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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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 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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Friday, October 20, 2017

Can Suggestion Make You Fall in Love?

  


It wasn't always this beautiful! Professor Irving Singer, in a free online MIT course entitled, Philosophy of Love in the Western world, states that romantic love as we know it today was practically unheard of in Western culture until it became popularized by wandering French troubadors eight hundred years ago, and further amplified by the invention of the printing press, which publicized the great works of romantic literature such as Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra ("Hark! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Juliet is the Sun!" or,"Shall I abide in this dull world which , in thy absence, is no better than a stye?*).

With this model held up for all to see, the prevailing expectations of what it feels like to be "in love" evolved in an ever more extreme direction. For many years, one way to write a new hit song was to describe the experience of being in love in more glowing terms than the songs which were popular at the moment. The reviewer of the 1955 movie, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, writing in The Independent on February 8, 2010, stated: "Remember the lyric: 'Once, on a high and windy hill, two lovers kissed, and the world stood still. . . .' It still makes my knees weak."  Today, as products of a culture which glorifies romantic love, we tend to view human experience through these cultural lenses, and choose bits from history which confirm these stereotypes. However, anthropologists are fond of pointing out that after a few years, couples who marry for love are just about as happy as couples who tie the knot in cultures where marriages are arranged. 


The power of suggestion can do more than simply make you feel weak in the knees. In Victorian times, women were considered to be such delicate creatures that they were expected to faint if the air in a room suddenly became stuffy, or if they were suddenly and unexpectedly kissed by someone to whom they had become attracted -- and many did! 

The effect of suggestion and imitation in producing such a high degree of organismic involvement became more dramatically evident shortly after World War II, when the young crooner Frank Sinatra caused legions of teen-age "bobby-soxers" to swoon when he hit his high notes. It is therefore possible to conclude that the experience of "falling in love" as we know it today, and all that goes with it, is also an effect of social modeling and the power of suggestion. 


Suggestion has the power to teach behavior as well as to change it. In 1933, Herbert Blumer found that when moviegoing reached its height, many people said that they first learned how to kiss by watching motion pictures. Many people probably still pick up  a few pointers occasionally, both from motion pictures themselves and from many YouTube compilations.


Remember Romeo and Juliet, and Antony and Cleopatra? We now have searchable data bases of Internet pornography such as XNXX, YouPorn, and FetLife, which contain literally millions of items, and almost anyone in the world can upload to them. The entries are frequently ranked in terms of populatiry, so that the submissions which are viewed most often rise to the top. Some of these data bases require no fees, passwords, or proof of age, and are supported entirely by advertising.


Will today's teen-agers and young adults learn sexual behavior by watching porn, in much the same manner that people of earlier generations learned how  to kiss by watching motion pictures? If the past is any guide, it would not be unreasonable to expect that the almost unlimited access to free Internet pornography in the Twenty-First Century will enable imitation and the power of suggestion to modify the way couples both engage in and experience sexual behavior, in much the same way that the invention of the printing press centuries before influenced the manner in which people engage in and experience romantic love. This time, however, the changes will depend not upon the imagination of a few gifted writers and balladeers, but upon the pooled experience of the entire human race. 


If we are inded in the midst of such a profound cultural change, and if one picture is worth a thousand words, then to quote from the movie, All About Eve, "Hold on to your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night!" 

Having grown up in a culture which accepts the reality of romantic love, I believe that the emerging sub-culture of sexting and internet pornography has its priorities reversed. Magazines are full of pictures of women who could technically be described as beautiful. But beauty is "only skin deep," as my mother used to say. You do not love a woman becuse she is beautiful. A woman is beautiful because she is loved! When a woman is truly loved, physical beauty becomes irrelevant.-- and of course, similar sentiments can be expressed for men and for same-sex couples as well. 

Anthropologists frequently point out that a few years down the road, people who marry for romantic love are just about as happy or unhappy as a couple who ties the knot in a culture in which arranged marriages are the norm.  If you and your loved one have come to share experiences of rapture, ecstasy, wonder, and delight, only to return to a life of bills to pay, appointments to keep, and an endless list of other things which simply have to be done, the strength of your affection will eventually begin to wane, regardless of how dramatic the results might have been initially. If, on the other hand, you return to an environment in which romance comes ahead of everything else, and the first priority is the quality time you spend with each other, then the joys you share together can take on near-sacramental qualities as the couple consecrates itself to one another anew, and the honeymoon becomes a permanent way of life.


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Hyperempiria, or suggestion-enhanced experience, also plays a major role in events as varied as having an orgasm,  coming under the sway of a totalitarian dictator, being saved in a revival meeting,or experiencing the "sleeping" form of hypnosis,




Bibliography

Gibbons, D. E. (2000). Applied hypnosis and hyperempiria. Lincoln, NE: Authors Choice Press (originally published 1979 by 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. 267-291.



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

How to Use Mass Hypnosis

In the following video, Adolf Hitler certainly appears to have his audience hypnotized, judging from the way they eagerly clung to every word he said, even when he boasted to ihs cheering followers that he had eliminated every other political party in Germany. How was he able to get away with this? 

He certainly was not using hypnosis in the conventional sense of the word, but by redefining the consequences of World War 1 and the subsequent suffering of the German people, he could be said to be using suggestion enhanced experience, or hyperempiria.

Hitler used to claim that a big lie is believed more easily than a little one. He strung together a series of big lies aimed at convincing the average German that they were not defeated in World War 1, but instead they were stabbed in the back by a World Jewish conspiracy. This conspiracy was aimed  at making them suffer more than anyone else during the Depression in order to totally destroy their morale, because the Germans were actually a biologically superior race which was destined to rule the world. In order overcome the power of this worldwide conspiracy, all dissent must be eliminated and all power must be concentrated In the hands of a single man who would have the will to triumph over every obstacle, This, of course, was Hitler. Then, at the conclusion of the speech, Deputy F├║hrer Rudolf Hess drives home the point by triumphantly announcing that the Nazi Party is Hitler, and Hitler and Germany are one.

 And so it was that this experience of military defeat and seemingly endless suffering was reframed by byperempiric suggestion into a narrative in which God had sent Hitler to save Germany, and to establish the German people in their rightful place as masters of the world. But not everyone who uses mass hypnosis needs to string together a series of big lies. In the video depicting Marc Anthony's speech at the funeral of Julius Caesar, Shakespeare illustrates how suggestion enhanced experience may be used to reframe an event by a series of revealing truths, with a dramatic effect upon the crowd of mourners.


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Monday, October 16, 2017

Why Use Hyperempiria in the First Place?

There are literally hundreds of applications for hypnosis, and new ones are being found all the time. But why do we need to use hypnosis in the first place?
Evolution did not come to a screeching halt with the first bipeds who could accurately be labeled homo sapiens. We have been learning to use the powers of our human imagination in new and exciting  ways ever since. However, we frequently need to use the services of a hypnotist who can function as an enabler, coach, or personal trainer in order to show us how to use these emerging abilities with confidence, because they are frequently so different from  the current patterns of thought which we have grown accustomed to using in everyday life.
With over 97% of the same genetic material as our closest monkey cousins, the chimpanzees, we obviously have a long ways to go to be able to do all the things that our human brains have enabled us to want to do. It is indeed an honor to show people how to work more effectively with their emerging evolutionary potential, for they are truly "the bearers of the light" of future progress -- and we need to do more to let them know it, in order to counteract the occasional public relations nightmare which results from the occasional misuse of hypnosis in the hands of unscrupulous persons.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Did Shakespeare use Hypnosis or Hyperempiria?

In Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, after Caesar's supporters had murdered him in the fear that his power would become absolute, the populace was initially inclined to support the murderers. The funeral oration was delivered by Marc Antony, one of Caesar's few remaining supporters. In ten minutes, he had converted those in attendance into a howling mob bent on vengeance. 

Shakespeare did not have a certificate in hypnosis, He understood very well, however, how to compound conviction and emotion. But is this hypnosis, or is it hyperempiria (suggestion-enhanced esperience)?  As was asked earlier in the play in a different context, "To be or not to be, that is the question." Here's the scene. Judge for yourself. Finally, here's a kink to avideo of how mass hypnosis or hyperempiria was used in real life, in this case wirh disastrous consequences for all concerned.



Friday, October 13, 2017

How Fundamentalists Get to Heaven

(This posting is adapted from Gibbons, D. E., & De Jarnette, J. (1972) Hypnotic susceptibility and religious experience. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 11, pp. 152-166.)

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 had 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. (Gibbons & DeJarnette, 1972; Gibbons, 1988). After giving a questionnaire to our high and low responders on the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility (Shor & Orne, 1962) concerning the nature of their personal religious experiences, we 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. Compairing 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."


Hyperempiria, or suggestion-enhanced experience, also plays a significant role in experiences as varied as falling in love, having an orgasm, coming under the sway of a totalitarian dictator, or exploring an alternate universe.  

 Print References


Gibbons, D. E. (2001). Experience as an art form. New York, NY: Authors Choice Press.


Gibbons, D. E. (2000). Applied hypnosis and hyperempiria. Lincoln, NE: Authors Choice Press (originally published 1979 by Plenum Press). 

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

Gibbons, D. E. (1987, August). Were you saved or were you hypnotized? Paper presented at the joint conference of the American Humanist Association and the Humanist Association of Canada, Montreal. 


Gibbons, D. (1988, June). Hypnotic susceptibility and the salvation experience. Paper presented at the meeting of the International Society for Professional Hypnosis, Houston, TX. 


Gibbons, D. (1988, March). Were you saved or were you saved or were you hypnotized? Paper presented at the meeting of the International Society for Professional Hypnosis, Atlantic City, NJ. 


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


Sarbin, T. R. (1998) Believed-in Imaginings. New York: Barnes & Noble. 


Shor, R., & Orne, E. C. (1962). The Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting psychologists pres



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Helpful Links for Stress Management


Here is a list of links to some of the Blog entries which are most frequently used by my psychology clients. When you clck on a link and it takes you ro rhe Blog, just scroll down and the post that you have clicked on will come up first.. Then you can repeat this process for each additional link. If the links do not work on your computer or handheld, you can go to the blog address, www.hyperempiria.com, and enter them.

I hope you find them useful!

How to Avoid PTSD and Panic Attacks

How to Get a Good Night's Sleep

Emergency First Aid for Panic Attcks

How to Meditate Like an Expert Almost Anywhere

Is a Toxic Person Driving You into Therapy? 

How to Select and Strengthen Your Own Motives


How to Learn Self-Hypnosis at Home

How to Manage Stress Using the Best Me Technique

The Ultimate Cure for Existential Depression

False Beliefs that are Driving You Crazy

False Perceptions that are Driving You Crazy

Activities which Help You Get Off the Merry-Go-Round

Cognitive Behavioral Downloads for Clients and Therapists


When You're Just Too Depressed to DO Much

How to Eliminate Late-Night Snacking

How ro THINK Like a Thin Person

How to Control Pain and Suffering

How to Train Yourself Not to be Angry

Here is a link to a procedure which was recorded by my co-author, Kelley Woods. People who respond well to hypnosis can also use it to get a good night's sleep. http://virtualrealityhypnosis.org/journeytothemultiverse


How to Avoid PTSD and Panic Attacks


Ingrid Betncourt was a candidate for the presidency of Columbia when she was kidnapped by Rebel forces and held prisoner in the jungle for six years under extremely brutal conditions. In the following TED Talk with English subtitles, she tells the story of how she was able to resist her captors without being broken by them. She is obviously a mature and capable woman, and the manner in which she chose to view her circumstances can serve as a model for all of us as to how we can look at our environment positively, courageously, and optimistically when we are faced with a challenging environment so that we do not have to allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by forces which are outside of us.




Tuesday, October 3, 2017

HYPNOSIS Does NOT Exist -- but SUGGESTION DOES!

But O! Beamish nephew, beware of the day
If your Snark be a Boojum! for then
You will softly and silently vanish away
And never be met with again.
--Lewis Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark

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 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 from one to three high responders who obtain a perfect score of twelve on the test, one or two people at the low end 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 yielded a great deal of useful information about differences between high and low responders over the years. For example, I found that highly hypnotizable people convincingly reported having undergone a Fundamentalist experience of "Salvation," while low scorers did not (Gibbons & DeJarnette, 1972).

Now let's perform a thought experiment. Im
agine, if you will, that the Harvard Group Scale is being given to a class of introductory psychology students, when a person dressed in a police uniform bursts into the room and says in a loud, commanding voice, "There is an active shooter in the building. Everybody get under your desk and await further instructions!!"

Even if such an announcement is a hoax (i.e., a cleverly-designed suggestion) thought up by a disgruntled student 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 cower under their desks in a high state of emotion. What happened to the individual differences in suggestibility which the Harvard Group Scale was supposed to measure? They simply vanished, as everyone scrambled for shelter.


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.

Even though many useful applications have been found, suggestibility only appears to be a trait of personality, because our experiments are designed and carried out in a standardized group setting such as a classroom. But if a suggestion is believable enough, or if you modify the setting in which it is measured, as in the hypothetical example just mentioned, individual differences in responsiveness change dramatically or even disappear.

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).

You're hypnotized if you think you are!! I use hypnotic inductions every day in order to facilitate the acceptance of subsequent suggestions, which are then accepted more easily because they have become more credible.I
f the enabling suggestion d oes not come from accepting the belief that you have been hypnotized, it can come from the fact that the suggestions of a performer such as Kreskin have been made sufficiently credible through his reputation as a successful entertainer, thereby enabling him to specifically repudiate the use of hypnosis,, as illustrated in the video below:



But why do we need inductions, or the assurances of a charismatic entertainer, before we can make the fullest use of our imaginative abilities? The answer is easy. Evolution dfd not come to a screeching halt with the first furless biped who could definitively be labeled homo sapiens was born. We have been developing our imagination in new and exciting ways ever since. But the imaginatively gifted among us usually need an "enabler" to allow us to use these emerging imaginative abilities with confidence, because they re so different from the ways in which we customarily think. Kreskin is an "enabler," just as a hypnotic induction is an "enabler." it's as simple as that. 
Since I don't have the kind of stage presence that would enable me to do without them, and since i need to use suggestion for more than falling into or jumping out of chairs, as Kreskin does, I use hypnotic inductions in my psychology practice almost every day and use the term as casually as anyone else (Gibbbons & Lynn, 2008), even though there is as yet no reliable, generally-accepted evidence that hypnosis is a separate physiological state of the organism, in the way that sleep, fainting, coma, and shock are separate states. 
The "snark" of hypnosis may indeed be a "boojum" of the active imagination, as the history of hypnosis will also dramatically show.. But far from "vanishing away," mental health professionals who employ hypnosis have an ever-growing number of clients and are continually finding new applications for it. Once our clients have accepted the suggestion that their consciousness is functioning differently, we can provide them with a wide array of additional suggestions to enhance the ongoimg narrative of their daily lives (de Rivera & Sarbin, 1998).

References
de Rivera, J., & Sarbin, T. R. (eds.) (1998). Believed-in imaginings: The narrative construction of reality (memory, trauma, dissociation, and hypnosis). Washington, DC: American Psychological association.

Gibbons, D., & DeJarnette, J. (1972). Hypnotic susceptibility and religious experience. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 11, 152‑166.

Gibbons, D. E., & Lynn, S. J. (2008). 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.

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.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Hypnosis, Murder, and the Power of Suggestion

Hypnosis doesn't make us any more virtuous 
than we already are!.
The possibility of using hypnosis to commit a crime has long been the object of speculation, some of which is humorous and some which is deadly serious. Here's an example of how society teaches that there is a penalty if you violate a moral code -- specifically, the prohibition against using hypnosis to commit a murder. (The possibility that you could is taken for granted.) In the following cartoon, Wylie E. Coyote decides to do just that. Notice how he helplessly glances at the audience once he realize his impending demise as the result of his actions.


video

Is it really possible to commit a crime such as murder by means of hypnosis?  


In one well-known laboratory experiment, subjects were hypnotized and told to throw acid in the face of the experimenter (who was protected by invisible glass), to pick up poisonous snakes (which were actually harmless), and to shoot the experimenter with a gun (which had been loaded with blanks). A significant minority of the hypnotized volunteers complied. A few years later, however, the experiment was repeated, using both hypnotized subjects and a control group of subjects who were not hypnotized -- and about the same number responded, whether hypnotized or not!


Hypnotists often tend to pay too much attention to the specific suggestions they have given instead of the total situation of what is going on. For example, imagine that you are a student in introductory psychology, taught by Prof. Snarf, who asks for volunteers in a psychological experiment. You accept the invitation, and are given a hypnotic induction, followed by the instructions to pick up a beaker of acid and hurl it in the experimenter's face, to pick up poisonous snakes, or to shoot the experimenter with a supposedly loaded gun. Would you  really believe that a reputable scientist would let you commit a murder as part of a psychological experiment? Or would you be inclined to believe that because you are ordered to do these ridiculous things there must be a reason for it other than the one that was given, so you might as well go ahead and do as you are told? Some people, at least, choose the second option (Sarbin & De Rivera, 1998), 
Dr. Martin Orne coined the term demand characteristics to refer to this tendency of a subject in an experiment to act in the way that the subject thinks one is supposed to behave, rather than simply reacting to the instructions in themselves.

But there is another factor at work. Research by Milgram (1965) on the effects of obedience, revealed that about a third of his experimental of subjects were willing to turn a dial which purportedly increased the voltage of an electric shock to the point that it appears that they are administering a potentially lethal dose. The implication (which seems to be borne out by history, from Stalin to Hitler to Saddam Hussein and many others) is that an evil "authority" can sometimes seize control of a society and find enough followers who are willing to obey orders that they can keep the rest of the population under control.

Most of us would agree that a hypnotic induction does not make us any more virtuous than we were before. Obeying a command to perform an immoral act after an induction has been given, therefore, is likely to have been brought about by the fact that the hypnotist was perceived as a sufficiently credible authority figure to absolve people of legal and moral responsibility for their actions, as was the case with the compliant subjects in Milgram's experiments, or the willing henchmen of tyrants throughout history. 


See also: 
Is Hypnosis Dangerous? Some Hypnotists Are!


Print References

Milgram, S. (1965) Liberating effects of group pressure. Journal of personality and social psychology2, pp. 127-134.


Milgram, S. (1983) Obedience to authority. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.


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.


How to Meditate Like an Expert almost Anywhere



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. Here are the instructions:

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 for their own sake.

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Ultimate Cure for Existential Depression

An existential depression is not caused by a chemical imbalance in the nervous system, but instead it is the result of a disaster in your personal life. This kind of depression is best dealt with not by medication, but by finding a sense of meaning in life. As Nietzche put it, "He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how."

Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist who was interned in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. He experienced the tortures and depravities first-hand, and he was a keen observer of everything around him. He recorded his experiences in his book, Man's Search for Meaning, which is now in its third edition and has sold over two million copies. 

In his book, Frankl recalled that on one particularly bad day, a list of "crimes" was announced which would be punishable by immediate death by hanging. These included cutting your blankets into ankle supports because, due to insufficient food, your ankles were too weak to stand on by themselves. Then, a couple of hours later, it was announced that two potatoes had been stolen from the camp kitchen. If the culprits were not immediately handed over to the tender mercies of the SS guards, the whole camp would starve for the day, Since they were starving anyway, the whole camp preferred to fast.

That evening, as the prisoners lay in their huts, the lights went out. For many, this seemed to be the last straw. As they lay there in total darkness, his Senior Block Warden asked Frankl to give them a talk to lift their spirits up. God knows, Frankl wrote, he was in no shape to cheer up anyone else. But he knew he had to say something. He began by noting that the real reason people were dying all around them was not their poor living conditions, horrible as they were, but giving up hope. Even in this Europe in the sixth winter of the Second World War, he continued, everyone could find some reason for hope. He frankly admitted that he estimated his own chances of survival at about one in twenty. Friends, family, careers, could all be restored, and one could suddenly be transferred to a camp with unusually good working conditions, for this was the luck of the prisoner.

When the lights came on again, it was obvious that he had struck a responsive chord. People were limping towards him to shake his hand. Later, when he was liberated from the camp and re-opened his private practice, Frankl realized that in everyday life as well as in a concentration camp, when people gave up hope they were much more ready to die before their time. Instead of seeking pleasure, as Freud would have it, Frankl asserted that the most powerful motivating force in humans is the need to find meaning in life

The evidence for the importance of meaning in our existence s clear, once we begin to look for it. World renowned physicisr Stephen Hawking, for example, was only expected to live a short time after he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease in his youth.However, he is still busy in his seventies, lecturing to large audiences about the cosmos, even though his illness has progressed to the point that he can obly move one muscle in his cheek and must use a special device in order to speak. In the video below, Hawking has laboriously be composed his answers ahead of time, despitee the impression of spontaneity. For Hawking, and for the rest of us, meaningfulness is the ultimate remedy for anxiety and depression, and the utimate meaning of his existence, as it is for the rest of us -- or as he put it,, "Look at the stars, not at your feet.!"




But what about the rest of us? The following video by Emily Esfahani Smith Describes how to find mining and purpose in an existence which is not marked by tragedy.














Friday, September 29, 2017

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 of Mistress Lisa carefully, within a fraction of a second after she completes her induction, you will catch her throwing her head back and with a momentary gleam of triumph on 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. 

These videos are obviously not illegal, and not very many people have complained about them, or YouTube would have closed them down years ago. In addition to YouTube, you can enter the words "mistress" or goddess" on Facebook, or at 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, hypnoslave.com. devoted to the hypnotic enslavement of women. 

What are the psychological motives behind these practices? Are they ethical, are they dangerous, or merely harmless role playing? Do they benefit or damage their willing devotees, and if so, how?  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?


Why are there so many more men than women looking for this type of satisfaction? Although there are documented instances of famous seducers such as Rasputin, who have taken advantagr of women in repressed societies whose motives have been ambivalent because of cultural differences in the way men and women are raised in that society, if a woman wants to dedicate herself completely to a man who only occasionally shows any concern for her, she probably will have little trouble finding one. 

See also: Can Hypnosis CREATE a "Master and Slave" Relationship?

References

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

De Rivera, J., & Sarbin, T. R. (eds.) (1998). Believed-in imaginings: The narrative construction of reality (memory, trauma, dissociation, and hypnosis). Washington, DC: American Psychological association.
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Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Law of Attraction is FATALLY FLAWED!

The central theme of the book, "The Secret," is that we create our own reality by "the law of attraction." If we send forth positive thoughts, then we attract positive events to us; and if we send forth negative thoughts, then we attract negative events.

If we really do create our own reality by sending forth positive or negative thoughts, then this effect should be apparent not only in individuals, but also in groups, in historical trends, and in society as a whole. Therefore, we should be able to examine the validity of "the law of attraction" by examining the degree to which it operates in these other areas of experience. But does it?

I have listed below some comments which my friend Roy Hunter reports as having been made to individuals who are suffering from cancer and other maladies which should also operate according to "the law of attraction," and taken the liberty of constructing a reply to them.   
  • What did you do to attract cancer in the first place? What about all those people who get cancer because they are living in an area where there is a high level of carcinogens in the environment?
  • You have a disease consciousness. The Black Death killed between 75 and 200 million people, between 1348 and 1350. What could all those people have been thinking that caused such a plague to so suddenly descend upon them?
  • You must have a karmic debt to pay off.  If you have read The Diary of Anne Frank, you will have a good idea of the kind of person she was. Now consider the fate of Ann and others like her as they lay covered with lice and dying of hypothermia in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. What did they do to bring this upon  themselves?
  • Why can’t you create enough faith to be healed? Age is a wasting disease. And the survival rate for this particular disease is zero. Has anybody crated enough faith to get out of that one?
  • Don’t you know smoking will kill you? With 99% of the same genes as our closest simian cousins, the chimpanzees, and over a century of experimental research to back them up, most psychologists agree that short-term pleasure is often more important than long-term consequences in determining our behavior, particularly when it comes to matters of addiction.
  • Fat people are out of control. An African journalist recently stated that her greatest surprise in coming to the United States was to discover that in America, thin people are rich and fat people are poor, since in her own country the reverse is true. If this is the case, how can weight be a function of one's personal discipline rather than one's culture?
  • You have a poverty consciousness. The CIA World Factbook lists the United States as twelfth in per capita income, behind such nations as Norway and Hong Kong, yet most Americans are inclined to think of themselves as the richest nation in the world. If we create our own reality, why are we not in first place?
  • "Get out of the victim trap!" Try telling the survivors of Stalinist tyranny who were imprisoned in Siberia that they shouldn't have been thinking so negatively about their situation that it caused them to end up there.
  • Why did you create this problem? The CIA World Factbook lists the United States as fifteehth from the top in infant mortality compared with other nations. Explain to the parents of the babies who died because they were not given better medical care what they or their children did to create this problem.
  • What is God punishing you for?  If God is keeping quiet about His reasons, then what is the point of punishment?
  • If “The Secret” is not working for you, then you must be doing something wrong.  Maybe so!  On a recent radio interview show featuring a leading theoretical physicist who was commenting upon the latest discoveries in his field, a questioner asked him about the "law of attraction." He forcefully criticized the promulgators of this belief for misleading people, and assured the caller that the universe simply does not work that way. Perhaps what people who subscribe to this false doctrine are "doing wrong" is believing in "The Secret" in the first place!
Of course there can be negative and self-destructive attitudes within the personality which interfere with the successful accomplishment of a goal, and which contribute to the development of psychosomatic conditions. But their causes and effects are well-documented in the American Psychiatric Association's       m m m m m m mmm  mDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and have nothing to do with "The Secret!"

A more disciplined, scientific investigation of psychic abilities is the subject of ongoing research by the Parapsychological Association.  "an international professional organization of scientists and scholars engaged in the study of psi (or 'psychic') experiences, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition.  The primary objective of the PA is to achieve a scientific understanding of these experiences."

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Don't Pay Through the Nose for information!

How will we know when we are on the right track In assisting our clients? In the words of +Michael Ellner, "The path that the people who beat the odds take does not seem to be as important as the way they walk the path that they have chosen. This is based on extensive experience assisting people with life-threatening diseases and conditions and assisting people living with medically unexplained syndromes and symptoms like chronic pain, FMS, IBS and CFS. What they do — does not seem to be as important as how they do what they do… The people who do what they do with a happy heart, peaceful mind and playful spirit seem to have the best outcomes regardless of what they are doing."

And how can therapists help them to get that way? Irving Yalom, famous for his group work, said, "It's the relationship that heals. It's the relationship that heals. It's the relationship that heals. My professional rosary." As witch doctors and medicine men have known since the dawn of pre-history, If you construct an ideology that people accept, and if you relate well enough to your clients to get them to the point that Ellner just described, it doesn't matter much what you do. Regardless of whether or not the Academic community points out that there is no scientific support for your claims , you will still be regarded in some quarters as a success. In reality, however, there is no need to spend hundreds of dollars a workshop which is primarily intended to whet your appetite tp sign up for the next one in the series, in order to eventually qualify for a pricey "certificate" which has no legal standing, and no meaning to people who have not themselves embarked on a similar training quest .

"Your Withdrawals Happily Accepted!"
Many people spend a great deal of time and money going from workshop to workshop, either to perfect their therapeutic techniques or to experience the latest trends in psychotherapy for themselves, when the success of a therapeutic intervention actually depends more on the client than it does on them. Since most of these highly-touted and pricey procedures work at least some of the time, this creates a "partial reinforcement effect" which causes people to try even more advanced workshops, in the hope that they will eventually get it perfect -- in the same way that a laboratory rat who is only rewarded occasionally will work even harder than one that is rewarded all the time. 

 It looks impressive, of course, if there is a certificate on the wall stating that you have been certified by the Great Poo-Bah or Swami Rama-Ding-a-Ling (and preferably both!). But most of us are probably not going to know who they are. In addition, empirical research has confirmed that while psychotherapy in general is effective, the relationship between therapist and client is a more important contributor to a successful outcome than whether the degree on the wall (if there is one!) indicates that the therapist has completed a Bachelor's, Master's, or Doctoral program, or the particular field in which the degree happens to be granted, or the theoretical orientation of the therapist. As Irving Yalom famously said, "It's the relationship that heals. It's the relationship that heals. It's the relationship that heals. My professional rosary!"  

With the coming of the Internet, we are going through an information revolution which is more far-reaching in its implications than the ones which occurred when steam power replaced the horse, and electricity replaced steam. I am not arguing against continuing our professional education; but one thing ought to be clear when our nearest google prompt is a lot closer and cheapter than our nearest ATM prompt. Don't pay through the nose for information! The totem poles are on fire!