Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Quitting Smoking--Hypnosis or Drugs?

Hypnosis is a very popular way to quit the ciggies, but so are pharmaceutical means. Chantix is the most popularly prescribed drug to help quit, but there've been some ugly stories about it's side effects since the beginning. In this article, you can read all about it:

Chantix, blamed in suicides, called poorly tested
Lilly Fowler, FairWarning


Monday, December 13, 2010

Conservative Psychology?

What do you think about this article?


Study of Bush's psyche touches a nerve
Julian Borger in Washington
The Guardian,
Wednesday 13 August 2003 02.33 BST

A study funded by the US government has concluded that conservatism can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in "fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity".
As if that was not enough to get Republican blood boiling, the report's four authors linked Hitler, Mussolini, Ronald Reagan and the rightwing talkshow host, Rush Limbaugh, arguing they all suffered from the same affliction.

All of them "preached a return to an idealised past and condoned inequality".

Republicans are demanding to know why the psychologists behind the report, Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition, received $1.2m in public funds for their research from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

The authors also peer into the psyche of President George Bush, who turns out to be a textbook case. The telltale signs are his preference for moral certainty and frequently expressed dislike of nuance.

"This intolerance of ambiguity can lead people to cling to the familiar, to arrive at premature conclusions, and to impose simplistic cliches and stereotypes," the authors argue in the Psychological Bulletin.

One of the psychologists behind the study, Jack Glaser, said the aversion to shades of grey and the need for "closure" could explain the fact that the Bush administration ignored intelligence that contradicted its beliefs about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

The authors, presumably aware of the outrage they were likely to trigger, added a disclaimer that their study "does not mean that conservatism is pathological or that conservative beliefs are necessarily false".

Another author, Arie Kruglanski, of the University of Maryland, said he had received hate mail since the article was published, but he insisted that the study "is not critical of conservatives at all". "The variables we talk about are general human dimensions," he said. "These are the same dimensions that contribute to loyalty and commitment to the group. Liberals might be less intolerant of ambiguity, but they may be less decisive, less committed, less loyal."

But what drives the psychologists? George Will, a Washington Post columnist who has long suffered from ingrained conservatism, noted, tartly: "The professors have ideas; the rest of us have emanations of our psychological needs and neuroses."


Friday, November 26, 2010

Hypnotic gastric bypass info

There;s been a lot of buzz in the media lately about the hypnotic gastric bypass. Does hypnosis really work for weight loss? Is it as effective as surgery? Is it less painful? (The answer to that is, obviously, YES!), What else is hypnosis good for?

The process was been pioneered by Sheila Granger in Britain, and here is a terrific little BBC article about the whole issue.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More Abundance videos uploaded to Youtube!!

I just uploaded a few new clips from August 18th's Abundance Meditation Meetup. The Videos cover what i consider to be essential points: How emotions filter your perceptions of your world and also filter your INFLUENCE on the world, how your thoughts affect your health, a short meditation to build a "happiness" state within you that you can get to when you need it, my personal take on the "Law of Attraction" and more!
I'll be offering this entire class as a DVD pretty soon, including all the meditations so you can follow along and achieve fast, fun results. I'll let you kn ow when it's out, but you Can email me if you want to be notified.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Positivity and negative feelings--video

Do you ever find something dragging when you try to focus on your goals? Maybe when you should feel fantastic you have some sort of unhappy feeling occuring, but you can't put your finger on it.

I offered a class on Meditation for Prosperity and Abundance on Aug. 18, 2010. We covered the whys and hows of feeling great about the things you want, why it's important to feel great if you want great results (or sometimes any results at all), and how to find that great feeling. We also discussed what to do when you feel some sort of negativity when you should be feeling terrific.

I'll have more videos from this info-packed class soon, but I thought this one clip was important enough to post right now. If you have any questions, please ask!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Video highlights from Confidence for Men workshop

Here are some video clips from my recent Confidence for Men workshop. I'll be offering an updated version soon again. In the meantime, please enjoy these clips and give me your unvarnished opinions.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Video Highlights from Assertiveness for Women

I recently offered a free two hour session on Assertiveness for Women. If you missed it, here are some highlights on video, and I think you'll find some very useful information. Check it out, and let me know how it works for you! (Don't worry--I'll be offering this again soon!)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Confidence for Men -- FREE EVENT! (NYC)

If you're in NYC Wednesday, July 7th, please come!


Men's magazines and the Internet are full of advice on what to say and how to dress for confidence. But what works for one guy may not work for another. Are you overwhelmed by all of it? Want to find what works for you? Tired of that frustration?

In this free session, we'll explore ways of looking at the situations you face in new ways, to give you new options for success.

Believe it or not, you're probably already more confident than you think. We'll discover ways of finding your existing strengths and use that knowledge to build up and out, as well as building the new strengths that you need most.

Be aware that this won't be a talky lecture. We'll be doing some transformative exercises in class that will help you make the changes you want right there! you'll leave feeling changed and be able to practice these techniques anytime you want for even better results!

For more info, to ask questions and sign up:

Would you shock the puppy?

What makes good people do evil things?

Watch this excellent presentation by Philip Zimbardo, it's an hour & 48 minutes long and chock full of info. He originally achieved fame with the notorious Stamford Prison Experiment in the 70s, and more recently explored the minds of the soldiers who were prosecuted for what happened in Abu Gharib, which can be found in his new book "The Lucifer Effect."


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Do you believe me?

I'm often asked why I don't add more footnotes to my articles.

The reason is--
I don't (necessarily) want you to believe me!

It's common for academic documents to back up their position with a plethora of footnotes to verify the author's hypothesis. My articles are strictly from my point of view and based on my experiences, and I feel that my conclusions are valid. But I'm sharing them to inspire you to think about and experiment with these subjects. It's great if, after you read these, you come to the same conclusions that I do. Nevertheless, I always say: do your own research and come to your own conclusions!

If, at the end of it all, you come to the same results I do, I'd love to hear about it. If you find I'm full of hooey, let me know about that too!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Why you should learn about Learned Helplessness

"Learned helplessness—it’s not really a term that you hear used in NLP or hypnosis, rather it’s from the realm of psychology, and like so many psychological terms, bastardized versions have found their way into common everyday conversations. Still, it’s a very important mechanism, and understanding learned helplessness will go far towards understanding what makes people behave in the ways they do. In everyday use, you might hear phrases like: “my room-mate is such a slob. He won’t do a bit of housework unless I really push him—he’s a real case of learned helplessness.” Well, it’s certain he’s a slob, and while the person doing the talking is referring to his
inability towards independent housework, whether or not it’s the result of “learned helplessness” is arguable."

--Ever wonder why some people get "blocked" in life?

--have you tried to figure out why some people will wallow in miserable situations when you can plainly see they have a way out?

--Ever wonder why you sometimes put your mind on a goal and the harder you work to achieve it the harder it is to achieve?

--Why some people keep falling back into the same old rut?

--Have you ever been curious if Jeff was any good at baseball?

Read this short discussion of Learned Helplessness and find the answers to these questions and more!

Read it online or download it here:
Learned Helplessness

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Am I being hypnotized against my will?!

Have you ever been afraid that someone was trying to hypnotize you without your knowing it?

When I go to parties, invariably someone will identify me as "the hypnotist." The response that gets from people is either curiosity or fear. Sure, there are a million ways of influencing a person covertly, better ways than classical hypnosis, but what the uninformed person wonders is whether their free will can be controlled by another person. After all, in the movies, we see a simple post-hypnotic suggestion turning Woody Allen into a zombie cat burglar (Curse of the Jade Scorpion). We see Dracula turning people into slaves with the power of his mind, Rasputin commanding the royal family of Russia with his evil stare alone. The information that most people have is that hypnosis can enslave and zombify, and no one is safe.

As hypnotists, when confronted by a fear of hypnosis, we jump to reassure the person, usually by saying something like:

"There's nothing to be afraid of...all hypnosis is really self-hypnosis...you're totally aware the entire time...your secrets are safe...it's just like reading a fascinating book/watching your favourite movie/daydreaming..."

And all of that is perfectly true. But it's as if we're jumping to defend ourselves, we're not quite addressing the question: "can I be hypnotized without knowing it?"

Well, I decided to take the bull by the horns and address the question directly. Can I be hypnotized without knowing it?
In the most recent PDF, I've put together the way I know of that can influence people hypnotically and how a person might know if such methods might be used on them.

How do I know if I’m being hypnotized against my will?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Some Followup to Easiest Embedded Commands

I've been getting some great followup to my article on easy embedded commands with a pattern interrupt. Here are a few points that came up that are worth clarifying:

--You won't have much of an effectusing it on a person if they're in a strong emotional state. Most of the time, office workers are in a kind of a neutral haze. It's a mild state, and most of the time, the little conversational pattern interrupt offered in my article is suitable to break that. However, if the person you're interrupting is, say, in a hurry, or strongly preoccupied or focused on something else, even though they may still say "how are you," they're most likely too preoccupied to notice. A stronger emotional state usually calls for a stronger or more personalized break-state. It's all about putting the right shoe on the right foot.

--It's been pointed out that "feeling fantastic" isn't technically a command, rather, the command form is: "feel fantastic." I'm not sure I agree. Grammatically, "feel" is a command while "feeling" may not be, but in practice, "feeling" functions quite well as a command, especially when delivered with proper emphasis and tonality. As a covert technique, "doing" words like feeling, listening, going, etc., are much easier to employ as embedded commands than the grammatical command form of the word. For example, I might want to make someone hungry by saying "talking about ice cream leaves me feeling really hungry now." To get someone to listen to me I might say " ...then the girls started listening to every word I say." and so forth.

--Some non-NLPers have suggested that my explanations of the techniques are not correct or even necessary. I say: fair enough. The definitions aren't important, except to break then down into pieces that are accessible and repeatable by myself and the others who use them. See, it's not just about this particular technique, which is fun, but about using the technique as practice for other applications that might arise. Defining the elements allows one to access and apply them in other areas and achieving repeatable results. The terminology I use comes from NLP, but there may be other ways to do the same thing. What's important is reliable & reproducible results.

That's all for now!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Metaphors as Pattern Interrupts

I'll probably be writing more about this later, but I wanted to get my thoughts down now. In my last post I talked about an easy embedded command practice, and touched on a pattern interrupt that was inherent in the technique.

It got me to thinking about pattern interrupts in general. While I was mentating on just that, I also had a long discussion about metaphors.

Metaphors, as you may know are sort of story-fied version of making a point. A kind of "as if." For example, describing your in laws like "a pack of hungry dogs," is a metaphoric way of getting across some information about the impact they make on you.

The most famous of hypnotic metaphors is probably Erickson's "Tomato Plant." (You can probably find the transcript on the web). Erickson had been faced with a client who was depressed and wasting away due to cancer, but was resistant to direct hypnosis and direct suggestion, so instead, he just told a long story about the way tomato plants grow and thrive. The man's subconscious made the connection between the plant and himself and the suggestions were delivered without any kind of overt commands or hypnosis.

Fables are metaphors: stories that deliver a moral by way of story.

I've been a story teller long before I was a hypnotist, so I like metaphors.

How are metaphors employed? They work when there's some sort of conscious resistance, or when there's lack of focus. Because they're stories, they (should) have vivid sensory descriptors to really capture the audiences attention. They're a natural choice to use on oppositional children, and great in a business context where raw, dry information can leave your audience unmoved. and, yeah, they're kind of covert.

Anyway, here's my point: When you use a good creative metaphor ("steaming piles of paperwork," or "happy tourists popping up like mushrooms"), you engage people's senses and imagination, and when you engage their imagination you're tapping into their subconscious. That necessitates withdrawing from the moment, and that, my friends, is a pattern interrupt.

Go out and play with these things and imagine yourself not like a hypnotist, but like a hawk, soaring effortlessly and freely through the labyrinthine corridors of your audience's mind. ;^)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Easiest Embedded Commands

They say, "before you begin to learn Zen, the trees are trees and the flowers are flowers. Then you begin to learn Zen and the trees are no longer trees and the flowers no longer flowers. But when you've learned it all, once again, the trees are trees and the flowers, flowers.

I don't know much about Zen, but I do know a little NLP, and I know that saying is very true for NLP. For example, once upon a time, a greeting was a greeting, and I never thought twice about it. Then I began to learn NLP, and everything became an opportunity to practice a skill, greetings included. The only difference is that with NLP, even after greetings become greetings again, they're still opportunities to practice.

Here are two that I had fun with, and I think you will too.

For decades, I'd pass coworkers in the halls at the places I worked and they'd absently say "How are you," to acknowledge my presence. If I was busy, or unmotivated, or in that office fugue-state that many of us spend our lives in, I'd absently respond "fine, thanks."

That's how it goes in most places, and no one thinks twice about it, but it's a great opportunity that folks like us shouldn't let pass! Here are some ways you can use it to improve your skills, learn about consciousness, and brighten the day for the people around you.

First one: I didn't like the numbness that infects offices and so, just as often, I'd respond with something like "too early to tell!" or "just terrible!" You can imagine that it stopped 'em cold. Invariably, they'd stop, and look up with a confused, blank stare. Of course I delivered the line with a big smile, and when they saw the smile, they got the joke, and it made them smile, too.

What was going on? In NLP lingo this is a break state, a technique that breaks, momentarily, whatever mental state the other person happens to be in. See, no one ever asks "how are you" because they really want to know. It's just an automatic ritualized way to acknowledge another's presence. Since it is a ritual, there's also a ritualized response, "fine, thanks," and as long as the the expected response is given, the pattern is completed with very little conscious awareness.

When you give an unexpected, non-ritualized response, it disrupts the expected pattern, and the person who initiated the sequence is suddenly brought totally into the moment. That's why they stop and look up at you: they need more data so they can adapt their pattern and complete it. This process is instantaneous, and mostly unconscious (instantaneous responses are usually mostly unconscious responses). As soon as they look at you they get the data they need: your radiant smile! It's not the expected response, but still gives them input they need to complete the pattern and get on with their day. The difference is that you've brought their awareness fully into the present, if only for a moment, and in that moment, your smile has also embedded a suggestion for happiness into their psyche.

Cool, huh?

Here's another: When they say/ask "how are you" look 'em in the eye and respond "Feeling fantastic!" Have a warm smile and exaggerated tonality, so you're really projecting "feeling fantastic" with your voice, too.

What's happening: Again, they initiate the ritual pattern with their greeting. You respond using direct but natural eye contact as you say "feeling fantastic!" Notice you DON'T say "I'm feeling fantastic." Rather you want to issue the command to feel fantastic, in a way that should elicit (bring up) feeling really good. It's almost a direct command, but it's embedded in the ritual context of the greeting. It's also issued at the same time as you make eye contact, so that their attention is split between two sensory inputs, and they're less conscious of either. Finally, as they're bringing up the feeling of fantastic-ness, they're looking right at you so the good feeling is anchored to you! It doesn't obviously have much impact at first, but will condition them to feel good when they see you!

If the explanations make this all seem complicated, just ignore them, but please do the techniques and see what thay can do for you! Feel free to post your responses and questions!

You can download this article here:
Easy Embedded Command

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

OH NO! Stuck in trance for five hours!

This story is hilarious! From the UK Telegraph:

Trainee hypnotist puts himself in trance using mirror
A newly trained hypnotist accidentally put himself into a trance for five hours after practising in front of a mirror.

Helmut Kichmeier was ''just starring at himself in the mirror, his pupils were tiny'' Helmut Kichmeier, 27, was found by his wife, Joanna, staring into thin air after the bungle in their north London home as they prepared for a tour.

Read it, and check out the picture, here:

As much as I'm entertained by the story, I don't think it's true. The idea that an ordinary person can be "trapped in trance" is largely an old wives tale. All hypnosis boils down into self-hypnosis, so it's not likely that a person couldn't get himself out, whether he got into it himself or not. Also the mirror is kind of a giveaway. It may scream self-hypnosis ti the uninitiated, but using a mirror's pretty rare.

Now it could be that mentally, he was a little bit different and able to get stuck in such a state, or that he was hyper-suggestible. Or he might have been on a drug (I knew a guy who took acid and stared at a clock for seven hours, waiting for the hands to move. He never saw them move, but he still had a great time). It's also possible that, due to his line of work, he was already able to go into a much deeper state of alternate consciousness than most people, but if that were the case, he'd also probably have a greater control to get back out.

True or not, it's a great story and great publicity!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Your age is in your mind!

Heres' a fascinating article that describes a study in which elderly men were asked to act as if they were 20 years younger, in an environment that was decorated to match. In only a week they had greater dexterity, less arthritis and improved posture and even mental acuity!

I've observed how attitude affects people I know. I've known athletes in their 80s who move like they're in their 30s, and guys in their 20s who look like they're 60.

What do you think? Check out this great Newsweek article by Wray Herbert: