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.


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Saturday, March 28, 2020

A One-Minute Meditation for the Management of Chronic Pain

The world is too much with us, late and soon.
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.
==William Wordsworth, 1807
By experiencing one minute a day of mindfulness meditation some significant changes can occur in your life, because the effects begin to multiply as the one minute meditations become a more frequent part of your life. You will feel more calm, resilient, creative, clearer thinking, focused and peaceful without detatching yourself from liife or interfering with other activities., When combined with other applications, for example,  meditation can be helpful in the management of chronic pain.

You can do this one minute meditation with eyes closed or eyes open. If you choose to have your eyes open in the beginning, I suggest you focus your eyes on something that has little meaning such as a doorknob or a speck of dust on the floor. If you are driving, you can use stopping for a red light as a cue to practice your one minute meditation by focusing on the red light until it changes.

Your focus of attention during the meditation is the experience of your breathing in and out. You will focus on some aspect of your breathing that feels natural to you, such as your chest moving, the feeling of air moving through your nose or mouth, your belly moving, your shoulders moving, or any aspect of breath that feels comfortable and natural. As you breathe out, relax any lightness in your body. During the one minute you will likely experience your mind having shifted from focusing on your breath to focusing on something else such as your thoughts, images, feelings, sensations, memories, conversations, movements, and/or other things. You may suddenly notice sounds you had not noticed before. You may find yourself reviewing conversations that you had earlier, or you may find yourself solving problems that you have been working on,or you may notice tensions in your body that come into awareness. When you notice that your awareness and attention have shifted away from your breath, you will mindfully, gently, calmly, and peacefully return your attention to your breath, just noticing the distraction without pushing it away or taking it in, or evaluating, judging, or getting involved in the distraction. Just gently and lovingly return your attention to your breath. You may find yourself doing this from 10 to 100 times during your one minute meditation. Eventually you will find that your "meditation muscle" gets stronger and there are fewer distractions. The distractions are normal and are part of the nature of our minds. Thoughts are like clouds in the sky. If you just notice them without trying to push them away or analyze them, they usually just pass away. The mindfulness practice will eventually bring you more peace, compassion, joy and calm for yourself and for others. 

Don't expect immediate results. The purpose of meditation is not to turn you into master overnight. Meditation works best when it is done for its own sake, without becoming attached to results.


Multiversal Meditation and Narrative Therapy

Life is like a tale. It is not how long it is, but how good it is that matters.

Most people are familiar with Charles Dickens' story, A Christmas Carol, in which the miserly Scrooge is visited by three spirits who frighten him into becoming a lovable old man who "knew how to keep Christmas better than anyone." If  Dickens had written this story in the 21st century instead of the 19th, Scrooge would probably have made three visits to an experiential hypnotist. But, in light of our current understanding or motivation, instead of "scaring the Dickens" out of him, the hypnotist would have used reward rather than fear as an incentive.

When hypnosis clients are facing challenges for which they are not emotionally prepared, we can provide them with corrective experiences in a parallel universe which are meaningful enough to change their ongoing life narrative in this one. Regardless of whether or not these parallel universes actually do exist, all that is necessary to change the  narrative of a person's life is to believe that they exist, so that this belief can serve as a catalyst for productive change.. For example, I was once working with a client who was going through several  stresses at the same time. She had lost her job, she was separated from her husband, and she was being evicted from her apartment because she was ubahke to pay the rent  She was an excellent amateur gymnast, however, and she would probably have had great success if her family had the means to allow her to compete at the national and international level.

She responded extremely well to hypnosis. To boost her confidence and self esteem, I suggested that she would experience the thrill, the exertion, and the triumph of winning an Olympic competition in a parallel universe, and of having the gold medal hung around her neck at the end of the ceremony. At the conclusion of the session, she opened her eyes, obviously thrilled to the core, and exclaimed, "Wow! I just won a gold medal!"

We chatted for a while, and I jokingly mentioned that I should adopt the motto for our practice that some dance studios use, posting a sign outside which read, "Walk in, dance out." To my surprise, as I watched her leave the office and walk down the hallway to the door at the far end, she was dancing!

She later told me that she had no more difficulties in facing her current stressors with resolution and courage. Just as the three spirits had done for Scrooge in Dickens' story, suggestion-enhanced experience had changed the ongoing narrative of her life.

Now, imagine the changes in one's life narrative which might ensue if a person we're able to repeatedly experience the fulfillment of one''s existence by dissolving into an ocean of infinite, unbounded love at the center of the Multiverse itself!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Differences Between Hypnosis, Mindfulness, Multiversal Meditation, and Relaxation Training

In order to understand the alterations in experience which may be induced by suggestion, let us 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 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.

I prefer to use the term multiversal meditation instead of hypnosis in order to avoid the outmoded, Nineteenth-Century, Svengali-like stereotypes of dominance and submission which continue to be asssociated with the concept of hypnosis in some quarters, and the occasional public relations nightmare which occasionally erupts when fantasies of seduction under hypnosis are acted out by both hypnotist and subject.  Multiversal meditation also allows us to adopt an experiential approach which incorporates concepts borrowed from modern physics.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

What is Hyperempiria?

As I have stated elsewhere, evolution did not come to a screeching halt with the first bipeds who could accurately be labeled homo sapiens. We have been developing the powers of the mind in new and exciting ways ever since. However, the more highly evolved among us frequently need the services of a hypnotist to function as an enabler, coach, or personal trainer to show us how to use these emerging abilities with confidence, because they are so different from the current patterns of thought which we are used to in everyday life

Confucius said, “Tell me and I may not remember. Show me and I may forget. Involve me and I will understand.” This type of stress can best be counteracted by the type of hypnotic involvement which allows us to experience first-hand a reality in which all the negative things that ever happened have been paved over with joy, and bring the lessons of these experiences back with us.

There are many altered experiences of consciousness which are induced by procedures designed to increase tension, alertness, and physical activity rather than by expressed or implied suggestions of diminished awareness which are commonly grouped under the term hypnosis. Banyai and Hilgard (1976) specifically mention the 'spontaneous' trance states occurring during certain religious gatherings among the Holy Rollers, Snake Charmers, and other revivalist groups (Sargant, 1957, Williams, 1958). Comparable results are found during tribal ceremonies (Field, 1960; Murphy, 1964), in the famous trance-dances in Bali (Sargant, 1957), the fire-walkers trance (Thomas, 1934), and the ecstatic trance of the "howling or "whirling" dervishes (Williams, 1958). In the more advanced cultures highly suggestible mental states have been produced by grilling or brainwashing (Sargant, 1957), and a hyper kinetic trance appears to be associated with the emotional contagion encountered in a group or mob setting (LaBarre, 1962).

Banyai and Hilgard went on to describe a now-classic experiment in which 50 subjects rode a bicycle ergometer under load, keeping their eyes open while exercising and receiving suggestions of alertness. This was randomly alternated with a standard hypnotic induction procedure using eye fixation and relaxation, and the results were measured by eight tests of responses to suggestion. Both conditions, on average, produced about the same increase in responsiveness to suggestion, and the highly susceptible subjects reported that in both cases altered states were achieved. The authors concluded,"The results obtained in the experiment suggest that by our completely active-alert hypnotic induction procedure it is possible to induce a state in which all the important characteristics of hypnosis occur, except the resemblance to sleep .. . .Although the subjective alterations differed between the two kinds of induction, the highly susceptible reported that in both cases altered states were achieved" (p, 221).

When the Hare Krishna movement was at its height in the United States, we invited the group to present at our graduate psychology colloquium at West Georgia College. Their presentation included a group chant, which began calmly enough; but after a few moments, the room seemed to explode with emotion as their chant reached a crescendo which continued for several minutes. It was obvious that the participants had entered an experiential trance which, according to their own statements, was both the focus and the energizing force which empowered their movement.

Most of us are also familiar with the details of the Mesmeric "crises," and how they resulted in either temporary or permanent "cures" of many ailments which today we would refer to as psychosomatic or hysterical in nature.

I conducted some research which links being exponentially gifted with the ability to experience the Fundamentalist experience of "salvation", which many people describe as a life-changing event (Gibbons, 1988; Gibbons & DeJarnette, 1972). Hyperempiria,or suggestion-enhanced experience, has also been found to be helpful in facilitating meditation and prayer, and for such diverse experiences as the alleviation of depression and the enhancement of personal intimacy through experiences of mystical intensity. Most recently, Kelley Woods and I have been using hyperempiria as the induction of choice to conduct people to the Multiverse (Gibbons & Woods, 2016).


Banyai, E. I., & Hilgard, E. R. (1976). A comparison of active-alert hypnotic induction with traditional relaxation induction. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 85,pp. 218-224
Field, M.Search for security: An ethnopsychialric study of rural Ghana.Evanston, Il: Northwestern University Press, 1960.

Gibbons, D. E. (1988) Were you saved or were you hypnotized?The Humanist, pp. 17-19.

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.

LaBarre, W. They shall take up serpents. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1 9 6 2.

Murphy, J. Psychotherapeutic aspects of shamanism on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. in A. Kiev (Ed.),Magic, Faith, and Healing.New York: Free Press of Glencoe, 1964.

Sargent, W.Battle for the Mind.Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1957.
Thomas, E. The fire walk. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research,1934.42,292-309.

Williams, G. W. Hypnosis in perspective. In L. M. LeCron (Ed.), Experimental Hypnosis. New York: Macmillan, 1958.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Hypnotic Mistrsses, Goddesses, and Those who Worship Them

I recently ran across a video on YouTube by "Mistress Lisa," which has been viewed over one and one half million times:

If you watch the tape carefully, within a fraction of a second after she completes her induction, you will catch her quickly throwing her head back with a momentary gleam of triumph in her eyes. There is trouble brewing in paradise! Although she herself does not appear to have followed up on it, there are many other postings of female hypnotists, hypnotic mistresses, goddesses, and seductresses, some of whom merely provide constructive suggestions of well-being, and some of whom seem to be seeking the worshipful adoration of male (and occasionally, female) worshippers who appear to be all too willing to turn their lives and worldly goods over to them. What in the world is going on? 

These videos are obviously not illegal, and not very many people have complained about them, or they would have been closed down years ago. You can enter the words "mistress" or goddess" on Facebook, You Tube, or a Google prompt, and simply follow the links for an in-depth introduction to dozens, and possibly hundreds, of other mistresses and goddesses of varying methods and temperaments. However, I found only one Website,devoted to the hypnotic enslavement of women. 

What are the psychological motives behind these practices? Are they dangerous, or merely harmless role playing? Some parents view their children not as individuals to be loved and encouraged to develop their own lives, but as extensions of themselves, whose purpose in life is to flatter the parents' ego. They selectively withdraw love until the child, desperate for affection and totally dependent on the rejecting parent, will do almost anything to get it (Forward, 1989). The parent or parents may also act seductively, and even sexually molest the child in order to gratify their own needs, because "babies don't tell."

As adults, we often tend to re-create an approximation of the family environment in which we were raised. Is it any wonder, then, that some men long for a relationship with a woman whom they can worship as a goddess if this is the kind of mother they had, who is alternately seductive, punitive, and distant and rejecting? But w
hy are so many more men than women looking for this type of satisfaction? 

There are a few documented instances of male seducers such as Rasputin, who have taken advantage of women in repressed societies who could not admit their secret longings, even to themselves. if, on the other hand. a woman  in our present-day culture wants to dedicate herself completely to a man who only occasionally shows any concern for her, she probably will have little trouble finding one. 


Forward, S. (1989). Toxic parents: overcoming their lethal legacy and reclaiming your life. New York: Bantam.