Hypnosis – The Universe Within | David Bernstein | TEDxConcordia

Published on Mar 7, 2016

A fascinating journey through the subconscious mind, with Montreal Hypnotherapist David Bernstein.

A graduate of Concordia University in 1979, David Bernstein spent countless years in the business world until he discovered the wonders of clinical hypnosis. In 1993, he suffered from a serious sports injury that led to five years of chronic pain. No doctor, medication or treatment could relieve him of his pain until a friend suggested he try hypnosis. Upon seeing a hypnotist, he was immediately cured. This prompted him to become a hypnotherapist, in which he continues to relieve so many Montrealers of their vices and fears by digging into the subconscious.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

Access this video via Youtube by clicking here

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Can hypnosis heal you? TED Talks

Daniel Robaczewski TEDxLondonBusinessSchool

Published on May 31, 2016

In his entrancing talk, Daniel gives a glimpse into how hypnosis works and explores the power of the human mind.

The discovery that hypnosis is not magic, but a legitimate tool used in psychotherapy and personal development led Daniel Robaczewski to start performing with a group of enthusiasts on the streets of Warsaw at the age of 17. During the journey that followed, he became a certified hypnotist, participated in hundreds of hours of workshops, hypnotised over a thousand people and taught hundreds of his own students, including psychologists, psychiatrists and actors.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

Access the original link at Youtube by clicking here.

 

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Hypnotherapy for phobia of driving

‘I Tried Hypnotherapy To Deal With My Driving Phobia—Here’s What Happened’

“Whenever I got into the driver’s seat, dread would consume my entire body.”

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Image from original link at Women’s Health

I have a big secret that I’ve been struggling with over the past 13 years: I am terrified of driving. The fear is so crippling and persistent that I’ve turned down plans to go places when I knew there was no easy way for me to get there using public transportation.

The logical, rational part of my brain is acutely aware that driving is a necessity. It’s not that I don’t physically know how to drive—I passed my driver’s license test on the first try. But somehow, this seemingly benign, everyday activity had seized up and taken hold of me. I was paralyzed by what I was convinced was my impending doom, despite the statistical improbability. Whenever I got into the driver’s seat, dread would consume my entire body. My heart rate would accelerate, and my palms would be slick with sweat. Living in Brooklyn, a congested metropolitan area where you can encounter nearly every hazardous road condition imaginable within a 10-block radius only exacerbated the issue.

My phobia is especially baffling because overall, I’m not a scared kind of person. At times, I can be downright fearless. One of my biggest passions is traveling around the world. Some of my favorite adventures include swimming with sharks (without a cage), helicoptering around waterfalls, and zip-lining thousands of feet in the air. How could I metaphorically take the wheel in so many different areas of my life but literally not be able to get from Point A to Point B? There is no deeper sense of shame than not being able to be fully autonomous and rely on yourself.

Finding A Practitioner

Since my goal has always been to eventually buy a house in the suburbs with my husband and start a family, I decided to try something radical to conquer my fear of driving once and for all. I had read that hypnotherapy could be used to treat phobias, so I searched for a medical professional through the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis who might be able to help me. ASCH provides referrals to licensed health and mental health care professionals who use clinical hypnosis in their practices. In addition to offering certification programs, this interdisciplinary organization provides practitioners with ethical and treatment guidelines. To be eligible for membership, the provider must have at least a master’s degree and a valid license to practice in a health-related discipline, as well as undergo formal training and engage in continuing education.

Given the intimate nature of hypnotherapy, it was important to me to find an accredited therapist with whom I had a great rapport. I spoke to three medical professionals before connecting with Traci Stein, a clinical psychologist. She immediately made me feel at ease, as if I were talking to an old friend. “Beware of people who say they are hypnotists but have little to no training,” she told me. “It’s important to ensure that the person treating you for a particular issue is also licensed and otherwise qualified to treat your concern even without hypnosis.”

Hypnotherapy can get a bad rap from being used for entertainment purposes. We’ve all seen the silly and unrealistic depictions in films likeGet Out, where the patient appears to lack any control and is being held in a trance against their will. I later learned from Stein that this couldn’t be further from the truth, since patients are required to be fully conscious, active participants. Regardless of the stigma associated with hypnosis, I went into the process as open-minded as possible because I was willing to try anything to reclaim my independence again.

“Hypnosis can be very helpful for addressing behaviors that are deeply entrenched but unhealthy, such as smoking and overeating. It can also reduce anxiety, shed light on and shift dysfunctional relationship patterns, and help people overcome procrastination,” Stein says.

Stein says that hypnosis can be thought of as a tool to enhance someone’s attention to a therapist’s voice and decrease attention to outside thoughts that could disrupt the goal of the hypnotism. “Patients are highly focused and more receptive to positive suggestions because they are viewing the situation from the perspective of a detached observer,” she says. 

In a 2016 study published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine discovered that distinct areas of the brain show altered activity under hypnosis, finding changes in brain areas associated with focused attention, somatic and emotional control, and the awareness of a person’s internal and external environments during guided hypnosis sessions. 

Starting The Appointments

During my first phone call with Stein, she asked me some questions about my previous driving experiences and had me rate my fear level at every stage of the process (sitting in the car, pulling out of the driveway, parking, etc.). I was surprised to learn that a minor accident I was in as a child could have subconsciously triggered the phobia. She told me that people develop coping mechanisms to serve a purpose (in my case, stay safe from perceived danger) but over time, as we grow, they no longer serve us and we need to acquire new tools.

Before our first session, I listened to audio files that Stein had recorded to help train my body to respond more quickly to her voice and the hypnotherapy. “I’ve found that like most things, with hypnosis, practice makes perfect. Think of it as developing the ‘muscle’ of your mind in a specific way,” Stein says. Listening at home also helps to reinforce the positive messages of the hypnosis session in between appointments and in an ongoing way. 

Once we met in person, she asked where I am happiest, unencumbered by worry. Glancing at the seashells on the coffee table in front of me, I replied, “the beach.” Stein then explained that she would begin the hypnosis with imagery based on my happy place, bring me back to alertness, and then dive into the driving scenarios. 

I stared at a spot higher than my line of vision until my eyelids felt heavy and involuntarily closed. Stein painted a beautiful picture of my dream world, where I felt soft sand crunch beneath my feet and heard the sound of crashing waves. In the trance, her voice got further and further away. I was cognizant of what she was saying, but it’s as if I was in a cocoon. My breathing rhythmically slowed, the worries of the day dripping out of me like an IV. She asked me to press my thumb to my index finger, which would serve as a symbolic anchoring gesture. She explained that I could do this at any time during my driving to recall this sense of tranquility. 

Before I knew it, at least 10 minutes had passed, and Stein told me to imagine myself confidently walking toward my Jeep Grand Cherokee, keys in hand. She reframed what would normally be anxiousness about driving into excitement. As I drove along my route in my mind, I encountered obstacles that would usually stress me out, including obnoxious drivers and parallel parking into a tight spot that requires lots of maneuvering. In this state, I was able to see them for what they truly were and shrug them off. When I turned off the ignition and closed the door, I left my baggage where it belonged, deep in the recesses of my subconscious. 

“I would suggest that someone give it one or two sessions past the initial consult to see if hypnosis feels helpful,” Stein says. “However, if a problem is really longstanding or if the person is conflicted (especially unconsciously), about whether or not they truly want to make a specific change, this may require more sessions and possibly a shift to a more conventional psychotherapy approach.”

Getting Back On The Road

Over the next few driving outings, I notice some significant changes. My phobia, which was once equivalent to having someone screaming in my face, is now just a measly whisper (“are you sure you want to drive?”). Not only am I much calmer but I’m also able to listen to constructive feedback and be more aware of my driving mechanics. The most exciting development as a result of this experiment is that I have a strong desire to get in the car and drive now. 

“I’ve definitely had cases where the person was both highly hypnotizable and really motivated to make the change. These factors, plus having positive expectations about hypnosis all led to very profound and rapid results,” Stein says. 

I am still far from being a great driver. On the third drive after my hypnosis, I didn’t have time to practice mental rehearsal and visualize a successful trip, which is key to establishing a positive new habit. I had to rush to visit one of my relatives, who had just been discharged from the hospital. During the route to their house, I had to squeeze my SUV past a double-parked van, and the panic came temporarily flooding back.

So, I still have a long road ahead of me, including getting parallel parking down pat, going for car drives solo, and learning to drive on the highway, which I was never able to attempt until now because the thought made me too anxious. However, at least now I know that I have the tools necessary to begin to conquer those roadblocks, so to speak.

 

By Stefania Sainato, published by Women’s Health on August 9th, 2017. To read from original link please click here.

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How your brain decides what is beautiful

“…Beauty is a work in progress. The so-called universal attributes of beauty were selected for during the almost two million years of the Pleistocene. Life was nasty, brutish and a very long time ago…”

Anjan Chatterjee uses tools from evolutionary psychology and cognitive neuroscience to study one of nature’s most captivating concepts: beauty. Learn more about the science behind why certain configurations of line, color and form excite us in this fascinating, deep look inside your brain.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Anjan Chatterjee · Cognitive neuroscientist

Anjan Chatterjee seeks to answer a tantalizing question: Why is beauty so gripping?

Watch this video from TED Talks page by clicking here or YouTube by clicking here.

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A clever demonstration of how we simulate the mental experiences of story characters

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Simulating mental experiences. Image from original link at BPS Research Digest. 

By Christian Jarrett

Avid readers of novels know that they often take the perspective of the characters they read about. But just how far does this mental role-playing go? A new paper in the Journal of Memory and Language has provided a clever demonstration of how readily we simulate the thoughts of fictional characters. Borrowing a method from research into the psychology of deliberate forgetting, the researchers at Binghamton University, USA, show that when a story character needs to focus on remembering one series of words rather than another, the reader simulates this same memory process in their own minds. The character’s mental experience becomes the reader’s mental experience.

In one experiment, Danielle Gunraj and her colleagues asked about 100 undergrads to read a vignette about Nadia and Lyle, who’d just moved from New York to North Dakota. Nadia decides to go shopping for their new place and makes a list of 15 items to buy from an emporium (the vignette then details the list of items). Half the participants then read that Nadia changed her mind and that she drew up a new list of items (again these are listed) to buy at Walmart. The other half the participants read that Nadia decided to go to both the emporium and Walmart to buy both lists of items.

Effectively, this is an implicit version of an established memory test used in research into deliberate forgetting: half the participants had been cued that Nadia needed to forget the first list and focus on remembering the second; the other participants had been cued that both lists should be remembered.

After the vignette, Gunraj’s team gave the participants a surprise test of their memory for the two lists of items. They wanted to see how much they had simulated Nadia’s thought processes, depending on the version of the story they read. The key finding was that participants who read the version in which Nadia decided not to go the emporium and to only get the items at Walmart showed superior memory for the Walmart list compared with the participants who read the other story version. Although they didn’t show forgetting of the first, emporium list, it’s as if the Walmart-only participants had deliberately focused on remembering the second, Walmart list, just as their version of Nadia needed to do. “We conclude that Nadia’s memory experience influenced readers’ mental experience,” the researchers said.

A follow-up experiment was similar but this time undergrads read one of two versions of a vignette about a Frenchman Pierre who was learning English and had to study a list of 15 English words for an exam. In one version, he realises he has studied the wrong list and must study a new list of 15 more words instead. In the other version, he suddenly realises he needs to study the new list as well as the old.

Afterwards, when the participants were given a surprise memory test for both the lists, their performance again depended on the story version they’d read. The participants who read the version in which Pierre realised he’d initially studied the wrong list showed superior memory for the second list as compared with the participants who read the other story version. Again, the participants seem to have simulated the memory processes of the fictional character.

These are intriguing effects, although reading a short vignette in a psychology lab is of course quite different from being immersed in a literary novel. However, arguably we should expect the memory simulation effects uncovered in this research to be even more powerful for engrossing novels.

Another potential caveat relates to the task instructions. Although participants were surprised by the specific nature of the memory tests, and they weren’t given any explicit instructions to remember or forget the two lists, they were told to “read the passage from Nadia’s (or Pierre’s) perspective. Try to imagine what she is thinking and doing as you read. Furthermore, try to keep track of the details that are important to Nadia (Pierre). After reading the passage you will be asked to recall details from Nadia’s experience”. It’s not clear how much readers would have spontaneously simulated the characters’ memory processes without these instructions.

“Regardless of the exact mechanisms involved, we can conclude that readers’ mental representation was influenced by their understanding of the story character’s cognitive processes,” the researchers said. Their findings add to past research that’s shown how we automatically simulate the content of the stories we read: for instance, we are better at remembering a story character’s current location compared with their past location; and we’re quicker to make bodily movements that resemble character’s actions described in written sentences, as if we simulate their described actions in our minds.

Simulating a story character’s thoughts: Evidence from the directed forgetting task

Christian Jarrett (@Psych_Writer) is Editor of BPS Research Digest

Published on July 24, 2017. To read from original link at the British Psychological Society please click here.

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Psychologists aim to develop brain theory of hypnosis

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While under hypnosis, the test participants had to react on various symbols. In order to observe brain activity, the participants were linked up to an EEG. In this way, the psychologists were able to find out how hypnosis influences specific regions of the brain while it receives a visual stimulus.
Credit: Jan-Peter Kasper/FSU. Image from original link at sciencedaily.com

“In our project, we are looking at how the brain makes hypnotic states possible,” explains Professor Wolfgang Miltner, who has been working on the phenomenon for decades. “First, we looked more closely at the processing of visual stimuli.” In an experiment, they divided participants into three groups: individuals who were very suggestible, i. e. susceptible to hypnosis, individuals of average suggestibility, and a third group with low suggestibility. “While they were under hypnosis, we had them look at a screen on which we showed them various symbols, such as a circle or a triangle,” explains Dr Barbara Schmidt, who conducted the experiment. “The test participants were given the task of counting a particular symbol. At the same time, they were told to imagine that there was a wooden board in front of their eyes. As a result of the suggested obstruction, the number of counting errors rose significantly.” The effects were observed in all three test groups, but were strongest in those participants who were easiest to hypnotise.

In order for the researcher to observe brain activity as well, the test participants were linked up to an electroencephalograph (EEG). “When we look at the neural processes that take place in the brain while processing the symbols, we see that around 400 milliseconds after the presentation of the to-be-counted symbol, there is an extreme reduction in brain activity, although it should normally be very high,” explains Schmidt. “However, a short time before this — up to 200 milliseconds after presentation of the stimulus — there are no differences to be seen.” This means, therefore, that simple perception still takes place, but that deeper processing operations, such as counting, are greatly impaired. In this way, the University of Jena psychologists were able to find out how hypnosis influences specific regions of the brain while it receives a visual stimulus.
Establishing serious hypnosis Research
Further experiments are planned over the years to come. The researchers will be investigating alterations in the processing of acoustic stimuli as well as pain relief during hypnosis. “Until the 1920s, hypnosis was a standard part of medical training and it is being used again today in anaesthesia,” reports Miltner. “However, there is hardly any scientific research examining the reasons why hypnosis works as an anaesthetic.” Unfortunately, there is too much esoteric speculation on this topic, so that scientists working in this area frequently face scepticism. “We no longer have to show that hypnosis is effective, as that has been proven. The task is now above all to find out why and how such curious changes in perception are possible in people who are hypnotised,” says Miltner. “For this reason, we wish to establish hypnosis research that is serious and reputable.”

Story Source:

Materials

provided by Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. Schmidt, H. Hecht, E. Naumann, W. H. R. Miltner. The Power of mind: Blocking visual perception by hypnosis.Scientific Reports, 2017; 7 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-05195-2

Date:July 7, 2017 by Sciencedaily.com. To read from original link, please click here.

Source: Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena.

 

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The quest to understand consciousness | Antonio Damasio

Published on Dec 19, 2011

http://www.ted.com Every morning we wake up and regain consciousness — that is a marvelous fact — but what exactly is it that we regain? Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio uses this simple question to give us a glimpse into how our brains create our sense of self.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the “Sixth Sense” wearable tech, and “Lost” producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on TED.com, at http://www.ted.com/translate

To watch from original link at YouTube please click here.

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