Don E. Gibbons, Ph.D., NJ Licensed Psychologist #03513
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The New Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy, LLC, is located at 675 Route 72 E Manahawkin, NJ 08050. Telephone us at(609)709-2043 and (609) 709-0009.Take Mill Creek Road South, just off Route 72, on the road to Beach Haven West.After about 400 feet, turn right into the office complex of Greater Coastal Realty. Then turn right and go past the Lyceum Gyn. Continue on to the Prudential Zack Building. We. are the last office at the end. We accept Medicare and most other major insurance.Weekend and evening office hours are avalable.

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Psychology Behind Donald Trump's Continuing Popularity

In view of the recent indictments of  an organized Russian group working to influence U.S. elections in favor of Donald Trump, and the disclosures of his recent affairs with Playboy and porn stars, many of my psychology clients have been asking whether or not Donald Trump's success might be due to his using  hyperempiria, or NLP, especially because his major sources of support seem to be Fundamentalist Christians. Whenever you use "alternative facts" in place of the real ones, as his advisor Kellyann Conway recently admitted, it is an attempt to harness the power of suggestion. But if no induction is used and if the situation is not defined as hypnosis, why is it still sometimes effective?

A recent article in Psychology Today stated that half of all Americans couldn't come up with a sudden demand for $450 in a crisis. Although Trump may be unwittingly using some techniques which are commonly referred to in lay hypnosis circles as NLP or neuro-linguistic programming, almost everyone now agrees that there are a lot of angry voters out there. on both the right and the left, who supported Trump because they feel that the system has failed them (see below).

My wife grew up in New Jersey, and I have lived here for 25 years. We have read the first-hand newspaper accounts of how Trump has bankrupted several casinos and walked away with millions, paid his workers sub-standard wages, and stiffed his contractors by paying them much less than they were actually owed. Beneath his outward bluster lies a narcissistic personality disorder with antisocial traits, but don't just take my word for it. Here's a link to a story in The Independent which bears the headline, "Donald Trump has Dangerous Mental Illness, say Psychiatry Experts at Yale Conference." (His recent psychiatric examination was not a test for personality disorders.)

The biggest tragedy of all is that people often tend to make up their minds based on emotions rather than  facts, and hear what they want to hear. Trump's base has shrunken only slightly, but All we have to do in order to set things right is to stop ignoring the problems that are making people "mad as Hell." This is not as difficult as it may appear. There are a lot of people who stayed home last time because they didn't like either candidate and are now as energized as a space probe. It will become increasingly difficult for special interest groups to persuade them either not to vote at all, or to vote against their own best interests. The following video, by former Republican columnist George F. Will, and the one which directly follows it after it has stopped playing, directly examines the question as to whether or not it is in the best interests of the Republicans who elected him to continue their support:

Is President Trump using hypnosis, hyperempi4ia, or NLP, then? In my opinion, he has a narcissistic personality disorder. But he still knows how to energize his base, or at least his extremely Conservative advisers do. The resulting backlash against this form of right-wing Republicanism may last for generations, but as a nation we have survived much worse. We survived the Civil War and the Great Depression, and we will survive Trump too, regardless of whether or not he is impeached and removed from office.  Our days of world leadership, however, have been dealt a severe blow  -- although many people overseas will say that this is not such a bad thing, as long as we don't all end up speaking Russian or Chinese.

Давайте, до свидания! 



Saturday, February 10, 2018

How Eistentiall Hypnosis Shaped My Life

I used to think that my interest in hypnosis sprang from the fact that I "hit it just right" in my mid teens with the first person I ever hypnotized, a skeptical seventh grader. But why had I already been reading books on hypnosis, and how did I know enough to hypnotize him in the first place?

Now, I recall that when I was four years old, I developed a potentially life-threatening throat and ear infection which, in those days before antibiotics, required me to remain in bed for six months. In order to quiet my restlessness, my mother read to me each day for several hours, until her throat was sore. At that age, it did not matter how often I had heard a particular story before, I was still clamoring to hear it again. Although my mother did notrealize it at the time, she was placing me in a trance-like state as she endlessly read to me from Grimm's Fairy Tales, A Child's Garden of Verse, and similar childhood classics to keep me quet.

By the time I rhad tecovered from my infection, I was acutely aware of the power of words to transcend reality, even if I was too young to verbalize it; and many decades were to pass before I could have a hand in relating it to others  (see Gibbons & Lynn, 2008).

As far as individuals are concerned, hypnosis is essentially an artistic medium which is dependent for its effectiveness upon the personality and circumstances of each client we encounter, exactly as it had been with me as a child. The narratives I was told in hypnosis, such as the parable of the hare and the tortoise, and the little engine that could, enabled me to complete the long trek to the Ph.D.(de Rivera & Sarbin, 1998) in spite of setbacks too numerous to mention 


Gibbons, D. E., & Lynn, S. J. (2008). Hyonotic inductions: A primer. In Ruhe, J. W., Lynn, S. J., & Kirsch, I. (Eds.) Handbook of clinical hypnosis, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Assn.

de Rivera, Joseph & Sarbin, T. R. (Eds.) (1998). Believed-in imaginings: The narrative construction of reality. Washington, DC: American Psychological Assn.,

Friday, February 9, 2018

What is Hypnosis?

Some people grow up never knowing that they are color blind. They have to take a test similar to the following samples from the Ishihara Color Blindness Test in order to find out. They are shown a series of plates which are carefully constructed so that regardless of what color they aree,  the same of amount of light is reflected from each of the tiles of which they are composed.  Some the tiles that are of different colors than the others are arranged in the form of numbers.  Between twelve and twenty percent of the white male population, and a tiny fraction of females will not be able to see any numbers in the plates reproduced below. Can you

Why is such a test necessary? Because color-blind people believe that they are no different than anybody else, this causes them to operate in a "cultural trance" in which they gloss over very real differences in their experiential abilities.

A hypnotic induction and deepening procedure may be thought of as  a "hypno-blindness test." A certain percentage of the population, more imaginatively gifted than the rest, is naturally capable of visual and auditory hallucinations, insensitivity to pain, and all of the other phenomena that we associate with high hypnotizability.  But, like those who grow up never knowing that they are color blind until they are tested for it, these experientially gifted individuals also operate in a cultural trance which causes them to feel that they are no different than anybody else, and which makes them gloss over real differences in their experiential abilities until they are tested.

What does hypnosis do to change things? A recent thread on a hypnosis discussion forum asked people to describe the most unique induction they knew, After the obviously humorous ones were removed, the only thing the remaining ones appeared to have in common was that they were all suggesting or implying that the subject's consciousness was beginning to function differently. And what does that accomplish? When a hypnotist suggests that someone's consciousness is beginning to function differently, this removes their cultural blinders and, if they are sufficiently able and willing, frees them up to use their imagination in what to the rest of us appears to be an "Alice-in-Wonderland" fashion.

Exceptions do occur, of course, when the cultural blinders are ineffetive, and people manifest hypnotic-like behavior without an induction. But, without social validation for our perceptions, we are usually quite hesitant about appearing to be very much different from those around us. As I have stated elsewhere, if I were to walk up to an imaginatively gifted person, ask him to close his eyes, and suggest, with no previous induction, that by the time I got to the count of five he could open his eyes and see me dressed in a Santa Claus suit and hat, he would usually think that I was crazy. And if such a suggestion should actually happen to work, he would probably think that he was crazy! But if I first suggested that he was "going into hypnosis," using some sort of an induction proxedure to make such a sufggestion sufficiently plausible,then he can use the power of his imagination to do whatever he or she is able and willing to do with these abilities until the session is concluded by suggesting that he is no longer hypnotized.

It has been said that the organisms most frequently experimented on are the laboratory rat and the college sophomore, because they are the most available to academic researchers. The differences in hypnotic responsiveness I have just referred to are reliably obtained when data are gathered under standardized testing conditions such as a college classroom.

The Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility, Form A (Shor & Orne, 1962) is modeled after the experimental approach originally begun by Clark Hull (1933). It contains a script consisting of a light hypnotic induction, followed by a list of twelve suggestions in increasing order of difficulty, from "easy" ones which almost anyone can pass, to more difficult items such as the inability to shake one's head "no" when challenged, or amnesia for most of the test items until after a prearranged signal has been given. Since its initial publication in 1962, the test has been used in dozens of studies all over the world, in order to give us a greater understanding of individual differences in suggestibility.

In a typical administration, in a class setting of about thirty people, there are there are from one to three high responders who obtain a perfect score of twelve on the test, one or two people who are just sitting there with their eyes open, looking around the room with a mixture of curiosity and boredom, and the rest manifesting varying degrees of responsiveness in between. Data of this type have been gathered by now at many colleges and universities around the world, and has yielded a great deal of useful information about differences between high and low responders. (I have collected some of it myself.)

Now let's perform a thought experiment. I would like to ask you to imagine that the Harvard Group Scale is being given to a class of introductory psychology students at the American University of Beirut, let us say, when a person dressed in a police uniform bursts into the room and says in a loud, commanding voice, "The city is under biological attack, and a germ cloud is headed this way. Take refuge in the basement immediately and await further instructions!"

Even if such an announcement is a hoax (i.e., a cleverly-designed suggestion) thought up by a dissident student organization to disrupt the orderly running of campus activities, if it were to be conducted in a sufficiently convincing manner, everyone in the class -- including the instructor -- would probably dash for the exits and head for the nearest underground shelter. What happeed to the individual differences in suggestibility which the Harvard Group Scale was supposed to measure? They simply vanished, as everyone took flight!

A high degree of responsiveness to the impostor's suggestions would occur regardless of how an individual student might have scored on the suggestibility test which was currently underway. Notice also that the subjects would probably have been totally involved in the content of the impostor's suggestions: trembling, feeling frightened, weeping, crying out in alarm, and so on. In human society, suggestion appears to be causally related to experiences as diverse as falling in love,coming under the sway of a totalitarian dictator,being saved in a revival meeting,or turning into an animal (transmogrification),as practiced in Native American culture. Individual differences in responsiveness, if they exist. do not seem to attract much attention.,

Hypnotizability, however, does seem to be related to suggestibility as it is measured on the Harvard Group Scale. But even here, if the standardized testing conditions are departed from. individual differences seem to vanish or be considerably diminished. Many practicing hypnotists will assure you that in clinical settings, these measured differences are less than reliable. Once their doubts and fears have been eliminated by an appropriate pre-hypnotic talk, some people respond to hypnosis poorly, most people respond to some extent, and a few others respond extremely well. A number of techniques have been developed to "hypnotize the un-hypnotizable" by convincing the low-responders that they too have been hypnotized.When this is done, they not only respond better on suggestibility tests then those who have not accepted this idea, but they also respond better in therapy (Lynn & Kirsch, 2006).

Regardless of whether the induction takes you up, down, or sideways, you're hypnotized if you think you are!  I use this kind of suggestion-enhanced experience in my psychology practice every day in order to facilitate the acceptance of subsequent therapeutic suggestions which are accepted more easily because the induction has made them more credible..
Print References
Hull, C. (1933). Hypnosis and Suggestibility. New York: Appleton-Century.

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

Lynn, S. J., & Kirsch, I. (2006).Essentials of clinical hypnosis: An evidence-based approach.Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.