CLINICAL HYPNOSIS

  • Clinical Hypnosis is …
    • Using your mind to help yourself
    • Learning how to control your mind / body
    • Daydreaming with a purpose
    • Learning what you didn’t know you knew
    • Controlling what you didn’t know you could

     

    People who have been hypnotized

    • do not lose control over their behavior
    • typically remain aware of who / where they are
    • usually remember what transpired during hypnosis

     

    Examples of Patient- Specific Goals for Self-Hypnosis:

     

    Decrease:

    • Stress / Tension
    • Jaw Clenching / Teeth Grinding
    • Fears / Anxieties /Phobias
    • Pain
    • Allergies / Asthma
    • Skin Problems
    • Sleeping Problems

     

    Improve:

    • Smoking Cessation
    • Weight Loss
    • Sports / Music / Acting Performance
    • Test Taking
    • Self-Confidence
    • Self-Exploration
    • Parenting

     

     

ACT

ACT, a recent therapy approach, integrates mindfulness and acceptance strategies with values-based committed action as a means to increase psychological flexibility. Psychological flexibility is the process of contacting the present moment as a fully conscious person, and aligning behavior in the service of chosen values. Most people are psychologically inflexible because they do not pursue their values and instead try to control their thoughts and feelings.

The ACT model of psychological flexibility includes six core principles which are psychological processes:

  1. Contact with the Present Moment refers to flexibly paying attention to, and non-judgmentally accepting, the internal and external realities of the present moment.
  2. Acceptance is willingness to be with thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations even when they are unpleasant.
  3. Through Defusion one observes each thought as just one of many ways to look at things.
  4. Viewing Self as Context rather than a conceptual self enables one to distinguish self from what is thought or felt. For example, the thoughts “I am a failure” or “I am a good person” do not validly describe or define one’s self.
  5. Committed Action is deliberate behavior aligned with one’s values.
  6. Values involve being clear about what one chooses as having transcendental importance in life. Examples of possible values are love, kindness, fun, honesty, and interdependence.

EMDR

EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a form of therapy that has been very effective in treating Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  The World Health Organization (WHO) has indentified EMDR, along with trauma-focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy, as the most effective treatments for PTSD.   For single-event trauma (e.g., a car accident) three 90-minute EMDR sessions has often resolved the PTSD.

Unlike other PTSD treatments EMDR does not involve homework or repeated exposure to the trauma-generating stimuli.    EMDR is based on the idea that PTSD exists because the memories of traumatic experiences are physiologically locked in the central nervous system; and those memories have not been fully processed and integrated in the normal way that memories are processed and integrated.  The eye movements used in EMDR are like the eye movements that occur during REM (rapid eye movements) sleep where emotional experiences are processed.

 

 

 

Forgiveness

The abused person can benefit by forgiving the abuser; and he can let go of anger toward the abuser. Holding onto hurt and anger would prolong suffering and provide no benefit. Forgiveness takes strength, and does not indicate weakness. To forgive does not mean to condone the abusive behavior, to allow unnecessary exposure to further abuse, or to forget. Forgiveness involves understanding the abuser’s motivation. It also helps to realize that, like everybody else, the abuser wants to be happy and avoid suffering. It also includes an appreciation of the abuser’s confusion and unawareness of the correct way to be happy and free of suffering.

 

Well-Being

According to Aristotle human happiness is centered on living a virtuous life, a life representing human excellence. Aristotle endorsed living in accordance with reason and moderation, and aiming toward excellence and the realization of valued human potentials. Virtuous behavior has intrinsic rather than extrinsic value. Intrinsic values are ends in themselves. They are not reducible to other values; and they do not exist for the sake of other values. Some examples of intrinsic values are courage, generosity, wisdom, health, life and survival, intimacy and relatedness, growth, community connectedness, and being fair and just in relation to others.   Extrinsic values are reducible to other values; and they exist for the sake of other values. Examples include: wealth and material possessions, power, social recognition and fame, image and attractiveness, and aggression.

A person who works hard to accumulate wealth, an extrinsic value, may be doing so to be admired, also an extrinsic value; and he may want to be admired in order to be loved, an intrinsic value. Such a person is not living a good life according to Aristotle, because his primary value is extrinsic although it is driven by a basic intrinsic value.

If a person cultivates intimacy with another in order to get an inheritance, the primary goal is money (extrinsic) and not intimacy (intrinsic). The intrinsic goal must be primary and pursued for its own sake for the person’s activity to be virtuous.

Virtuousness does not guarantee happiness. A virtue-filled life will not be happy if there is insufficient pleasure and excessive pain.

Being Emotionally Thick-Skinned

Popular people usually enjoy approval. Often they may be only mildly bothered by disapproval and rejection. Some politicians illustrate this.

Christ, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and other great people who acted for the benefit of others, learned to be internally at peace in the face of verbal and physical abuse.

When the Dalai Lama was asked “After the massive destruction the Chinese communist government has wreaked on your country and people, why aren’t you angry?” He replied, “If I got angry, then I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night or eat my meals peacefully. I’d get ulcers, and my health would deteriorate. My anger couldn’t change the past or improve the future, so what use would it be?” .

A thick-skinned person spends little time dwelling on disapproval. Instead he focuses more on the issues that bring him satisfaction. Examples of such issues include helping others, projects he has a strong interest in, the love and appreciation of intimates, spirituality, and plans for pursuit of important goals. The thick-skinned person’s internal protection from external negativity allows him to focus on what he considers important, and what he can be happy and grateful about. Being calm when faced with abuse provides a thick-skinned person with an opportunity to think clearly and decide wisely before responding.

A thick-skinned person often views disapproval and criticism as information about another person’s perceptions. The critic’s perceptions are considered distinct from the thick-skinned person’s self-perception. The validity of the criticisms can be examined. The thick-skinned person can visualize himself being, or behaving, the observable way that was criticized; and he can calmly evaluate the criticism, note what may be useful in it, and choose how to act in response (Andreas & Andreas, 1989).

A thick-skinned person may not assume that abuse is a valid indicator of a wrong that needs to be righted. Abuse may have been motivated by the abuser not getting what he wanted, rather than because the abuser’s rights were violated.

 

Happiness

Happiness, like many aspects of personality, has a high heritability factor (the happiness set point); but there are other factors specifying the substantial opportunities (circumstances and voluntary actions) for people to increase their happiness. The relationship among these factors is shown in the equation H (happiness) = S (happiness set point) + C (circumstances) + V (voluntary actions). There is much research, based on studies of identical twins separated at birth, that supports the validity of the equation H = S + C + V.   The research has found the percentage of variance accounted for by each component: for S it is 50%, C 10%, and V 40%.

The English ladies Daphne and Barbara were identical twins whose lives illustrate the high heritability of happiness (and of many characteristics). They had a lot in common. They left school at age 14, worked in local government, met future husbands at age 16 at town hall dances, suffered miscarriages at the same time, had two sons and a daughter, feared blood and heights, preferred cold coffee, wore similar clothing, and referred to their habit of pushing up their noses with the palms of the hand as “squidging”. They never met each other or knew of each other’s existence until age 40, having been adopted by different families as infants. These coincidences are common among identical twins separated at birth; but not among fraternal twins who were similarly separated.

Happiness is not 100% biologically set; and it is therefore changeable. Life circumstances (C), which account for 10% of the happiness variance, has components that may not be easily changed, e.g., health, wealth, beauty, marital status, employment, location of home and job.   It is interesting to realize that despite the enormous time and effort which people expend on life circumstances, it has a rather small effect on their happiness. Voluntary actions (V) account for 40% of the variance. This is where efforts to be happy can pay off. Some ways in which people can increase V, and consequently H, encompass such behaviors as: expressing gratitude, developing optimism, avoiding unfavorable comparison, showing kindness, enhancing social relationships, learning to forgive, increasing flow, savoring joys, practicing spirituality, coping with difficulties, pursuing worthy goals, meditating regularly, and getting proper rest, nutrition, and exercise.

According to Aristotle human happiness is centered on living a virtuous life, a life representing human excellence. Aristotle endorsed living in accordance with reason and moderation, and aiming toward excellence and the realization of valued human potentials. Virtuous behavior has intrinsic rather than extrinsic value. Intrinsic values are ends in themselves. They are not reducible to other values; and they do not exist for the sake of other values. Some examples of intrinsic values are courage, generosity, wisdom, health, life and survival, intimacy and relatedness, growth, community connectedness, and being fair and just in relation to others.   Extrinsic values are reducible to other values; and they exist for the sake of other values. Examples include: wealth and material possessions, power, social recognition and fame, image and attractiveness, and aggression.

A person who works hard to accumulate wealth, an extrinsic value, may be doing so to be admired, also an extrinsic value; and he may want to be admired in order to be loved, an intrinsic value. Such a person is not living a good life according to Aristotle, because his primary value is extrinsic although it is driven by a basic intrinsic value.

If a person cultivates intimacy with another in order to get an inheritance, the primary goal is money (extrinsic) and not intimacy (intrinsic). The intrinsic goal must be primary and pursued for its own sake for the person’s activity to be virtuous.

Virtuousness does not guarantee happiness. A virtue-filled life will not be happy if there is insufficient pleasure and excessive pain.

Mindfulness

Kabat-Zinn defined mindfulness as “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment”. Mindfulness is experiential and here and now. It is a non-judgmental process that has no goal other than awareness of what is.

Marlatt described mindfulness as observing what occurs, awareness of bodily sensations, of emotions, of thoughts, and of the reality of mind.

Another view is that mindfulness is like systematic-desensitization treatment for fears and anxieties. When confronting upsetting thoughts and feelings the practitioner of mindfulness takes the observer position and does not react to, or cling to, the thoughts or feelings.

The opposite of mindfulness is mindlessness.   Mindlessness is being on automatic pilot, i.e., running through habit patterns with little conscious awareness. Some common examples of mindlessness follow: carelessness, pressured rushing, distracted inattention to detail, rumination about the past or the future, multi-tasking that lessens focal engagement with what is present, compulsive and automatic behavior such as unhealthy overeating, ignoring emotions or physical sensations, and forgetfulness due to little effort to remember.