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, November 24, 2019

Eckhartian Therapy: Becoming Filled with the Spirit of God

Martha was a 50 year old insurance executive with three grown children. "In my large Irish family," she told me," "disagreements were handled in one of two ways, either by laughing at them or by ignoring them."  She dreaded the coming holidays and the rancorous family quarrels that would inevitably ensue around the dinner table.

Martha had recently celebrated her 15th year of sobriety, and had chosen to make Alcoholics Anonymous her substitute family.  She had come to view her husband, a Texas police official whom she saw only infrequently, as a confirmed narcissist. She had not seen him since he had demanded several months previously that she fly a set of business papers  directly to him instead of mailing them. 

She prayed frequently, and stated that this gave her some relief. In my clinical psychology practice, she  responded well to hypnotic voyages to the Multiverse, the Universe of all possible Universes (Gibbons & Woods, 2016), where she could feel herself herself dissolving ito the infinite love of the Multiverse itself as a means of overcoming the effect of previous environmental stressors. 
When I asked her about what this experience felt like, she commented afterwards that she thought that it was God. I asked if she would like to hypnotically experience an actual union with God Himself, and she unhesitatingly agreed. 

When we got to this portion of her Multiversal journey, I gave special emphasis to the suggestions that this was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened to her; and that it was as if all of the love, and all of the rapture that had ever been felt by all of the people who ever walked the face of the Earth were hers to enjoy and hers to be, now in these golden moments of delight. I usied suggestions for time distortion to further heighten their effectiveness, suggesting that even though she may actually have been hypnotized for only a few minutes, it would seem as if she had been away for an entire lifetime, and the benefits of herv hypnotic journey would be correspondingly increased  After the induction was completed, I emphatically observed "Well, I'll bet that family arguments can't bother you now!" She smiled blissfully, and nodded in agreement.

Meister Eckhart was a preacher in the 12th century who  taught that we should see ourselves as empty vessels waiting to be filled with the love of God. He was charged with heresy, since this would imply that there was another way to feel the love of God in addition to the sacraments; but he died before his trial could be completed. His work lived on, however; and his writings were praised by recent Popes. 

Since my training is in general experimental psychology, I have no way of knowing whether Martha was really in communication with the Divine. However, this is  the reality of her own personal experience and  this experience is having a positive effect upon her life, which is the goal of all successful psychotherapy. 

Reference

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

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

What GOOD is an Induction Procedure?

If, with no prior induction, I asked a highly suggestible person to close his eyes, and suggested that when he opened them he would see me dressed in a Santa Claus suit, he would surely think that. I was crazy. And if such a suggestion should happen to work, he would think that HE was crazy! But if I plausibly suggested that he was going into hypnosis, and THEN I suggested that when he opened his eyes he would see me wearing a Santa Claus suit, such a suggestion could be actualized much more easily because it has now been made much more credible. 

An induction procedure provides both the opportunity and the occasion for those who have the ability to use their imagination in ways which are dramatically at variance with everyday experience to go ahead and do so. Are there other ways to do this? Yes, by patient leading.  But permanent change, as we all know, is brought about by the degree to which the suggested changes are more effective in serving as a catalyst for change, and not by a particular induction 

There is an old Russian folk take about a boy who was afraid to go to school because  he had a large, ugly birthmark on his cheek. One day, his grandmother told him that this was a sign from God that he was destined for greatness. His fear vanished, and with his new-found confidence, he grew up, married, and had a family. He never achieved greatness, but he did live
 a happy life. And no induction was necessary!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

What does a Hypnotic Induction Accomplish?

In the early years of the 20th century, adherents of the school of psychology known as structuralism were attempting to discover the basic elements of consciousness by employing a method called introspection. This "looking inward" to identify the basic components of one's own thoughts and feelings led to a widespread disagreement among various investigators regarding just how many such elements of consciousness there actually were. The difficulty, of course, lay in the fact that consciousness, like a mirror, tends to reflect back what is put into it; and if one's reading and speculation have led a person to surmise that a particular element exists in consciousness, as soon as one begins musingly to look inward to discover such an element, that element is likely to be found. 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 elements of consciousness is also true regarding the experience of one's consciousness as a whole. In other words, the number of altered states -- or more accurately, altered experiences -- of consciousness which may be induced by 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 suggestions 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 or experiential properties of a suggestion-induced trance state in virtually any manner he or she desires. In recent years, we have frequently heard of meditation, mind control, autogenic 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 suggested changes in perceived awareness which are either directly suggested or implied by the procedure which is utilized to bring about such as changes, and hence, in the form of the resulting subjective experience of trance, and in the effect of that experience upon the subsequent thought and behavior of the subject to undergoes it. 

Highly responsive hypnotic subjects may feel as if they have been unconscious, for example, and report that they remember nothing of the events which have transpired while supposedly under the influence of the trance unless they have been previously told that they were not supposed to feel that way in hypnosis or it has been specifically suggested to them that they 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 with 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 "unconscious 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. Modern-day practitioners of the ancient art of suggestion are finding an ever-growing range of application for such techniques, in part because their essential nature is now more clearly understood. If imagination is responsible for what is often referred to as hypnotic phenomena, then it should be clear to all that the true potential of the human imagination has scarcely been tapped. Rather than inquiring how many alterations in perceived awareness it is possible to induce by means of suggestion, or how one might go about measuring their relative 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 modified and guided to fulfill their primary purpose, which is to assist the participant to develop an increasd measure of awareness and self-control.

It is this shift from an active rational to a receptive imaginative orientation, legitimised by the acceptance of explicitly or implicitly communicated suggestions to the effect that one is now in an altered state of consciousness which is responsible for both the development of incongruous thought patterns and the phenomenon of rapport, or the tendency of subjects to focus their attention on the voice of the suggestor and on the phenomena the suggestion describes, often to the exclusion of other sensations -- including pain, if anesthesia is suggested or implied. If a dentist were merely to suggest to a patient that he or she would not experience any pain during a tooth extraction, for instance, with no anesthesia administered beforehand, it is not likely that such a suggestion would be effective by itself, regardless of how responsive to suggestion the patient happened to be. But if the dentist were first to suggest that the patient was entering a trance, and then he suggested that the patient would not feel pain, the latter suggestion could be actualized much more easily because then it would be much more credible.