class, and she knew that she had consented for me to hypnotize her. She was what Hilgard often referred to as a "hypnotic virtuoso." She still had the kind of "Alice-in-Wonderland" imagination which we all have as children, but most of us lose access to as we become adults. Therefore, she was able to act, think, and feel as if she were a chicken for the purpose of my demonstration when she volunteered to do so.  


The demonstration was undertaken in the spirit of fun, and everyone understood that. But the transformational effects of believed-in  imaginings can be powerful indeed if they are meaningful enough to alter the ongoing  narrative of a person's life story., as illustrated by the changed lives of many Fundamentalists who report an experience of having been "saved" (Gibbons & deJarnette, 1972).

  
If you can safely suggest that you are turning a hypnotized person into a chicken, why can't you safely tell hypnotized people that they are dissolving into the infinite love of the Multiverse, or the Creator Himself, and that this is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to them, so that they can get some good out of it?  You can --often with dramatic results, as I have  been doing for several years now.

Richard Nongard was right when he said that the future of hypnosis was so bright that he  needed shades. And I would like to respectfully suggest that perhaps he could aso use some sunscreen!

 References

Gibbons, D. E. & De Jarnette, J. (1972). Hypnotic susceptibility and religious experience. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 11(2), pp. 152-156. 

Gibbons, D. E., & Woods, K. T. (2016). Virtual reality hypnosis: Explorations in the Multiverse. Amazon Books 

Hilgard, E. R. (1974), Toward a neo-dissociation theory: Multiple cognitive controls in human functioning. Perspectives in Biology & Medicine, 17(3), pp, 301-316. Baltimore, Md: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Orne, M. T,  (1959), The nature of hypnosis: Artifact and essence. Journal of abnormal and social psychology,  psychnet.apa.org.


Sarbin, T. R., & De Rivera, J. (1998),  Believed-in imaginings: The Narrative Construction of Reality (Memory, Trauma, Dissociation, and Hypnosis) . Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.



No comments: