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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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Were you Saved or Were You Hypnotized -- and What is the Difference?



According to Fundamentalist teaching, if you don't respond well to suggestion,
then you won't have a "Salvation" experience.
And if you don't have a "Salvation" experience,
then no matter what ELSE you do, you won't get into Heaven!

Carrollton, Georgia, is a small to medium-sized city located approximately fifty-five miles west of Atlanta. It is regarded by both students and townspeople as being part of the "Bible belt," and most (though certainly not all) of the churches in the area have a Fundamentalist Christian orientation. Fundamentalists take quite literally the scriptural statement, "For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2: 8-9). The "salvation sermon" first leads the prospective convert to feel the tremendous burden of guilt which one bears for one's past misdeeds and failure to repent; and this is followed by a great wave of joy as the convert feels his or her sins being "washed away" and is "born again" as a "new creature in Christ."

This salvation experience, however, is not considered to be voluntarily attainable, since it is the result of  "grace," or the unmerited favor of God. Should an individual seek to join a particular Fundamentalist congregation merely because one is convinced of the truth of Christian teachings, many members would be inclined to doubt that he or she is truly a member of the "elect of God" and, not being able to have such an experience, is probably fore-ordained to burn in Hell regardless of what kind of life one may be leading.


From a scientific point of view, it may be postulated that the degree to which an individual is able to have a salvation experience such as the one described is a function of the degree to which that person is suggestible, and that there is therefore a direct relationship between the ability to be "saved" and the ability to be hypnotized. After giving a questionnaire to high and low responders on the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility (Shor & Orne, 1962) concerning the nature of their personal religious experiences, De Jarnette and I (Gibbons & De Jarnette, 1972) found  that there was no significant relationship between hypnotic susceptibility and a previous change in denominational preference, or between susceptibility and the perceived religiousness of one's father. However, the low-susceptible subjects were less likely to perceive their mother as being moderately religious or deeply religious. Comparing high- and low-susceptible "saved" Protestants with high- and low-susceptible "unsaved" Protestants, the "saved" group contained significantly more subjects who were highly susceptible to hypnosis. 
In follow-up interviews, the reasons for the differences between high and low-suggestible subjects became glaringly apparent. The high susceptibles said things like, "I began to feel a warm tingling glow inside of me. The next thing I knew, I was down in front of the altar, and I was crying," or, "It was like the Hand of God came down and touched me. I felt so happy. I never felt joy like I felt it that day." But when the few low-susceptibles who indicated that they had been "saved" were asked about their experience, they said things like, "I had been going to that church for about six months, mainly because my girl friend went there, but I never 'went forward.' Then one day the preacher accepted all those who had accepted the Lord to put up our hands, and we both put our hands up and that was it." 

If relatively enduring changes in personality and behavior can result from the suggestions contained in a "salvation sermon," then people who respond well to suggestion should also be able to experience such changes in response to strongly worded suggestions in therapeutic settings. After taking my hypnosis clients "down" into hypnosis and then :up" into hyperempiria (Gibbons & Lynn, 2010) and dissolving them into the infinite love of the Multiverse, the universe of all possible universes (Gibbons & Woods, 2016), fundamental changes in deep-seated beliefs concerning the self, the world, and the future which are the professed aim of cognitive psychology (Beck, Rush, Shaw, & Emery, 1979) can sometimes occur in a single session, occasionally accompanied by tears of joy, as was the case with a high school senior whom I hypnotized a few days ago.  after taking her in hypnosis to the multiverse, I told her with considerable elaboration that she was dissolving into the infinite love of the multiverse itself  When she emerged from hypnosis, she expressed surprise that she found herself wiping tears from her eyes. The next time I  saw her, she told me that she wanted to pursue a college degree in hypnosis; and after I told her that no such program existed and we had discussed the situation she decided to major in social work instead..

 In summary, people who respond well to suggestion and are ready for a meaningful life change which is in accordance with their preexisting beliefs and values may find that either  a salvation sermon or a hypnotic trip to the Multiverse can provide the catalyst for such a transformational change to take place.

References

Beck, A. T., Rush, A. J., Shaw, B. F., & Emery, G. (1979). Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford.


Gibbons, D. E. & De Jarnette, J. (1972). Hypnotic susceptibility and religious experience. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 11I2), pp. 152-156. 

Gibbons, D. E., & Lynn, S. J. (2010). Hypnotic inductions: A primer. In Ruhe, J. W., 
Lynn, S. J., & Kirsch, I. (Eds.) Handbook of Clinical Hypnosis, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Assn.

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

Shor, R. E. & Orne, E. C. (1962) Harvard group scale of hypnotic susceptibility, Form A. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.


  

Monday, August 26, 2019

How to Get a Good Night's Sleep

Don't just toss and turn in bed
when you are having trouble sleeping.
Get up and do something Boring!

When I was working in the New Jersey State Prison system, each of us in the Psych Department had to meet with one group of prisoners per week to teach a class in "sleep hygiene," because as you might imagine, it's easy to get your days and nights mixed up in there. We were able to trade notes freely among each other, and over time we accumulated quite a bit of useful information which I'd like to share with you.

The most important thing keeping people awake at night is probably worrisome thoughts. The following video by Eckhard Tolle shows how to turn them off.




Here are some other things that will help.
  •  Make sure you get enough daylight so that your body will be able to establish a daily wake-sleep rhythm. 
    • Some people have found commercially-available light boxes to be helpful, especially if you live in a location where there is less sunlight during certain seasons of the year. This lack of sunlight can lead to a condition known as seasonal affective disorder  (more popularly known as "cabin fever"), characterized by periods of depression and interference with regular sleep patterns.
  • Keep the bedroom dark and quiet. Darkness causes the body to produce melatonin, a natural sleep-inducing agent.
  • Your body remembers what it feels like as you are falling asleep, but the memory is stored directly in your muscles. Get into a comfortable position and bring that memory back into conscious awareness. Hold  onto it, and let it fill your mind completely..
  • Don't play on the smartphone, the computer, or watch television. They all give off light which suppresses the melatonin in your system and overstimulates the brain,    
  • Most people need between seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Trying to get by on less than this biologically-determined amount builds up a sleep debt which  cuts into your well-being and efficiency, and becomes harder and harder to repay.
  • Establish a consistent sleeping schedule. People tend to become sleepy 24 hours after they last went to sleep, and awaken 24 hours after they last woke up. Significant changes in either time -- especially shift work schedules which frequently change -- disrupt the sleep-wake cycle.
  • If your sleep is troubled by nightmares, or if you have personal problems which prevent you from getting the sleep you need, you may want to consider seeking professional assistance.
  • Have a set ritual before going to bed. 
  • Limit the amount of food you eat for the last two hours before you go to bed.
  • Limit your daily use of caffeine, or eliminate it entirely.  One cup of coffee or tea is probably okay to get you going in the morning, but using coffee or tea, or other drinks which are high in caffeine throughout the day only makes it harder to repay your sleep debt.
  • Exercise regularly, preferably in the morning. .
  • If possible, adopt a life style which reduces your total amount of stress.
  • While most of us prefer not to use prescribed sleep medications, millions of people do use them regularly without ill effects. Melatonin, the favorite of many, is available without prescription. Others prefer nutraceuticals such as St. John's Wort.
  • We frequently do not notice the "aches and pains" in our bodies because we have grown so used to them, but they can still interfere with our sleep.  Many prople find that taking a couple of aspirin, ibuprophin, or Tylenol work well, before going to bed, particularly when they do not wish to feel groggy from sleep medication the next day. 
  • Perhaps most importantly, use the bed only for sleeping and for sex. Instead of tossing and turning, get up and do something boring until you get sleepy. This helps you to avoid a conditioned association between not sleeping and being in bed.
  • If it takes you a while to get back to sleep after getting up to use the bathroom, consider allowing yourself an extra hour or so in bed so that you can still get all the sleep that you need. 


Sunday, August 11, 2019

How Many Altered States of Consciousness Exist?

In the early years of the Twentieth Century, many psychologists were inspired by the discovery in chemistry that all matter could be reduced to certain basic elements. Since the purpose of consciousness was to allow us to experience the real world, they reasoned that it should be possible analyze the contents of consciousness into its own basic elements. This "mental chemistry" was given the name structuralism; and various groups of structuralists began their research, using a method called introspection, or "looking inward," a trained analysis of one's own thoughts and feelings, to see just how many basic elements of awareness exist.. However, the various groups of researchers could not come to a general agreement regarding how many elements of consciousness there actually were. One group claimed that they could find fourteen, another forty-three, and so on. The problem lay in the fact that consciousness is like a mirror. It reflects back what is put into it. The entire process is reminiscent of the game that Tolstoy and his brothers used to play when they were children, which involved trying to see how long each one could go without thinking of a white bear. (Try it!) 

There are probably as many altered experiences of consciousness as it is possible to conceive or to imagine; for each of these imagined definitions may be written up in the form of an induction procedure and presented to a sufficiently imaginative hypnosis partner, and that is exactly how he or she is going to experience a change in the perception of his or her awareness.

My evidence for this assertion  is hyperempiria. I did not wait for another historical accident to come along, as was the case when mesmerism morphed into hypnotism in response to people imitating the behavior of the retarded Victor Emmanuel, who was too  stupid to know that he was supposed to go into hypnosis and went to sleep instead: I simply made it up! I gave the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility to of Hypnotic Susceptibility to two groups of introductory psychology students, one of which was first  given a standard hypnotic induction and the other was given a hyperempiric induction based upon suggestions of increased awareness. Both groups showed a significant increase in suggestibility, but the two groups did not significantly different from each other. (Gibbons, 197 ).I currently prefer to use both inductions in tandem, first taking clients "down" into hypnosis and then "up" into hyperempiria (Gibbons &Lynn, 2010) before providing meaningful experiences of life-changing intensity in the mulriverse (Gibbons & Woods, 2016).\\

If the number of suggestion-induced altered states of consciousness is indeed unlimited, as it appears to be, given the ease with which such suggested experiences may be constructed, the only question which we need to ask ourselves is how can we define these experiences in a manner which is the most useful for the task at hand, forr the enhancement of human potential, the ennoblement of the human spirit, and the fulfillment of human existence.

References
                                      
Gibbons, D. E. (1979). Applied hypnosis and hyperempiria. New York: 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. 267-29

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








Saturday, August 10, 2019

How to Have an Indomitable Will




For centuries, Determinists have been saying that human beings are not free because, although we make choices in accordance with our motives, we do not choose the motives themselves.. Now, we can!

Whenever we have a long-term goal, its rewards are in the future. We attempt to bridge this gap between present efforts and future sources of satisfaction by daydreaming, autosuggestion, "positive thinking," affirmations, visualization, and fantasy techniques. However, these often don't help as much as we need them to, because they don't do enough to involve our whole person in the satisfactions of goal attainment. Eventually, even though our long-term goal remains as attractive as ever, our motivation begins to falter, and sooner or later we give up. If the gap between our aspirations and what we are able to do involves the attainment of a major life goal, such as obtaining a college degree or becoming financially secure, the gap between what we aspire to and what we have actually achieved can often be great enough to cause a full-blown existential depression.

In the following video, the renowned physicist Professor Michio Kaku states that modern physics has finally ended the free will debate, because quantum physics at the sub-atomic level is fundamentally random.


Many modern physicists, prof. Kaku among them, also believe that since there is an infinite number of possibilities for any given outcome, then somewhere In the Multiverse -- the Universe of all possible Universes -- you are already living in a parallel lifetime in which you have achieved your goal and are basking in its rewards. 

By using the technique of mindful hypnosis developed by Kelley Woods and Michael Ellner to project your imagination into a parallel Universe where your goal has already been achieved, you can pre-experience the rewards of this goal with your entire being in hypnosis. This in turn can provide the motivational fuel to continue to pursue the goal you have chosen, no matter how distant or difficult that goal might otherwise appear (Gibbons & Woods, 2016).

The incentive value of mindful hypnosis can be further enhanced by pre-experiencing the rewarding outcomes of other situations related to the goal, such as celebrating at a graduation party with friends and family, or relaxing on the deck of a cruise ship on a much-deserved vacation after a long-desired degree is actually in hand. 

The Importance of Sub-Goals

Lao Tzu said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." About thirty percent of all the graduate students who have to write a dissertation as the final step in attaining their doctorate fail to do so. This is frequently because, when they think of a dissertation as a book-length project, the task looks too formidable and too difficult. But if they can break the job down into meaningful sub-goals, and experience a feeling of achievement when each of these steps is attained, it doesn't matter how long the journey is because they have learned to reward themselves at the completion of each small step.

Benjamin Franklin took Lao Tsu's observation to its ultimate conclusion using deductive logic. If you break your goal down into a sub-goal for each year, and then break each yearly sub-goal down into a sub-goal for each month, and then break each monthly sub-goal down into weekly sub-goals, and construct your daily intentions from there, you're on your way!

Kelley Woods commented, ". . .I've started teaching clients to use Mindful Hypnosis for a few minutes a day, several times a day, focusing on their chosen intention of the day. They are seeing the compounded results of having done this after as little as a week of practice." 

When there is no clearly-identified goal upon which to focus, or when existing goals are not desired strongly enough to fully motivate a person to achieve them, suggestions can be given to increase the enjoyment of goal attainment in general.

A Word of Caution

Of course, we must still be able to give up on goals which are really not worth pursuing, no mater how attractive they may seem at first, in order to protect ourselves from our own mistakes in judgment. The world is full of people who want to become a success as writers, actors, sports heroes, and a host of other things, but are simply not cut out for that kind of work. As we develop the ability to choose our motives as well as our goals, i.e., to have free will in the truest sense of the term, it is up to each of us to decide how practical or how idealistic we want to be.

The hypnoverse of all possible experiences which may be brought about by means of hypnosis is only theoretically unlimited, as is the multiverse of experiences which constitute our daily lives. But the circumstances in which we presently find ourselves are fixed; and to successfully blend the former into the latter, we must consider the point from which we start. Here is Steve Lynn's excellent summary of how they work together, followed by an illustration of their application in everyday life.. His first sentences deal with the structure of the hypnoverse, and the final sentence refers to their application in the multiverse from which we start.
 . . .how clients respond to suggestions depends less on the nature and success of a particular induction than on the following variables: (a) clients' prehypnotic attitudes, beliefs, intentions, and expectations about hypnosis; (b) their ability to think, fantasize, and absorb themselves in suggestions; (c) their ability to form a trusting relationship with the hypnotist; (d) their ability to interpret suggestions appropriately and view their responses as successful; (e) their ability to discern task demands and cues; (f) their ongoing interaction with the hypnotist; and (g) the appropriateness of the therapeutic methods and suggestions to treating the presenting problem. . . . Accordingly, clinicians should devise inductions and suggestions with these variables in mind and tailor their approach to the unique personal characteristics and agenda of each client they encounter" (Gibbons & Lynn, 2010, p. 289). 
Case Illustration

 A nurse I used to work with in a screening center asked me to hypnotize her to stop smoking, which I was happy to do. She mentioned that one of her high school teachers used to hypnotize her regularly (apparently as a demonstration subject in his classes), so it was clear that she was imaginatively gifted. 

We didn't have time for the usual stop-smoking program that I use, with three visits and all the rest. But, knowing her as I did, it was clear that if she was ready to stop she was going to do so, with hypnosis providing the necessary catalyst regardless of the time and format which were available to us -- so I just gave her the usual stop-smoking suggestions, with the usual repetition and elaboration. As I recall, I told her that her desire to smoke would vanish, that the cues which would normally awaken a desire to smoke would no longer be effective in doing so; that she could not be suddenly surprised by taking a cigarette without thinking of it and, using the BEST ME technique, I projected her awareness In the future to enable her to feel strong feelings of pride, achievement, and accomplishment at the fact that she had become a non-smoker, 

To my consternation, the next day, when I asked her how she had done, and she told me that she had gone home and smoked an entire pack of cigarettes! But six months later, when I casually mentioned something about her smoking, she told me, "Oh, I haven't smoked since the time you hypnotized me."`


"But didn't you go home and smoke up a whole pack?" I asked her.

"Yes," she replied. "And then I stopped."


Having worked side by side on the same unit with her for quite some time, I realized why she had responded the way she did. Her approach to authority was basically confrontational. In her everyday work environment, she made it obvious to everyone around her that, "Nobody's going to tell ME what to do!" So, when I gave her suggestions under hypnosis that she was going to stop smoking, her life narrative required that she had to first go home and deliberately smoke up a whole pack just to prove that I wasn't telling HER what to do. Then, once she had made the point to her own satisfaction, she could comply with my suggestions because she finally had the will to change -- as soon as she was willing to use it!



References

Gibbons, D. E., & Lynn, S. J. (2010). Hypnotic inductions: A primer. In Ruhe, J. W., Lynn, S. J., & Kirsch, I. (Eds.) Handbook of clinical hypnosis, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Assn.


 
  






Mindful Hypnotic Meditation for Re-Energizing a Mystical Exprience

People of many different religious traditions have attested to the life changing potential of metaphysical experiences involving the experience of contact with a consciousness beyond one's own However, in this culture, people who have had this type of experience often don't talk about it because others may simply dismiss them as being a crackpot. When such a history is present, however, it can serve as a focus for completely re-framing one's view of the self, the world, and the future, which is the professed aim of cognitive-behavioral psychology and much easier to accomplish.

A 58 year old retired English teacher and mother of five grown children who recently had been divorced after a marriage of forty years came to me for help with depression. She was spending the greater part of each day in bed, with the blankets drawn up over her head. She was taking antidepressants, but they did not seem to help. She responded well to hypnosis; and early in the course of therapy, she mentioned that when she was about sixteen, she had a spontaneous mystical experience: "I could step beyond the ordinary world of reality, and I felt totally loved." I asked her if she would like to revisit this mystical experience as a way of getting over her depression, and she immediately agreed.

I told her that for best results, it would help if she were to recapture her mystical experience with the same life-changing intensity that she had experienced it the first time. She readily agreed to this also. Pulling out all the stops in order to evoke an experience of life-changing intensity, I hypnotically  guided her to the Multiverse  (Gibbons & Woods, 2016) and suggested suggested that we were reaching down into her vast, untapped potential for feeling happiness and joy. This potential for happiness and joy was flowing out from the innermost depths of her being in many different ways and on many different levels, like water from a hundred secret springs. As these feelings continued to flow without limit, they were healing and cleansing every muscle and fiber and nerve of her body, driving out all of the worry, and all of the stress, and all of the care that she had ever felt, and leaving her glowing from head to toe with such an intensity of happiness that she could not bear it if she were not hypnotized.

She remained outwardly impassive as I continued in this vein, emphasizing that this happiness was greater and more intense than anything she had ever hoped for, dreamed of, longed for, or imagined, I suggested that when she returned from hypnosis, she would not be able to bring all of this intensity back with her, because it would be more than she could bear in the everyday state of consciousness in which we live and move and have our being. But nevertheless, it would transform her life, and turn each new day into a thing of wondrous beauty.

Her depression lifted within two more sessions. Because she was a Buddhist, it was easy to frame her mystical experience as evidence that true happiness comes from within. She no longer remains in bed all day, and frequently goes out to go shopping, play cards or to visit with friends. Her demeanor is pleasant, relaxed, and cheerful. She is continuing to come in for monthly sessions in order to keep her orientation focused on the positive aspects of life, and as a means of continuing her personal and spiritual development.

The client's youngest daughter, who has had a great many personal difficulties of her own, has recently moved in with her. Even though she frequently serves as a lightning rod for her daughter's wrath, the client has remained impassive, and has managed to maintain a generally congenial relationship with her (when the daughter is on speaking terms!)

Reference