Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Understanding and Explanation of Dreams: Fritz Perls Gestalt Therapy

The founder of the Gestalt Therapy movement, Frederick (Fritz) Perls, took his initial training as a Freudian psychoanalyst, but soon saw psychoanalysis as a big game that kept the patient in the therapist’s pocket (or the therapist in the patient’s pockets) and began to work out quick, powerful techniques to return the control of one’s life back to the individual. His own group work would eventually become the model for many peer dream groups that would form in the 1960′s and 1970′s.

The basic concept of Gestalt

Perls believed that unresolved conflicts from the past had a great deal of influence upon present behavior, and that these conflicts needed to be "worked through" (Perls, 1969). He also felt that dreams were highly symbolic and made extensive use of interpretation. Perls felt all past conflicts were continually acted out in the present, and chose to work on them in the here-and-now. In the here-and-now we are completely free and can choose responsibility and openness instead of illness. In the here-and-now we are free to actively control our own "becoming." Thus Perls would have his patients enact in the present the conflict and have them take on the various parts of the conflict as dramatic roles so the patient could become aware of the conflict, contact it and control the direction of it in the present and future. Thus one’s feelings and actions become unified in a whole, what Perls calls a gestalt, that is more spontaneous, open and honest.

While Gestalt therapy has had its own ups and downs, supporters and critics, its own hey-day and decline, what we are going to look at here is the influence it has had on the modern dream work movement, particularly the techniques developed during 1960′s at the now famous Big Sur retreat center in California.

Gestalt approaches to the dream
Nearly all the techniques come from that same set of ideas that Jung offered us, that the dream is a subjective presentation of the dream him/herself and that there is a sense of wholeness in every image. As with Freud and Jung, for Perls what is unconscious in the personal psyche is initially projected out onto other people and to other objects. That is, we see in others first what we refuse to see in ourselves. Perls takes this idea to an extreme and looks at how all we see is in part a projection of ourselves.

"In dreams, the hardest aspect to accept is that every part of the dream is the dreamer: if I am driving along a dream highway, the car, the road, the passing automobiles, the distant mountains, the unseen dread, all are ‘me’." (Downing, 1973, pg 7)

As you can see, the difference between Jung’s view and Perls’ is that for Jung the dream has a subjective-objective tension, i.e. is about something that contains both inner and outer realities. For Perls, the objective outer boundary is allowed to collapse to get directly at the inner fantasy level. In this way the split off inner processes can be re-owned and integrated within the context of the immediate present.

And yet, as I mentioned, there is hardly a modern dream technique or approach that doesn’t acknowledge or use this idea of the intrapsychic dream landscape. Our charge is to keep an eye on the theory, but to focus on some of the ways the technique is unfolded that will allow us to give meaning to our dreams and recover the significance in a non-therapeutic setting. Thus the emphasis is two- fold here. The first is an historical rendering of the exercises and the second is a confining for our use the exercises to the imagination. Any direct use of the exercises should be done within the context of a qualified gestalt therapist.

Lose your mind and come to your senses," suggests Fritz. How aware are we of what we are doing in the present in the dream?

Exercise: The first thing to emphasize is the telling of the dream in present tense.
a. Take an dream and re-write it or tell it to yourself as if it is happening right now. Example: " I am flying over the bay and I feel anxious. I look towards the horizon for sharks. Now I’m flying towards the beach and see the bathers there."

b. For contrast, re-write the same dream in *past* tense as though it all happened a long time ago. Example: I was once flying over a bay and I was feeling kind of nervous. I was looking for sharks on the horizon. Then I was flying back towards the beach and I was looking at some people in the water."

What did you notice about the difference between the exercises? How alive did you feel in each exercise? Make some notes about this difference.

Now that we have moved into the present, let’s move into the subjective mode as well and see all parts of the dream as ourselves.

a. Take a dream and after each thing, adjective or action, put the phrase "Part of me". Example using the Bay Flyer dream: " The I (part of me) flies (part of me) over the bay (part of me) while the looking (part of me) for sharks (part of me)…"

b. Pick one of the parts of the dream that have some feeling or puzzle for you. In my example I’m going to choice the "sharks" and the "bay". Now pretend you are that part of the dream.

Example: "I am the Shark and I lurk unseen in the dream. I could swoop in at any moment and eat the bathers and yum, how good they would be too! I make the flyer nervous because I cause him to worry about things over which he has little control. But I give him a purpose too. All the dream flyer can do is watch, watch, watch. I like the unseen waters I swim in and hope the flyer gets a little closer to the water too!"

"I am the bay. I am both shallow and deep, friendly and dangerous.My waters flow out to the deep sea and up against the beach were people play. The dream flyer soars above me and sees both these parts of me, but he seems afraid of entering me himself. I am cold and liquid and bounded only by dry and structured things. I provide passage for many ships and fish."

Try this for as many part of the dream as you can. Notice how this changes (or doesn’t) your feelings about the dream images and the way they fit together.

By Richard Wilkerson

Monday, 29 October 2012

Why Do I Get Jealous?

Jealousy is a human response most of us aren’t proud of feeling, and it often feels unpleasant, overwhelmingly strong, almost beyond our control. You can take the Jealousy Quiz to get a gauge of how jealous you are on our jealousy scale. Is jealousy really beyond our control? And why do people get jealous anyway?
What is jealousy?
Before we start talking about why jealousy happens and how to overcome it, let’s first look at the definition and meaning of jealousy:
Jealousy is a mixture of negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours we may experience when others have something desirable that we don’t have. So jealousy is a direct result of comparing ourselves with others. Other people’s good qualities, successes, achievements, possessions and relationships are all things which can stir feelings of jealousy. The precise expression of jealousy differs depending on the person and on the situation, but here are some common variations of how jealousy can feel:
  • Feelings towards the person you are jealous of:
    - Anger at them
    - Feelings of hostility towards the person
    - Spite and ill-wishing towards the person
  • Feelings within yourself:
    - Anger and resentment
    - Frustration
    - Feelings of humiliation or embarrassment
    - Fear: of failure, of loss, of damage to self-image
    - Depression and sadness
    - Self-pity
    - Feelings of loss
    - Feelings of hopelessness
    - Feelings of injustice
    - Feelings of inferiority
  • Feelings towards the object of your desire:
    - Feelings of covetousness, possessiveness, yearning, longing and greed
    - Desire to control it
    - Fervent ambition
    - Passion for it (which is where the word “jealous” comes from, from the Greek wordzelos, meaning “full of zeal”)
Behaviours that may arise from jealousy are many but include:
- showing off what you have (resource displaying)
- concealment of the things you have which you don’t want others to have
- acting threateningly or picking fights with people you are jealous of.
Common side effects of jealousy are unpleasant emotions in yourself and it comes with a risk that these negative emotions will drive you to hurt others. There seems to be nothing particularly good about feeling jealous but like all emotions and behaviours, they are there for a reason. Jealousy is there because there is an underlying message behind it which is calling out to be heard. This message can be one of many, and if we understand the drivers behind our jealousy, interpreting its message becomes clearer.
Why do I get jealous?
When looking at the causes of jealousy, the reasons are wide reaching because there are a great number of types of jealousy from romantic jealousy to sibling rivalry and to work-related jealousy. But in spite of all the different types of jealousy there are some commonalities in the drivers behind this unpleasant feeling:
(Note: The following are theories regarding the causes of jealousy rather than hard facts)
1. Biological cause of jealousy:
a.) Biological causes of sexual and romantic jealousy
Males of our species have always been biologically driven by the need to reproduce in order to pass on their genes to the next generation. By being protective over “their woman” (sometimes expressed as jealous behaviour), they are trying to improve their chances that she makes their offspring, so that their genes and their lineage have the advantage to survive in future generations.
Romantic and sexual infidelity, especially if it happens before offspring has been born, can imply that the male’s seed will not be carried on to the next generation. Biologically speaking, this would be a disaster for the males’ lineage and genes, so jealous behaviours may have arisen as a response to deter such infidelity.
From a female’s perspective, emotional romantic infidelity can imply that her male partner won’t be providing just for her and her offspring. If he is not faithful, he has to support several females and all his offspring which means there are fewer resources available for her and her children, and this could reduce the likelihood of their survival.
b.) Biological causes of jealousy over material possessions
Some resources and “material possessions” like food and shelter -based things increase the chance of survival. Like most animals, humans have evolved to fight for their survival, so negative feelings surrounding the loss of material possessions to the favour of others can biologically result in the successful survival of “competitor genes” and the failure of their own. Such implications may have triggered a response of jealousy to motivate the individual to fight for material possessions to increase the chance of their own survival.
It may be that this natural biological attachment to “things” that would boost our chances of survival has spread to other material things that don’t necessarily improve our chances of survival, and this may partly be why people can feel jealous over material possessions.
This need to gain things for the purpose of survival may also extend to the feelings attached to winning and losing. From a very young age children are seen to rejoice when they win in a game and cry when they lose. This may reflect a biologically driven need to win because biologically, winning is associated with winning resources to improve chances of survival.
2. Psychological cause of jealousy
a.) Associating self-worth with “things” and accomplishments
According to Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs pyramid, humans have a need for having good self-esteem. People can gain a sense of good self-esteem in many ways, some of which are fleeting and fragile, like the pursuit of “things” and achievements. These may be taken away from you at any second, in contrast to other self-esteem determinants which are more deep and meaningful, like the knowing of and the development of the self.
Sadly, many of us attach our feelings of self-worth to things like how much money we have. In the West, the capitalist society we live in encourages this way of thought.
Other things we may attach our feelings of self-worth to are how many cool things we own, how successful we are at our job, how successful we are in competitive sports, how many friends we have, how much other people love us and so on. These are all the “fleeting and fragile” things which aren’t true reflections of your self-worth. They are deceptive reinforcements to the self-esteem. Instead of being meaningful indicators of your true self worth, they only serve to strengthen the ego* and only help you feel good about yourself as long as you keep holding on to these things and never let go. Relying on these things makes your feelings of self-satisfaction volatile and it relinquishes your internal power.
Jealousy may be a side product of associating self-worth with these fragile, fleeting, deceptive reinforcements. The moment you are at risk of losing one of these “things” that have given you comfort and feelings of self-worth, lots of negative emotions can overwhelm you: fear of loss; fear of failure; fear of a damaged reputation and self-image, and above all, fear of a loss in your self-worth. It is no wonder that people react passionately in an attempt to hold on to these things, because effectively they are trying to hold on to their feelings of self-worth.
Dealing with jealousy of this sort:
The first step is becoming aware that self-worth is not linked to things, and to understand your self-worth in truer more meaningful terms. If you didn’t have any “things”, but were just you yourself, what would make you have a good feeling of self-worth? Just existing and being a part of this world makes you a worthy person; equally as worthy as anyone else in this world.  You are valuable because only you can live the life you are meant to live as a unique soul and give to the world your unique offerings, no matter how big or small. Remembering this can always remind you how very valuable you are.
Alongside your present consciousness other things which no-one can take away from you are your true self, love, sense of humour, life experience, individual wisdom, perspectives and knowledge, kindness, compassion, creativity, talents, aptitudes and similar things that only you can give to the world which no-one can ever take away from you.
b.) Associating “things” and accomplishments with who you are
Not only do some people associate things with their self-worth and how successful and valuable they are as human beings, some people actually associate things with who they are. This comes with a sense of entitlement: “I deserve to have this because it is who I am!”
For example, they might think that if they didn’t wear the best designer clothes and drive a Ferrari they wouldn’t really be “themselves”.  Another example would be that people see themselves as a “husband” or “wife” so that if suddenly that relationship didn’t work out, they would lose their sense of who they are. “If I’m not a loving wife, what am I?” This attachment to things and labels, and confusing it with your sense of self, is another reason why people may hold on tightly to things and react with passionate jealousy when they are at risk of losing them to someone else. It is almost a primitive or instinctual reaction akin to being at risk of death. In effect, it is a death of your ego* and of your false sense of self. It is not your survival which the jealousy is fighting for; but it is the fight for the survival of the ego that is involved here.
How to overcome jealousy of this sort:
Jealousy that arises due to fear of loss of who you are can be avoided if you work on discovering your true sense of self which is independent of “things” and accomplishments. If you didn’t have all these things and labels, who would you be? To explore this idea of who we truly are, I recommend reading Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” or Deepak Chopra’s “The Ultimate Happiness Prescription”.
The main thing to remember is that the self-image which you portray to the world isn’t the real you. Your job title isn’t you; your job is merely something that you do. Your role in the household isn’t you; it’s just a role you take that has its associated responsibilities and actions. The events that happen to you aren’t you either. All these things are parts of your life but the real “you” is the consciousness within you which has no labels attached to it.
c.) Low self-esteem
People with low self-esteem who feel that they don’t really deserve the good things in their life may be more fearful about losing these things. So the guy with the low confidence who has a beautiful girlfriend may feel overly protective and jealous of others paying attention to her if he’s constantly fearing that she’ll probably dump him the second someone better comes along.
The same can apply in friendships, with people becoming overly protective, jealous and controlling in an attempt to keep their friends from abandoning them.
Neediness makes people with low self-esteem hold on more tightly to the things they have, and react with jealousy if they perceive a risk of it being taken away from them.
What drives people to have low self-esteem is a topic for another time but in the context of relationships, possible reasons could include poor attachment to parents when growing up or a difficult history with friendships as a child. To explore the reasons behind low self-esteem there are plenty of books you can explore, a small selection of which are linked to below:
Low self-esteem can also be aggravated by seeing others achieve the very things that you have difficulty achieving.
For example, if you’re having a hard time finding love and doubt your lovability or your ability to love, but you see someone else find love, it can awaken within you feelings of failure and fears of being alone forever.
If you’re a judgmental person, your feelings of low self-esteem can be exacerbated further if you always labelled a person as a “loser” and now you see he’s achieved something that you always dreamed of achieving, and could not. It’s easy to feel increasingly inferior when someone who you thought was “below you” suddenly gains those deceptive reinforcers of self-esteem which you desire.
It might be helpful to remind yourself that first of all no one is ever “above” or “below” anyone else, no matter what their achievements are.
Second of all it can be helpful to realise that your lack of success has no reflection on who you really are, your true self, your lovability or your self-worth. And the comparative achievements of others do not add or reduce your own worth either.
If you have low self-esteem together with a tendency to use “things” and accomplishments as a means to increase your self-worth, it is a cocktail that could make a person prone to experiencing jealousy.
d.) Belief that anger and spite will get you the results you want
When we’re young, we learn from our parents that when we do something wrong, they become angry with us. Sometimes they punish us. And how did we respond as children? We usually surrendered to them and did what they wanted. It makes sense then that children learn that if you’re angry (a common ingredient of jealousy), you get what you want. Even if we don’t acknowledge this belief consciously, there may be a part of us that believes that if we react to a situation with angry jealousy, somehow it will succeed in getting us what we want.
3. Spiritual explanations of jealousy
a.) The belief that we are all separate entities and that we are special and even better than others
In the Western world we are encouraged to believe that we are all individuals, unique and special, and that we’re all in competition with one another where the best and most successful people “win” the best lives for themselves. Because of the emphasis on the importance of the individual, we tend to foster a belief that each individual is not equally worthy and others are not equal to us. We often believe deep down that we are better than others and therefore we deserve good things more than others. You see this a lot with political campaigns where each rival tries to convince the public just how much better he or she is than their opponents. Here lies a potential cause for jealousy: If others get something and we don’t get it, but we believe that we’re special and we deserved to receive that thing, it can stir up feelings of injustice and jealousy.
Overcoming jealousy through the idea of the  collective consciousness
In spiritual thinking there is a belief that we are all part of a collective consciousness. Rather than all being apart and separate, it suggests we are all connected together. All is one. If you see the world through these eyes, your neighbour’s success is effectively your own success. He is a part of you and you are a part of him. It makes little sense to be jealous of a part of you. Cultivating this acceptance and knowledge that “all is one” is a process and does not necessarily occur overnight.
b.) Lack mindset rather than abundance mentality
Scarcity mindset or lack mentality is when you believe that there is a finite amount of resources available in the world, and that if one person gets more resources there will be less available for you. If Jones gets the promotion, it means you didn’t, and it means you have less. Or if your friend married a corker of a girl it means she’s off the market and now there’s one less fish in the sea for you. This can create jealousy and resentment towards the “haves” if you find yourself amongst the “have nots”.
Dealing with jealousy that results from scarcity mentality:
Lack mentality is a mindset which is under our control and can be changed. We can choose to view the world from an abundance mentality point of view, where we see resources such as love, success etc as being infinite and abundant. If one person has good fortune it doesn’t reduce the chances of you having good fortune at all. If Jones gets the promotion and you didn’t, there are still lots of promotion-options for you in other avenues, if not in your company then in other companies. If your friend married a wonderful girl and she’s no longer on the market, well there are still plenty of fish in the sea for you. Opportunities are there for you in abundance if you seek them out.  There is enough happiness to go around for everyone.
In spiritual thought, the Universe is an abundant one and the Law of Attraction always works in your favour as long as you focus on what you want rather than on what you don’t have. You can read more about this concept in the books Ask and It Is Given and The Law of Attraction.
c.) Attracting jealousy-inducing situations: “Ask and it is given” as a cause for jealousy
As mentioned above, there is a spiritual law known as “The Law of Attraction”, and this suggests that whatever you focus on is what you’ll get. As strange as it might sound, some people consistently draw situations to themselves which make them feel jealous by focusing on their fears and concentrating on all the things they don’t want to happen. The result? They end up drawing precisely those things which they fear to themselves. To reiterate, the theory is that when you focus on something, you are sending the Universe a message that you want more of it in your life. It is as if you are subconsciously asking for it, and the Universe does it’s best to give that which you ask for. Remembering then that focusing on what you desire is what you need to do, releasing all thoughts of what you don’t have or don’t want. According to the Law of Attraction, when you cultivate a positive attitude you will draw positive experiences into your life.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Video: The Psychology of Everything

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Your Brain is NOT Your Friend...

A mind is a terrible thing. Whether because of the brain’s internal structure or the way social and cultural pressures cause our minds to develop and function, in the end the result is the same: minds that are not only easily deceived and frequently deceptive in their own right, but when caught out, refuse to accept and address their errors. If you have a mind — or even half a mind — you might be best off losing it entirely. Barring that, though, there are a few things you should know about the enemy in your head. Before it hurts someone.
I see red pandas.
In 1978, a red panda escaped from the Rotterdam zoo. Hoping to enlist the public in finding this rare and distinctive-looking animal — it looks a bit like raccoon crossed with a small bear, but bright red — the zoo contacted the papers and stories ran in the local press with descriptions and contact information in case the poor creature was seen. Just as the story ran, the panda was found, dead.
Over the next few days over a hundred red panda sightings were reported. Keep in mind, red pandas are indigenous to tropical India, not temperate Holland. There is no chance that some other red panda was being seen and reported to the authorities. It’s also not likely that people were hallucinating, either. What is likely is that people were seeing some other animal or something else they couldn’t identify immediately, and interpreting it as a red panda.
When confronted with an unknown phenomenon, the brain immediately attempts to impose some kind of pattern or meaning onto it. Apparently, the brain can’t stand not knowing what something is. What happened in Rotterdam is that the news stories primed people to recognize anything mysterious or otherwise unexplainable as “red panda”, despite the unlikeliness. In other conditions, the template for the unknown might be an angel, Sasquatch, a UFO, faeries, or a will-o-wisp. Since the brain is working with so little evidence, it essentially makes it up, making our observations highly suspect.

Speaking of Priming

The suggestibility of the brain extends to more than just the unknown and unusual. As it turns out, even everyday events can be shaped by subtle cues in our environment. In one study, two groups of subjects were asked to fill out a questionnaire, and offered a crumbly biscuit by a research assistant afterward. In the room where the survey was administered to one of the two groups, there was a hidden pail of water with a splash of cleaning fluid, filling the air with a slight scent.
The survey was a McGuffin; the real object of the study was to see what subjects would do after they ate the crumbly biscuit. What happened is this: the participants in the room where the smell of cleaning fluid hung in the air were much more likely to clean up the crumbs left by the biscuit than the others.
A subtle effect to be sure (they ought to try it with teenagers!) but a good example of what psychologists call “priming”. Priming calls on deep memory associations in the brain — like the association of the smell of cleaning products with the act of cleaning — which seems to trigger responses without any conscious awareness or intention on our part. Isn’t that great?

Hey hey, good looking!

It’s not just priming that can subtly and unconsciously affect the way we behave; as it happens, the beliefs other people have about us, even if they don’t know us, can also affect our behavior. For example, psychologists set up telephone conversations between a man and a woman. Neither could see the other. Before the conversation started, the man was shown a photograph of the woman he was going to meet on the phone. However, the photograph was actually picked randomly, and depicted either an attractive woman or an unattractive one (how this was determined I don’t know).
Men who believed they were talking with an attractive woman were much more friendly, active, and open during the conversation than men who believed they were talking to an unattractive woman. What’s more, the women — who did not know whether their partners believed they were attractive or unattractive — responded differently depending on the beliefs of their partner. Women who were believed to be unattractive were more detached, cold, formal, and even rude than those who were believed to be attractive.
Clearly these women were picking up on and responding to unconscious clues in the way their male partners spoke to them. When men were friendly and talkative, the women responded with warmth; when men were distant, women responded accordingly. But the subjects themselves did not report any difference in the way they thought they had acted — for them, they were just “normal”.
But there’s more. In interviews before the conversation took part, the men were asked to describe what they expected their partners to be like. Men who thought they were about to talk to an attractive woman said they expected her to be warm, open, friendly, and so on — which in most cases is exactly what she was. Men who expected their partner unattractive thought they would also be cold, distant, and unfriendly — and lo and behold, she was. In our minds, attractive people are better people — and apparently thinking makes it so.

“Nothing more than a dog’s breakfast”

Well, that’s brains for you — ” three and a half pounds of blood-soaked sponge” in Kurt Vonnegut’s colorful estimation. Somehow, this little bundle of nerves and fat manages to guide us through our days, most of the time without getting us killed. Along the way, though, these little quirks — and a host of others, which I’ll revisit at a later date — can cause a lot of trouble. Good people’s talents are overlooked because we don’t like the looks of them. The worst aspects of our personalities are brought to the fore because of a subtle environmental cue, like a briefcase on a table. We imagine things that aren’t there — and get offended when others have the audacity to question our observations. We find ourselves doing things with no rational explanation for why were doing them — and even worse, sometimes we don’t find ourselves doing them, we do them without even knowing!
It all seems rather hopeless, but I’m optimistic. Knowing how our minds get in their own way, we can catch these behaviors and put them right — or put them to work for us. It takes work — individual work for sure, and in some cases the work of our entire societies. But I’m convinced we can think of ways to minimize the negative effects and maximize the positive.
If only we didn’t have to rely on the same brains to figure that out…
By Dustin Wax

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Eldon Taylor: Book Launch: Self Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology

Eldon Taylor is an award winning New York Times bestselling author, the talk radio host of the popular show, Provocative Enlightenment, and the Director of Progressive Awareness Research.  He is a Fellow in the American Psychotherapy Association and a Certified Master Chaplain by the American Board for Certification in Homeland Security.  For years Eldon was a practicing criminalist specializing in lie detection and forensic hypnosis.  He has earned doctorates in Clinical Psychology and Pastoral Psychology. Eldon has also served as an expert witness in both hypnosis and subliminal communication. He is the inventor of the patented InnerTalk technology and the author of over 300 books and audio/video titles.

Excerpted from NY Times best-selling author, Eldon Taylor's latest release, Self-Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology: A How-to Guide for Personal-Empowerment Tools You Can Use Anywhere! To get your copy of this manual to learning self-hypnosis and the art of creating your own custom subliminal program, please click here.
Join the book launch party and receive over 100 bonus gifts plus the chance to enter drawings to win super-gifts from supporters of Eldon, such as Linda Evans (Emmy nominated and award winning actress), Dee Wallace (award winning actress), Steven Halpern (award winning composer and recording artist) and many more! This is a limited time event. Please click here for more details:

11 Questions With Eldon Taylor: Author of Self-Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology

Bloggers Q&A
Self-Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology

Here with us today is New York Times best selling author, Eldon Taylor, to talk with us about his brand new book, Self-Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology: A How-to Guide for Personal-Empowerment Tools You Can Use Anywhere.

1) You have been called the “Master of the Mind” and “one of the world’s foremost experts in preconscious processing.” Can you tell us something about your background and how you became interested in hypnosis and subliminal communication?
I think I have always been interested in the power of the mind; early on I read a lot of books on the subject and attended numerous schools specializing in hypnosis. However, my interest really took off in the 80s. I was a practicing criminalist at the time and I frequently ran lie-detection examinations. One of the problems in lie-detection tests is in eliminating the inconclusives—some people are so nervous about the procedure itself that, even though they are innocent, they can give readings that would indicate deception. On the other hand, some people are very experienced at taking lie-detection tests and they use counter-measures. I was looking for a way to make the innocent person more relaxed and the guilty person, more tense.
I came across some research regarding law enforcement using subliminal audio programs in a hostage situation, and although I could never verify this, it did give me the incentive to explore this area a whole lot more. I contacted numerous companies who were producing subliminal self-help programs and I discovered that the whole field was rife with mis-information. Quite frankly, many of these companies simply did not understand the process themselves, and as a result they were producing products with no retrievable subliminal content, poorly designed affirmations, or affirmations presented in such a way that the subconscious mind could only perceive it as being gibberish.
To cut a long story short, I did my own research and created my own subliminal program for use in my lie detection practice. The results were phenomenal! My inconclusives pretty much disappeared and I found myself launching a whole new career. If subliminal communication could be so effective in this scenario, what else could we achieve with it? I created more subliminal audio programs and allowed them to be tested by numerous independent institutions and researchers (such as scientists at Stanford University). The results were all positive.
My fascination with hypnosis followed a very similar path. Initially I used hypnosis for forensic applications, but as I learned more and more about the power of the mind, I started using hypnosis as a tool for personal growth.
As my reputation grew, I was called in as an expert court witness with regards to both hypnosis and subliminal communication.

2) Hasn’t subliminal communication been proven not to work and aren’t there laws banning their use anyway?
Now that is an interesting question! Why would you need laws banning their use if they have been proven ineffective. And if there were laws banning their use, how come they are being used so much today—in music, entertainment, movies and even during election cycles.
The fact is, there has been a concerted effort, by those who use these methods the most, to prevent laws from being created that would ban the use of subliminals. This is something I experienced first hand when we tried to introduce a bill in Utah to allow subliminals to be used only with informed consent. I was amazed at the number of major advertising companies who sent representatives to fight against this bill.
The closest thing we have today is a codification by the FCC that says subliminals should not be used. However, where the station may lose their broadcast license if they ‘knowingly’ air material containing subliminal information, there is no other punishment attached to this. As a result, even when George Bush’s campaign was discovered using a subliminal ad against Al Gore, nothing could be done about it—the stations broadcasting the commercial did not ‘know’ about the subliminal
content, and there was no punishment that could be levied against Bush’s team for having included it. What is more interesting here is, subsequent research done at Adelphi University clearly showed that this ad would have influenced the voter!
If you do a quick search at youtube for subliminal ads, you will be amazed at how many there are and how frequently they are still being used. By turning the whole field into a joke, the mind manipulators are allowed to carry on using these techniques unhindered!

3) Isn’t hypnosis just a sci-fi myth – or can people really be made to do someone else’s bidding?
No – hypnosis is very real and has been researched extensively by the U.S. government. By slowing down brain wave activity it is possible to access memories you thought you had forgotten, change your feelings about an experience and prime yourself to act in a way of your choosing at some future event.
The fact is, everyone (except the very young and those with some cognitive deficiency that does not allow them to concentrate) can be hypnotized. However, you cannot be made to do something that would go against your own inner standards/values. If you were pushed in this way during a hypnosis session, you would simply come out of hypnosis!

4) How are hypnosis and subliminal communication related and why do you think they are vital tools for self-improvement?
Both hypnosis and subliminal technology deal directly with the subconscious mind, which is the repository of all of your experiences, feelings and reaction. These subconscious beliefs play a definite role in your ability to achieve goals. For example, if you were brought up to believe that ‘money is the source of all evil,’ and then you had the conscious desire to be rich and successful, this subconscious belief would keep finding ways to sabotage you. Or maybe your outer goal is to lose weight, but somewhere in your past you were hurt by a significant other, so you put on extra weight in order to avoid attracting unwanted attention. Until you deal with some of these subconscious beliefs, until your inner goals are in line with your outer goals, success will always elude you.
Hypnosis works by slowing down brainwave activity, which makes it easier to recover memories, to access your own subconscious beliefs and also to reprogram yourself for success. Subliminal communication works by bypassing conscious awareness and all of its defense mechanisms. It changes your self-talk (the beliefs held by your subconscious) from the inside out. As your self-talk changes, so does your life experience. It’s important to note, the current data suggests that approx. 90% of your choices are actually made by the nucleus accumbens, the area of the brain that is in our subconscious domain.

5) Can you share some of the greatest success stories using hypnosis?
I think my most amazing experience with hypnosis was when I was doing this for a client who needed to learn pain management. One day, after a normal session, she suddenly began to channel a Chinese entity! It seems he had some information specifically for me, but I had to send the audio recording off to the language department at the University of Utah before I could learn what he was saying!
However, that really is an anomalous kind of event! I think, not counting that one, I have used forensic hypnosis to assist a victim in providing identifying information after he was robbed at gun-point. Out of hypnosis, all he could remember was the size of the gun, but under hypnosis he even managed to remember the car and a partial license plate.
I have also used hypnosis for child birth, when a friend of mine asked for help as she wanted to minimize the use of drugs for pain.

6. What else can you use hypnosis for?
There are so many areas in which hypnosis has been used successfully. These range from weight loss and smoking, to pain management and stress, from enhancing sports performance to enhancing learning abilities, from self-healing to sex enhancement, and from meditation to past life regression.

7. Do you have any amazing success stories as a result of using subliminal communication?
All success stories are amazing, simply because they have improved the quality of that person’s life. However, some of the most fascinating stories would have to include the individual who credited using a program for Prosperity and Abundance for finding a winning lottery ticket, or the person who trades on the stock exchange and always does better when working with this same program. And I have received a number of letters from people in remission from cancer, who attribute this to using the Spiritual Healing for Cancer program that I offer.

8. What else can you use subliminal programs for?
Again, this list is as wide as those for hypnosis. Basically, if you do not believe you can succeed, then this belief will prevent you from becoming the best that you can be. The best part of my job is the many letters I receive, on a daily basis, telling me how much their lives have improved using my InnerTalk subliminal programs. I love hearing from the mother who is happy that her child is no longer afraid of school, or the student who has just passed their law school Bar exam, or the Olympic athlete who just won a medal. I have received letters regarding relationship, health, spirituality, better life, business and addictions. All of these are areas users have reported improvements in, which have resulted in an increased quality of life.

9. You say in your book that self-hypnosis and subliminal communication are the best self-help tools. Do you use them yourself, and if so, how?
Yes, I use them myself virtually every day! The subliminal programs are easy to use as they can just be played in the background as you go about your day. Sometimes I will be working on something specific, say avoiding catching a cold that is going around. In this instance I use the Accelerated Healing and Well-Being program. When I am not working on something specific, then I like to keep myself ‘tuned up’ and will use a program such as Optimism Plus or Quantum Younging. I actually have a number of programs that I have put on my i-phone, which of course has built in speakers. This way I can keep my phone in its holster and benefit from the subliminal programs whatever I am doing.
I generally use self-hypnosis twice a day. I try to take time out to meditate every day and self-hypnosis can really speed this process up. I can achieve in a 10 minute session what would take me half an hour if I did not use self-hypnosis. I also use self-hypnosis last thing at night. It is a great way to go to sleep and also for keeping myself focused on my goals while I am sleeping.

10. In your book, Self-Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology, you provide step-by-step instructions for learning self-hypnosis and for creating your own subliminal program. Is this really all you need, or is this just an introduction to more courses and classes the reader needs to go through before they can achieve any practical benefits?
No, I have tried to make the course as complete as possible. I explain the theory behind both processes, provide detailed information on how to do it all yourself, and give you examples of how you can take these techniques even further. The book comes with an audio CD so that you can experience all of this as well, so there can be no confusion about whether or not you are doing it correctly. Once you have been through this course, you will know:
* The 5 different steps for putting yourself into a hypnotic state;
* Several visualization, induction and deepening techniques, including deepening to eliminate distraction;
* All about post-hypnotic cues, affirmations, self-suggestions, how to uncover information and find the positive in negative experiences;
* How hypnosis can be used to create new habits, uncover hidden conflicts that often cause self-destructive patterns and discover new solutions to old problems; and
* Even how to use hypnosis for expanding conscious awareness, out of body awareness, regression-therapy, and automatic-writing/drawing!
You will also know:
* How subliminal communication works;
* Why it is so much more powerful than simply using affirmations;
* How to write effective affirmations for subliminal delivery;
* The importance of choosing the right soundtrack; and
* How you can create your own custom subliminal program, for whatever goal you seek to achieve!
I also provide plenty of examples of how to use these two techniques in your own self-improvement program.

11. Can you tell us a little about your special book launch event?
My publicist has really gone to town on this book launch. She has enlisted the support from a large number of my friends and colleagues and they are all offering additional bonus gifts when you get your copy during the book launch event. We also have numerous drawings for some other fabulous gifts from personalities such as Linda Evans (Emmy nominated and award winning actress and author), Dee Wallace (award winning actress, author, healer and teacher), Norm Shealy (M.D., researcher and teacher), Crystal Andrus (best-selling author and women’s advocate), Alex Loyd (author and teacher of The Healing Codes), Caroline Sutherland (author and renowned medical intuitive), Shazzie (author, teacher and raw food expert) and Steven Halpern (award winning composer and recording artist). There is also a drawing to win 2 tickets, airfare and hotel to a Hay House I Can Do It Conference, where you will have the chance to see Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay, myself and many other prominent self-help authors.

To learn more about this book launch, please click here.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Video: What Is Zen?

Friday, 19 October 2012

Why Are Some Men Attracted To Crazy Women?

Relationship issues account for (or at least have a very large part in) most of our emotional problems and difficulties. If we are depressed, stressed or angry it is highly likely relationship difficulties are at the heart of things; be it friends, boyfriends, wives, family or work colleagues. The same can be said if we are happy; relationships make our lives tick and romantic relationships can have the biggest effect on us because of the high highs and the low lows they entail. 
It's upsetting that such a large percentage of people suffer in their relationships quite blindly, they do not see the mistakes they are making, sometimes repeatedly, that to others are quite obvious (how many friends do we have that fall into that category?). The below article by Dr Tara J. Palmatier PsyD, hits the nail on the head with many themes concerning relationships from a man's perspective. This is not to say the problem comes from women at all, and I will follow up with a similar article for the ladies out there soon... enjoy.

Adult relationships are choices and you choose to become involved with these women. Even if your relationship makes you miserable, you’re getting something out of it. You attract these women because you’re telegraphing the signal, “Hey you, I’m into crazy ladies. Come torture me,” whether you’re aware of it or not.
There are a few possible reasons why you repeatedly get involved with crazy women in all their forms. If “crazy” gets you hot, it’s in your best interest to figure out why and break the pattern.
When you feel an overpowering, immediate chemistry toward a new woman, like you’ve always known her, without rhyme or reason, be wary. You probably already do know her. She’s most likely a new embodiment of unresolved relationship issues from childhood and adolescence—same issues, different packaging.
1) Yo’ Momma.
  • Was your mom hypercritical and intrusive? Was your dad passive and henpecked?
  • Was your dad around or did your mom drive him away?
  • Did your mom, dad or siblings make you feel inadequate? Did they pick on you?
  • Were you made to feel that nothing you did was ever good enough?
  • Did you feel like you had to defend yourself from the people who loved you?
We create relationship templates when we’re kids based on our parents’ relationship and the way our parents, siblings, grandparents, or anyone we sought affection and approval from treated us. If we’re lucky, we have healthy relationship role models to emulate as adults.
If you’re not one of the lucky ones, you’re probably re-enacting childhood relationships in an effort to negate your original feelings of hurt and loss by trying to have an emotionally corrective experience“If only I can get this person to love me the way I want to be loved then it will mean I’m good enough and everything is okay.” This is usually totally unconscious.
You’re trying to “get it right” as an adult, but with the wrong person. The women you’re attracted to aren't any more capable of giving you what you need and want than your parent(s), sibling(s), or whomever caused your original emotional injury. You end up repeating the same doomed relationship pattern with the same type of person. This pattern will keep repeating itself until you become aware of it and begin to make different relationship choices.
2) Knight in shining armour.
  • Did one or both of your parents have substance abuse or addiction problems?
  • Did your caregiver(s) suffer from depression, anxiety or extreme mood swings?
  • Did you feel like you had to protect your mom or dad from being hurt or upset?
  • Did you act as a referee or peacemaker because your parents had constant conflict?
  • Did your mom and/or dad make you their confidante when they divorced or during their marriage?
  • Did you feel like you had to protect your family from each other and outsiders?
If so, you were probably a parentified child—having to take care of the grown-ups who were supposed to be taking care of youParentified sons often grow up to have adult relationships with women who need to be “rescued,” when in reality, it’s the men who need to be rescued from these women who appear to be fragile waifs, but quickly turn into abusive aggressors when you disappoint them or fail to meet her expectations, which are often unrealistic.
Emotionally abusive women often present themselves as “helpless victims,” which makes the men who are attracted to them feel needed, strong, and powerful—at firstThese women are usually bottomless pits of never-ending, un-meetable needs. They’ll make you suffer for not meeting their unrealistic expectations or for hurting one of their many ultra-sensitive feelings, which may or may not have a basis in reality.
This type of woman doesn’t need rescuing; she needs a mood stabilizer and a warning label. You can’t save another person. You have to start taking care of yourself and that means protecting yourself from professional victims who prey upon kind hearted rescuer types.
3) The first cut is the deepest.
  • Was your family healthy, loving and supportive for the most part?
  • Are you attracted to women who take you on an emotional roller coaster ride and aren’t able to reciprocate your affection?
  • Was your first girlfriend or crush exciting? Did you experience extreme highs and lows with her?
  • Does your family worry about your relationship choices?
Some men recreate their first painful romantic relationship from adolescence over and over again, even though they had healthy relationship models as children. You may be so scarred by your first love that you fall for the same type of woman as an adult, trying to  finally “win” her love.
Having your first love crush you is a shock to the system. It didn’t compute and you have probably spent a lot of time and energy trying to make the same relationship work with different women. My advice: Give it up and follow the path of least resistance.
Additionally, because this was your first relationship experience, you may mistakenly believe that it’s what relationships are supposed to be like and have patterned subsequent relationships on it. Perhaps you believe that romantic relationships are supposed to hurt and make you suffer and, therefore, are attracted to women who guarantee that outcome.
In all three cases, men choose the same kind of women repeatedly with the same results—painful and futile relationships. You’re compelled to make these women love you and treat you well, with the childish insistence that it turn out differently this time. Why?
  • It feels familiar.
  • It reconfirms what you believe/feel about yourself and relationships. This includes feelings of not being good enough, being unlovable, that there’s something wrong with you, that love is supposed to hurt or make you feel bad, or that you have to “win” love through meeting unreasonable conditions.
  • To finally gain the approval/acceptance you didn’t receive as a child.
  • To try to “save” the parent you couldn’t help way back when.
  • To win over your first love.
Explore what needs you’re trying to fulfil and what the old, no longer applicable rules of relationships to which you’re still abiding. Understand that these women are highly unlikely to ever meet these needs, which are typically for approval, acceptance, and unconditional love. Acknowledge how you were hurt in the past AND THEN MAKE DIFFERENT RELATIONSHIP CHOICES.
This won’t be easy. Initially, being loved and accepted for who you are will feel unnatural and uncomfortable. Ride out the discomfort until feeling good in a relationship feels normal.You couldn’t choose your first familial love relationships as a child, but you can choose the kind of woman you want to be with now that you’re an adult.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Hijacking Emotion the Key to Engaging Your Audience

The default to emotion is part of the human condition.
To better appreciate the role of emotion and what it allows an audience to do, we need to take a brief detour into evolutionary biology. The human brain can be understood as three separate brains working in tandem, if not completely integrated with each other.
The primitive brain and the limbic brain collectively make up the limbic system, which governs emotion. Within the limbic system, there is a structure called the amygdala, which leaders need to understand.
When faced with a stimulus, the amygdala turns our emotions on. It does so instantaneously, without our having to think about it. We find ourselves responding to a threat even before we’re consciously aware of it. Think of jumping back when we see a sudden movement in front of us, or being startled by the sound of a loud bang. We also respond instantaneously to positive stimulus without thinking about it: Note how we tend to smile back when someone smiles at us; how we are immediately distracted when something we consider beautiful enters our line of sight.
The amygdala is the key to understanding an audience’s emotional response, and to connecting with an audience. It plays an important role in salience, what grabs and keeps our attention. In other words, attention is an emotion-driven phenomenon. If we want to get and hold an audience’s attention, we need to trigger the amygdala to our advantage. Only when we have an audience’s attention can we then move them to rational argument.
I have become somewhat notorious in the programs I teach at NYU for the way I start each class. I teach all-day sessions on Saturdays, and as the 9 a.m. start time approaches, most students are still milling about, getting settled, and chatting with each other. At precisely 9 a.m. I touch a button on my remote mouse and play a sudden blast of very loud music. Most of the time it’s the chorus of “Let’s Get It Started” by the Black Eyed Peas, but to keep the element of surprise I sometimes vary the selection. After a 10-second burst of very loud music, I have every student’s undivided attention. I then lock in the connection: I smile, welcome them, thank them for investing a full Saturday in developing their careers. Only then do I begin the class. I have hijacked their amygdalas. We need audiences to feel first, and then to think.
Five Strategies for Audience Engagement
When leaders are speaking to audiences that are under stress--even if the audience is merely tired or distracted--the leader can take the amygdala into account in determining how the content is structured and how the audience is engaged. Here are five ways to engage effectively:
  1. Establish connection before saying anything substantive. And remember that the connection is physical. Techniques to connect include asking for the audience’s attention, if only with a powerful and warm greeting, followed by silence and eye contact. The key is to make sure the audience isn’t doing something else so that they pay attention. 
  2. Say the most important thing first once you have their attention. The most important thing should be a powerful framing statement that will control the meaning of all that follows. Remember that frames have to precede facts.
  3. Close with a recapitulation of the powerful framing statement that opened the presentation.
  4. Make it easy to remember. Keep in mind how hard it is for people to listen, hear, and remember. One way is to repeat key points. I often hear from clients, “But I’ve already said this. I don’t need to say it again.” Or, “I don’t want to say it again.” Or, “If I have to say this again, I’ll throw up. I’m tired of repeating myself.” But leaders need to constantly repeat the key themes, within any given presentation, and in general as a matter of organizational strategy. It doesn’t matter if they’re bored with saying it. The audience needs to hear it, again and again. And again. As a general principle, people need to hear things three times if they are to even pay attention to it. And because any given audience member at any time may be distracted or inattentive, he or she is unlikely to hear or attend to everything that is said. So leaders need to repeat key points far more than three times to be sure that everyone has heard it at least three times. One of the burdens of leadership is to have a very high tolerance for repetition.
  5. Follow the rule of threes. Have three main points. But no more than three main points; no more than three topics; no more than three examples per topic. Group thoughts in threes; words in threes; actions in threes. (See how I just used the Rule of Threes in that sentence?) Think of Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address: “We cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.”
The default to emotion is part of the human condition. The amygdala governs the fight-or-flight impulse, the triggering of powerful emotions, and the release of chemicals that put humans in a heightened state of arousal. Humans are not thinking machines. We’re feeling machines who also think. We feel first, and then we think. As a result, leaders need to meet emotion with emotion before they can move audiences with reason.

By Helio Fred Garcia