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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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

How to Control Pain and Suffering

By heightening and enhancing our internal
states, we can learn to manage
the experience of pain.
As Susan French has pointed out, ". . .everything that we do [as hypnotists] has to do with directing attention from thoughts and perceptions that have negative effects to more positive states and perceptions. What results is not only changing a habit of thinking but creates the release of brain/body chemicals that support the state where the attention rests." By heightening and enhancing our internal states, we can have experiences which we are not capable of in everyday life, but which are just as "real" to us -- if not more so -- than if they were, with predictable effects on our personal lives.

I recently had a client who suffered from chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder from a near-fatal automobile accident. He had been prescribed several pain medications, which were not always effective. I saw him weekly at his home. I used a traditional hypnotic induction, using suggestions of deep-muscle relaxation, followed by repeated deepening combined with suggestions of anesthesia and well-being, with post-hypnotic suggestions that the effects would continue. I also taught him self-hypnosis in order to prolong the effects of these suggestions between visits. He reported generally good results with these procedures, but he still needed his prescription medication. Even then, he stated that the inductions were sometimes not completely effective in removing all of his discomfort.

One day, his wife said to me, "We sure could have used you last week, Doc. Nothing seems to be working, and the pain is as bad as ever." I knew I had to devise an especially effective induction, so I told them about hyperempiria, indicating (as a "waking suggestion") that was a new and especially powerful technique which would enable him to experience higher states of awareness while his body remained asleep, thereby focusing his mind more effectively on the suggestions I provided. He was interested, and eager to try any new procedure which might bring about greater relief.

As the induction proceeded, I asked him him to picture himself relaxing deeply in the basket of a large balloon, which was about to lift off. As the balloon began straining at the ropes which held it, his body was sinking deeper and deeper into a deep, sound sleep. And as the balloon began to rise, his consciousness would rise along with it, until he entered hyperempiria. I elaborated upon this combined induction until he appeared to become highly involved with my suggestions, and then proceeded with my suggestions for healing and pain control.

The client later reported that his pain had considerably lessened. I showed him how to include autosuggestions for heightened awareness into his self-hypnosis routine, and his wife subsequently told me, "I often see him going upstairs in the middle of the day, and when I ask him where he is going, he tells me, 'I'm going for a balloon ride!'

The client and his wife have remained in occasional contact. In our most recent telephone conversation, two years after hyperempiric suggestions were incorporated into his self-hypnosis routine, the client reported that although some pain sensations remained after taking his medication, the combination of prescribed medication plus hypnotic and hyperempiric suggestions together provided the greatest amount of relief.

Here are seven things you should know about pain science.

Sarah Grabke, in a posting on March 10, 2013, wrote a posting on pain control in her Blog, which is partially quoted here with permission:
Pain is a messenger. Normally it wants to tell us, "Take better care of yourself!" or "Change something! The way it is now is not good for you!" These are important signals, which shouldn't be ignored under any circumstances. This is why I suggest to everybody not to shut down all the pain. That's often not necessary anyway. We all can go on good with a certain amount of pain and ignore that. But please not for long! That would be unhealthy and unreasonable.A messenger wants to be heard and requires that something be done, changed. This should be respected under all circumstances! 
Hypnosis Salad is an organization which gives hypnosis seminars. On YouTube there's a video with Michael Watson, where he talks with lots of humor about an effective method of pain control which a friend of his used. Here are two of the main points in his video about pain: Pain is so uncontrollable because we think of it as uncontrollable, and, at the given moment, pain seems endless. 
The method Michael Watson describes is so simple and clever. You take the pain and turn it into a symbol (maybe also a color), and hold this symbol in your hand. Then you throw it into a bin, or flush it down the toilet, or whatever. Why is it a clever method? Well, by turning the pain into a symbol, you change the sensory perception. It's a feeling changed into something visual. By placing the symbol in your hand, it's away from its original place (Except it's a pain in the hand, of course. Although, Even if that's the case, it would be a change from a feeling in a part of the body to a symbol you can see and hold in the hand.) What did you do there? Taking control through giving a change of shape and location and change of sensory perception! The endlessness stops when we throw away the symbol. 
I personally placed a symbol in my hand only one or two times. What I do is my own variation, Let's assume it's a headache. I imagine it's a geometrical shape with edges or spikes, which could give me the kind of pain in my head that I have at the moment. Often it's something like a polygon or something thorny, A color may or may not come with the symbol for everyone. For me, the shape often comes with a sort of yellow or green. The color is there without me thinking about one. I keep the shape in my head and imagine it go change into a ball, A ball has no edges, so they can't cause pain. Because of Erickson, The color purple is special for me, and has a calming effect. So the ball turns purple. Often what I do is imagine my whole head in a light purple, transparent ball, Like my head is in a goldfish bowl,  
Simply by having to concentrate on something which you see in your head is distraction by itself and changes the intensity. One advice if you're working with colors too. Pick a color that's far enough away from the pain color. For example, if your color is blue purple will be rather close to that color One time I told my dad about this method, and he suggested to take the complimentary color. I never did that. I keep forgetting about it, because purple is my color of choice automatically, or sometimes blue. Also, one needs to know which color the complimentary color is. (Interestingly enough, it fits for me with yellow-green and purple already,) 
Like I said, you should keep a little bit of pain. It happens for me that at Be point I don't have to concentrate on the purple ball anymore, and I just keep doing what I do at that moment, The headache is gone by itself then, So it is often enough to make the pain less  but not delete it altogether, 
Print Sources 

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., & Lynn, S. J. (2010). Hypnotic inductions: A primer. in S. J. Lynn, J. W. Ruhe, & I. Kirsch (Eds.) Handbook of clinical hypnosis, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, pp. 267-291.


Monday, June 26, 2017

How to THINK Like a Thin Person

Most diets simply do not work for most people most of the time, because they have not learned to think like a thin person. After we have been on a diet for a while and lost some weight, our body reacts to the diet as if it were a famine. Our metabolism slows down, we stop losing. and eventually we begin to eat more, in order to return to what our body had previously considered as our "normal" weight. Here's how to break the cycle.

Cognitive-behavioral psychology is the study of the relationships between thinking, feeling, and behavior.  Unless we develop the habit of taking all three of these into account, in the same way that thin people habitually do, we will continue living on a perpetual yo-yo of dieting to lose weight and then gaining it back to the level that our body has become used to. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapists often use a form called a thought record in order to examine just what goes on in the mind when we make those habitual decisions that keep getting us into trouble by eating the wrong things. You can obtain them at You can make copies of their sample form for your own use by using the print command on your computer, and you can also obtain different versions of the thought record for a host of other purposes. In addition, they have a free online self-help course and other materials on how to use the thought record effectively.

Here's an example of one way that a thought record might be used to counteract one common stressful situation which causes people to consume too much food. Let's suppose you are putting in long hours and having to do more than your fair share at work because other people have been laid off, and your boss is driving you crazy. You start to gain weight because you have gotten into the habit of consoling yourself by eating too much, and then you cannot keep the weight off for the reasons just mentioned. The thought record first asks you a series of simple questions about the thoughts that occurred when you gave in to the temptation to overeat, asks you how appealing those thoughts were, and helps you to think of more appealing thoughts, as illustrated below.  

  • Where were you?   Watching television on the couch at home.
  • Emotion or feeling.  Fatigue. Lethargy. Craving for a snack.
  • Negative automatic thought.  I want to go to the kitchen and get some pretzels and beer.
  • Evidence that supports the thought.  I will enjoy them after a long hard day at work.
  • Evidence that does not support the thought.  I'm becoming a couch potato.
  • Alternative thought or autosuggestion. "I'll find other activities to enjoy.
  • Emotion or feeling. Relief (rating:60%); discomfort at having to get up (rating: 40%).  

  • Of course, you don't have to chronicle every decision this way in order to learn to think like a thin person. It only takes a few such exercises to the hang of it. But it is necessary to make a good beginning for cognitive-behavioral psychology to help you to keep your feet on the right path As Confucius said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!" 

     Print Sources

    Barlow, D. H. (2008). Clinical Handbook of Psychological Disorders: A Step-by-Step Treatment Manual, 5th ed. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

    Beck, J. S. (2008).  The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person. Birmingham, AL: Oxmoor House.  (Judith Beck is the daughter of Aaron T. Beck, the founder of cognitive-behavioral therapy, and one of its most widely respected leaders in her own right.) 

    Moss, M. (2013). Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.  New York, NY: Random House.



    Thursday, June 22, 2017

    Progressive Relaxation Hypnotic Induction and Deepening

    Assuming that you are already familiar with a standard progressive relaxation hypnotic induction and deepening, the following script may be read from your cell phone to keep you from losing your place as you improvise your delivery to suit the partner's responsiveness. I've been using progressive relaxation inductions for more years than most, and I still prefer to switch back and forth between the eloquence of a script and the informality of an improvised approach. This is especially useful when more complex scripts, such as
    Just imagine that it’s a nice, spring day, and that you’re lying on a soft woolen blanket, on a sandy beach, by the side of the ocean. If you accept each detail of the situation as I describe it, without trying to think critically, your imagination will be free to allow you to experience the situation just as if you were really there.
    I’m going to count from one to ten, and by the time I get to the count of ten, you’ll be resting comfortably in a deep, sound state of hypnosis. So just relax, and listen to my voice as I begin the count from one to ten.
    One . You can feel the warm sand beneath the blanket on which you're lying, and you can feel the gentle breeze blowing across your body, cooling you to just the right temperature, so that all you want to do is just keep drifting, and dreaming . . . and floating . . . on . . . and on . . . and on.
    Two . You can hear the sound of the waves gently
    crashing upon the ocean shore. You can hear the sound of the gulls in the distance, and you can savor the freshness of the pure salt air, as you feel a heavy, relaxed feeling coming over you. You can feel your  arms relaxing, you can feel your legs relaxing, and you can feel your entire body relaxing completely. As I continue to count, and continue to talk, every word that I utter will carry you faster and deeper, faster and deeper, down and down, into a deep, sound, peaceful state of hypnosis.
    Three . . . You can feel your entire body relaxing now . . . relaxing deeper and faster, and deeper and faster, all of the time.
    Four . Sinking down, and shutting down .
    . . sinking down, and shutting down . . . sinking down, and shutting down . . Shutting down completely. And the deeper you go, the deeper you are able to go. And the deeper you go, the deeper you want to go, and the more peaceful, and the more relaxing,
    and the more enjoyable the experience becomes.
    Five . Sinking and relaxing, and sinking and relaxing, deeper and faster, deeper and faster, all of the time. Relaxing so very deeply now that you can just let yourself go completely, as you continue drifting down and down, into a deep, sound, blissful state of hypnosis.
    Every word that I utter is carrying you faster and deeper, faster and deeper, down, and down, and down. And the deeper you go, the deeper you want to go, and the deeper you go, the deeper you're able to go, and the more peaceful, and the more beautiful, and the more enjoyable the experience becomes.
    Six . Relaxing so very deeply now, as you continue drifting on and on, into a deep, sound sleep, a deep, sound sleep.
    Seven.  Sinking down and shutting down. Sinking down and shutting down. Sinking down and shutting down, shutting down completely.
    Eight . And the deeper you go, the deeper you want to go. And the deeper you go, the deeper you're able to go. And the deeper you go, the more peaceful and the more relaxing and the more enjoyable the experience becomes.
    Nine. Sinking down, and shutting down. Sinking down, and shutting down. Sinking down, and shutting down. Shutting down completely.
    Ten. Very deeply drifting, in a deep, sound state of hypnosis. And the deeper you go, the deeper you want to go. And the deeper you go, the deeper you are able to go. And the deeper you go, the stronger the effects of my words become.
    Now, as you continue sinking deeper with every word that I speak, and with every second that passes, you can imagine, or picture in your mind, a clock dial, with no second hand and no minute hand on the clock, just an hour hand. And the hour hand is set at twelve.
    I’m going to move that hour hand back, one hour at a time, until it’s all the way back to one. And with each hour that I move the hand back, you’ll go twice as deep as you are right now, and you’ll feel twice as good as you do right now.
    There is no end to the depth of experience you can have in deep hypnosis.There is no limit to how good you can feel, and to the benefits you can obtain from it. And the deeper you go, the deeper you're able to go . And the deeper you go, the deeper you want to go, and the more peaceful and the more wonderful, and the more enjoyable the experience becomes. So just let yourself go completely now, as I move the hour hand back, one hour at a time.  
    And now I’ve moved the hour hand back  from 12 to 11, and you’re sinking down twice as deep as you were before. And the deeper you go, the more easily you are able to become aware of your Future Self  -- of the person you are becoming.
    And now I’ve moved it down to 10,  and you feel twice as deep and you feel twice as good. But there’s never any sense of strain or overload, for the deeper you go, the deeper you want to go, and the deeper you go, the deeper you’re able to go. And the deeper you go, the more  enjoyable the experience becomes.
    And now I’ve moved it down to 9. Twice as deep, and feeling twice as good
    . As I lead you deeper and deeper into hypnosis, your Future Self -- the person that you are becoming -- will provide you with all the guidance and support that you need, in order to free yourself from the problems and limitations that have been holding you back. This guidance will enable these problems to be solved in just the right way, and at just the right time, for you to keep whatever is of value to the person that you will become, and to release and eliminate whatever needs to be released.
    8. Twice as deep, sinking down and down, and feeling twice as good, as you allow  your Future Self to handle all of your problems in the outside world in the healing light of your future.  
    7. Twice as deep yet again, and feeling twice as good yet again.
    6. Deeper yet. Notice what that does, and notice how good you feel. And imagine how good you’re going to feel, when we get all the way down to one
    5. Twice as deep, yet again, and feeling twice as good yet again . . . . deeper . . . and deeper . . .And the deeper you go, the deeper you want to go . . . and the deeper you go, the deeper you are able to go . . . and the more beautiful, and more wonderful, and the more enjoyable the experience becomes.
    4. Deeper . . . deeper . . . deeper . . .
    3. Twice as deep, and feeling twice as good . . .
    2. Deeper . . . deeper . . . deeper . . .
    1. Infinitely, and unbelievably deep, and continuing to go deeper with every word that I speak .

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Parallel Universes: Speed Walking the Path of Enlightenment

    I once had a Tibetan Buddhist client, who told me that in Tibetan Buddhism you choose your parents for what they can teach you. "I must have had to learn an awful lot," she said. Her diagnosis was dissociative identity disorder,or DID, which was formerly known as multiple personality disorder. "Perhaps she did," I thought to myself, "if it was necessary to get several personalities to work on the problem at the same time."
    Experts in the study of dissociative identity disorder tell us that this process is not as strange as it may at first appear. Each separate personality makes its own contribution to the total personality of the individual, to better cope with the diversity of stresses that person has experienced.

    Mental health professionals can accomplish much the same thing when clients are facing challenges for which they are are not prepared emotionally  All we have to do is to take our hypnotically responsive clients into an alternate or parallel universe and give them experiences which are meaningful enough to change their life here in this one. And what might those experiences be? Since everyone is unique, you'll have to figure it out each time for yourself, but here is an example.

    I was recently working with a client who was going through several anxiety provoking changes in her life at the same time. She was an excellent amateur gymnast, and 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; and to boost her confidence and self esteem, I helped her to experience the thrill, the exertion, and the triumph of having the gold medal actually hung around her neck at the end of the competition.

    At the conclusion of the session, she opened her eyes and, obviously thrilled to the core, exclaimed, "Wow! I just won a gold medal!" She knew that she had done it in hypnosis, but it didn't seem to make any difference to her. We chatted and talked for a while; and I humorously mentioned that I should adopt the motto that some dance studios use, and post a sign outside which read, -Walk in, dance out!" Much to my surprise, as she left the office and walked down the hallway to the door at the far end,  she was dancing! She later reported that she had no more difficulties in facing her current stressors with resolution and confidence.

    I tell my clients straight up that I don't know whether or not they are actually in an alternate or parallel universe or not; but the experience is real, and that's what counts. 

    How to Eliminate Late-Night Snacking

    Being overweight can be caused by a number of factors. When it is simply due to the habit of making bad decisions concerning food, then a cognitive-behavioral approach such as the one described here may be useful. 

    A client came to my office requesting hypnosis in order to eliminate his habit of waking up for two hours every night. He was retired, and simply slept later in the morning to make up for the two hours he had lost. We examined all the usual causes: he did not drink too much coffee or tea, there was nothing worrying him, and there did not seem to be any organic cause for his middle insomnia. Finally, he admitted that his real concern was that he was gaining about a pound a month because he would get up and have a snack of cheese and crackers before going back to sleep. Further discussion made it clear that this snacking habit was what was providing the primary reinforcement for his insomnia, and this was what we would have to work on.

    Suggestion-enhanced experience does not always have to involve an induction, and experiences enhanced by suggestion need not always be positive ones. Since he did not seem to be a candidate for hypnosis, I instructed him on how to use the Best Me Technique to visualize, or picture in his mind, the cheese and crackers in the refrigerator having spoiled -- but to enhance this image in as many ways as he could imagine, using the grossest possible imagery, in order to totally destroy its incentive value. In cognitive-behavioral terms, this would be described as converting a positive reinforcement into an aversive stimulus. 

    The best time to do this, of course, what just after he had awakened in the middle of the night, while he was still lying there before he had arisen to get his usual snack from the refrigerator. Using all six dimensions of the BEST ME Technique, he was instructed to mentally experience the previously-coveted food as having spoiled or become infected with fruit flies, drenched in urine, or floating in a pool of -- well, you get the idea. 

    A follow-up telephone call one month later indicated that  practicing this exercise during his periods of middle insomnia seemed to be completely effective. He was no longer snacking, and, except for his usual bathroom breaks, he was sleeping through the night as well.  

    You can apply this same technique to eliminate any food from your routine which will help you lose weight. Eating 3,500 calories more than you burn results in a one-pound weight gain. Pick one food that you like, find out how many calories per serving it contains, and do the math. See how many extra pounds that one food will add to your weight during the  course of a year. If you are like most of us, cutting out only two or three such foods using the cognitive-behavioral dieting procedure just described, combined with a little patience, should make your ideal weight goal easily attainable. 


    Saturday, June 17, 2017

    Mass Hysteria and the Power of Suggestion

    I once was demonstrating hypnosis before an introductory psychology class, and I asked for volunteers to be hypnotized. Two students and their teacher, who was not much older than they were, volunteered, all of whom happened to be female. As I began the induction, the teacher began to giggle, and this set off the other two. 

    When the giggling stopped and they had composed themselves, i began the induction once more. This time, the giggling was more intense when it broke out. I stopped, they composed themselves once more, and I began again. When the giggling broke out for the third time, it was so strong that the volunteers were rocking back and forth in their chairs,with laughter. I stopped the demonstration and the volunteers returned to their seats. 

    I had seen people "get the giggles" before on rare occasions as I was hypnotizing them individually, and I had always stopped after one or two attempts to continue, believing that it was a form of unconscious resistance. This time, with three volunteers involved, it seemed to me that we were seeing a miniature version of mass hysteria -- a form of psychological contagion which the teacher had communicated to her two students who had volunteered along with her.

    Hyperempiria, or suggestion-enhanced experience, isn't just an alert hypnotic induction, as some people still believe. It's any form of experience which is enhanced by suggestion, and which occurs outside of a formal hypnotic induction :-- even becoming a victim of mass hysteria, as depicted in the following trailer from the 2015 motion picture, "The Falling,"  (The full motion picture is available on You Tube; and the director, Carol Morley, has published an excellent article in The Guardian which describes several historidal instances of mass hysteria.)

    Saturday, June 10, 2017

    How to Select and Strengthen Your own Morives

    For centuries, Determinists have been saying that human beings are not free because, although we are in accordance with our motives, we do not choose which motives to strengthen.. Now we can!

    When we have a long-term goal whose rewards are in the future, we attempt to bridge this gap between present efforts and future sources of satisfaction by daydreaming, autosuggestion, "positive thinking," affirmations, visualization, and fantasy techniques, These usually don't help very much, because they still don't do enough to involve the whole person in the satisfactions of goal attainment. Eventually, even though our long-term goal remains as attractive as ever, our motivation begins to falter, and sooner or later we give up. If the gap between our aspirations and what we are able to do involves the attainment of a major life goal, such as becoming a successful writer, artist, or composer, the gap between what we aspire to do and what we have actually achieved can often be great enough to cause a full-blown existential depression. 

    Somewhere In the Multiverse -- the Universe of all possible Universes -- you are already living in a parallel lifetime in which you have achieved your goal and are basking in its rewards. By projecting your imagination into this parallel Universe where your goal has already been achieved, you can experience the rewards of these goals now, in the this life, where they are most needed for motivation. If you can pre-xperience the fulfillment of this goal with your entire being, then you will be able to act, think, and feel as if it were impossible to fail! 

    The Best Me Technique of miltimodal hypnosis (Gibbons, 2001) is a method of suggestion-enhanced experience for involving your whole person in the content of a suggested event, which enables those who are sufficiently imaginative and properly trained in this procedure to experience in the present and in concentrated form, the rewards and satisfactions which would not normally be theirs until a goal has been achieved. This in turn can provide the motivational fuel to pursue whatever goal we may have chosen, no matter how distant or difficult that goal might otherwise appear.

    Each element of the Best Me Technique corresponds with a dimension of experience (Beliefs, Emotions, Sensations and physical perceptions, Thoughts and images, Motives, and Expectations); and these elements can be combined in a variety of ways. In the hyperempiric adventure which follows, the Best Me Technique is used to pre-experience the rewards of a graduation ceremony in order to enhance the motivation to pursue a course of study leading to an academic degree. However, the Best Me Technique can also be used to as part of a comprehensive program to enhance performance in other areas, such as athletics, music, dance, and theater or as part of a program to lose weight, or to become a non-smoker, or to rid oneself of other forms of addiction.

    The suggestions are presented in B-E-S-T-M-E order for the sake of illustration; but in actual use, Best Me suggestions may be repeated in any order and varied and repeated as often as necessary in order to maximize involvement with their content, much as one might repeat the verses and choruses of a song. Rather than memorizing a specific set of suggestions or reading them to the client as a script, I usually count out the steps of the Best Me Technique on my fingers as I am improvising an induction or a therapeutic suggestion, going back and forth to make sure that I have adequately covered them all. This gives me more freedom to individualize my suggestions to better meet the needs of each individual, and to use their body language to gauge the speed and content of my delivery.

    The incentive value of the Best Me Technique can be further enhanced by pre-experiencing the rewarding results of other situations related to the goal, such as celebrating at a graduation party with friends and family, or relaxing on the deck of a cruise ship on a much-deserved vacation after a long-desired degree is actually in hand. It is also helpful to pre-experience the rewards of sub-goals along the way, such as doing well on an upcoming major examination, or enjoying the semester break, secure in the certain knowledge that one is on the way to an inevitable success. At the conclusion of an appropriate hypnotic or induction, suggestions similar to the following may be given, with appropriate repetition and elaboration, much as one might vary the verses and choruses of a song. 
    Belief systems. Now you can feel your awareness of the present beginning to fade, as you become ever more clearly aware of yourself seated at your graduation ceremony, waiting to go up and receive your diploma. Just picture the scene, and imagine yourself excitedly waiting there, until it becomes just as real and just as clear to you as if it is happening right now.
     Emotions. Let yourself feel an ever increasing sense of pride and achievement as you savor this moment to the fullest. As you look around at your fellow graduates and at the crowd of family, friends, and well wishers who have come to share in your success, you can truly rejoice in the thrill of all you have worked so hard to accomplish.
    Sensations and physical perceptions. The graduates are getting up one row at a time to form a line beside the stage until their name is called. When it is your turn, you join the line and await your turn to go up and shake hands with the Dean and receive your diploma.  
    Thoughts and images. And all the time, you are realizing how much this means to you, and how much it has all been worthwhile.
    Motives. Now, as you walk across the stage and shake hands with the Dean, he smiles and hands you your diploma, and you return to your seat, let yourself take a few moments now to bask in the satisfaction of a job well done, and savor your achievement to the fullest. [Pause.]  
    Expectations. And each time that you return to this treasured memory of the future, it will become easier for you to act, think, and feel as if it were impossible to fail. Believe it will happen, expect it to happen, feel it happening, and savor in advance the fruits of your success!
    After allowing time to fully enjoy the experience for a few moments, the induction may be concluded in an appropriate manner. Once the technique has been mastered, it can be repeated daily as a form of experiential meditation until the goal is actually attained.  

    The Importance of Sub-Goals

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

    I once knew a graduate student at the University of Portland who inherited three million dollars while he was enrolled in the Psychology program. He did not touch the money except inr one type of situation. He would treat himself and a date to a big steak dinner at a local restaurant every time he passed a test, and live frugally the rest of the time.  By successfully achieving a series of small sub-goals along the way, he obtained his degree with relative ease. As Martin Luther King put it, "If you can't run, walk. If you can't walk, crawl. But keep moving forward!"  

    When there Is No "Impossible Dream"

    When there is no clearly-identified goal upon which to focus, or when existing goals are not desired strongly enough to fully motivate a person to achieve them, suggestions such as the following can be given to increase the enjoyment of goal attainment in general.
    Belief systems. Now we are going to help you to experience in concentrated form, both your desire to achieve and your ability to feel the satisfactions you are going to feel in the future from the fulfillment of a job well done.

    Emotions. We are reaching down into the depths of your vast, untapped potential for feeling happiness and joy. Great waves of happiness and joy are flooding out from the depths of your potential, growing stronger and more beautiful and more intense with every passing second.  
    Sensations and physical perceptions. The waves of joy are becoming stronger and more intense, filling and flooding every muscle, and fiber, and nerve of your entire body with a beauty and which is greater than anything you could possibly imagine. 
     Thoughts and images. Your mind is filled with such beauty and such joy that it is impossible to think of anything else, and all you can do is feel these waves of joy washing over you., growing in beauty and intensity with every passing second.
    Motives. This is the kind of fulfillment you will be able to feel when you put your whole self into doing a job – any job – well. And you will have plenty of energy left over to enjoy every other aspect of life to the fullest.

    Expectations. And I don’t know whether this experience will leave you with new goals, or with a re-dedication to the ones you already have. But in either case it will be a transforming moment, for it will have the power to change your life.
    By using the Best Me Technique along with the necessary changes you need to make in your environment in order to accomplish the goals you have chosen, you will be able to provide yourself with the inspiration and incentive for a lifetime of accomplishment and personal growth.

    A Word of Caution

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

    Recently, I have been suggesting to hypnotized clients that they are being transported to an alternate universe where time and space do not exist. After orienting them to this universe and inducing emotions which are as pleasant as possible -- i.e., "dissolving  into an ocean of infinite, unbounded, and everlasting love," we suggest the following: "with practice, you will be able to feel this kind of fulfillment whenever you put your whole self into working towards a goal you have chosen. As you think about achieving the goal ahead of time, you can believe it will happen, expect it to happen, and feel it happening! And with practice, you will be able to act, think, and feel as if it were impossible to fail!"  

    “Jan” was a 59 year old single white female with a Ph.D. in biology.  After a successful academic career, Jan decided to change course and enrolled in a medical technology program.  She hoped that her new laboratory skills, along with her doctorate, would help her to begin a new career in a hospital. 

    Several years ago, Jan had worked extensively with a hypnotist when she was in another transitional phase in her life.  From this previous experience, we knew that she was not only open to hypnosis, but was also highly responsive to suggestion. This time, Jan was seeking help with confidence.  She was particularly concerned about her final examination in hematology.  Following is a transcript of the multimodal hypnosis session which occurred a few days prior to her examination.

    Sensations and physical perceptions.  Just imagine that it’s a warm summer afternoon, and that you’re lying on the deck of a small boat which is safely tethered at the edge of a shallow bay, about a hundred feet from shore.

    Belief systems.  If you accept each detail of the scene as I describe it, without trying to think critically, your imagination will allow you to experience the situation just as if you were really there.  

    Sensations and physical perceptions. Let your body absorb the peacefulness which is all around you, as the boat rocks you gently back and forth and the sun shines warmly down.  Let the warm, golden glow of the sunlight spread throughout your entire body, relaxing you completely from head to toe.  Feel the cool breeze upon your skin, and savor the freshness of the fresh, salt air. Listen to the cries of the birds in the distance, and the sound of the water quietly splashing against the side of your boat as it rocks you gently back and forth, and that warm, golden glow of the sunlight relaxes you more and more with each passing moment. 

               Emotions.  As that warm, relaxed feeling grows and grows, it is driving out all of your worry, all of your tension, and all of your cares, leaving you filled with perfect, infinite, boundless peace, calm, and tranquility.

    Thoughts and images.  It’s so calm, and so peaceful there in the bottom of your boat, that all you want to do is keep drifting, and dreaming, and floating on, and on, and on, into a deep, peaceful state of total relaxation.

    As the sun slowly sinks lower and lower on the horizon, you can just let go, and allow your consciousness to sink down into a deep, peaceful hypnotic state.  Sinking down, and shutting down.  Sinking down, and shutting down.  Sinking down, and shutting down, and shutting down completely, as the sun gradually sinks lower and lower on the horizon. As the sun slowly sets, and the sunlight turns to twilight, and the twilight turns to darkness, you can let yourself drift even deeper. 

    Motives.  And the deeper you go, the deeper you want to go.  And the deeper you go, the deeper you’re able to go, and the more enjoyable the experience becomes.

    Expectations.  Now, while you remain deeply hypnotized, I am going to guide you to experience a different situation, which will be of great help to you as you prepare for all of the remaining tests in the course. You will always be able to hear and to respond to my voice, and I will bring you out of hypnosis in a few minutes.  But until I do, every aspect of the situation to which I guide you will be completely real, and you will experience it all just as if you were really there.

    Belief systems.  Now I’m going to ask you to experience a different scene, in which you are becoming aware of yourself warmly dressed, standing at the top of a large, snow-covered mountain which slopes steeply downward toward the valley below.

    Sensations and physical perceptions.  Feel the crisp, cold winter air upon your face, and savor its freshness as you inhale. Notice the dazzling whiteness of the snow in the morning sunlight, and feel its soft crunchiness underfoot as your mind absorbs the silence which is all around you, broken only occasionally by the faint stirring of a distant breeze. Down in the valley below, at the very foot of the mountain, you can see the goal you have been trying to reach. Your journey has brought you as far as this mountaintop; but all along the mountainside, standing between you and your objective, are barriers and obstacles of many kinds, which have been blocking you from the attainment of your goal.

    Thoughts and images.  Bending down, you pick up a handful of snow and start to examine it. Notice how soft and powdery it feels in your hands.  In a way, it is like your resolve has sometimes been ‑‑ soft and powdery, when it ought to have been firm and strong.  See yourself packing the snow together in your hand now, and compressing it into a snowball as you add still more snow, packing it down firmly, as you resolve to make your confidence just as firm and just as hard as the snowball itself.  See yourself rolling the snowball along the ground, packing into it every ounce of confidence you possess, until it has grown to the size of a boulder.

    Emotions. And as the snowball grows even larger, you can feel your own courage and resolve becoming as hard and as firm as the snowball you are getting ready to roll down the mountainside, all the way down to the deserted valley below.  As you push the boulder over a small ledge and start it on its way, you can feel your confidence growing along with it. 

    Expectations. Believe it will happen, expect it to happen, and feel it happening.

    Motives. As the boulder begins to roll downwards on its own, you can feel your confidence growing along with it as it grows in size  ‑‑ growing and growing, becoming larger with every foot that it travels, until it has become an avalanche, sweeping away all obstacles in its path, as it thunders all the way to the bottom of the mountain.

    Thoughts and images.  As you stride purposefully down the mountainside, you feel more and more confidence.  And as you complete your descent and approach the valley, you find that the snow has disappeared and the winter has turned into spring.  The air has suddenly grown much warmer, and the trees are covered with fresh, green leaves.  The birds are singing, the flowers are in full bloom, and a small brook is bubbling quietly as it flows beside your path.

                Motives.  Just as the climate around you has turned into springtime, your future has turned into springtime as well. You know that your life headed for a certain and inevitable success, in ways which you cannot presently even imagine.

    Expectations.  And whenever you have a carefully chosen goal that you can deeply believe in, you will be able to act, think, and feel as if it were a reality.

    Belief systems.  In just a few moments now, you will return to the everyday state of consciousness in which we spend most of our waking lives.

    Emotions. Your mind will be clear and alert, and you will be excited about the opportunities to put these experiences to use. 

    Sensations and physical perceptions.   You know how helpful hypnosis has been to you before, in ways you did not realize at the time.

    Thoughts and images.  And you will also find many new ways to use today’s experiences, in addition to the ways you already know. 

    Motives.  Now, you are ready to resume your life’s journey of achievement, secure in the knowledge that, in whatever form it may take, you are destined for a complete and inevitable success. 

    Expectations.  As soon as you are ready now, you can open your eyes, feeling wonderful.  [ after a brief pause:]  You can open your eyes now, feeling wonderful!

    Jan told us later that she had decided during the hypnotic experience to construct her boulder in a different location than the one which was suggested. Since the snow on a mountaintop is very fine and powdery, she reasoned, she had chosen to imagine herself in the back yard of the house where she had lived as a child, “where the snow was wetter,” and consequently better suited to making a snowball.  As she rolled the boulder downhill and into her neighbor’s yard, its weight exposed a stretch of green lawn beneath it.  Then, in order to experience the springtime scene, she had visualized herself in a nearby park.  She believed that the imagery was effective; but she stated that she had wanted me to repeat the suggestions about feeling, and acting. 

    Instead of questioning her about it, I decided to re-frame her choice in a way which would facilitate her sense of empowerment.  I complimented her on her selection of new imagery, and told her that the clients who seemed to benefit the most from hypnotic suggestion were those who felt free to spontaneously modify the suggestions they were given in order to better suit their own needs and preferences.

    Then, on a file card, I wrote the following summary: “Believe it will happen, will it to happen, and feel it happening.  As you do, you will be able to act, think, and feel as if it were a reality,” which incorporated all six multimodal hypnosis categories. She was then briefly re-hypnotized, and it was suggested that the statements on the file card would serve as posthypnotic suggestions whenever she looked at it; and that as soon as she became sufficiently familiar with their content, she would be able to repeat them to herself as autosuggestions whenever she desired to do so.


    Jan reported back that she had studied just one day for her hematology final examination, rather than her usual three, and that she had gone into the examination room with confidence. She earned a score of 95% on her examination, and was elated. 

    In a telephone follow-up which was conducted some weeks later, Jan expressed some anxiety over an upcoming microbiology exam. A. K. S. added the following to Jan’s multimodal autosuggestions:

    Thoughts and images.  Everything you read, write, study, and learn will be absorbed into your brain as if it were a sponge.
              Sensations and perceptions.  When it comes time to take your tests, the information will flow forth from your brain, down your neck, shoulder, arm, hand, fingers, and into your pen and onto the paper.
               Thoughts and images.  Everything you read, write, study, and learn will be engraved upon your mind as if it were stone.

               Expectations.  And when you take your exams, you can pluck the information out when you need it.

    Jan did indeed become a medical technologist, and no she longer regards any examination as a “life or death” situation.  During her one-year course, she reported that she consistently obtained “A” grades on her tests after only a reasonable amount of preparation, and without experiencing any more anxiety than she regarded as “normal.”  She indicated that she repeats these suggestions to herself several times a week; and that she continued to experience a noticeable increase in confidence as a result.

    By restricting Jan’s use of multimodal autosuggestion to those situations in which she had a carefully-chosen goal that she could deeply believe in, we were attempting to avoid several common pitfalls attendant upon its indiscriminate application.  Emboldened by their initial successes, many people who have mastered various techniques involving the use of positive affirmations may be inclined to apply them to more and more areas of their life, without sufficient forethought.  As they encounter more and more unforeseen problems, their confidence in these procedures begin to wane, and eventually, it becomes difficult for them to escape the belief that they are merely lying to themselves.

    Clients have been saying things like, "I can't thank you enough!" and, "I'm at a point in my life now where I think I can accomplish anything!" The changes which they are reporting in their lives seem to bear this out.  It's too early for any hard data, as we have just begun to use these techniques. But we would like to invite you to join us in exploring these fascinating new realms of experience, and sharing with us in the thrill of discovery.  

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

    Gibbons, D. E., & Woods, K. T. (2016) Virtual reality hypnosis: Exploring alternate and parallel universes. Amazon Books, 2016. (Both print and Kindle editions are available