Thursday, July 27, 2017


(This blog was originally posted on June 22, 2016)

“Evolve into the person you always wanted to be.” – Shri Nagesh

Photo by Rick Hustead

One of my psychology professors at college described a philosophy of developmental psychology whereby each person is actually a completely different organism at different stages of development. This concept is understandable if you compare a photograph taken of you as an infant and compare the image to you as a toddler, young child (age 5-7), at age 10, early teens, etc. through your age right now. When you look hard at specific features and details of your expression, shape of your ears/nose/eyes and even the way you clasp your hands in front of your body, you can see traits and features that are totally “you.” But there are will also be other attributes that are less obvious and even invisible, such as the knowledge, experience, beliefs and attitudes that you have acquired and developed over the years. Today you may not be able to do some of the physical activities you enjoyed when you were 10 years old, let alone remember participating in that activity.

From birth to whatever age you are right now, reading this blog, is actually a long time in which you will have had plenty of opportunities to develop—evolve—into the person you are today. Whether your suggestibility is physical (direct and literal) or emotional (inference and metaphor), over time you have been acquiring, processing and acting upon various physical/sensory stimuli that have helped to mold your belief systems and behaviors. Furthermore, your sexual personality facilitates the attraction to another person with whom to eventually create a strong partnership bond. Then, if you choose, this relationship will facilitate the creation of your own family. From a strictly biological or even Darwinian perspective, such creation of new generations is the evolutionary goal of the human species.

But there is another, more recent, modern concept of evolution: self-growth. In the last 50 years or so, there have been many tremendous opportunities to achieve what 20th Century psychologist Abraham Maslow described as “self-actualization.” According to his Hierarchy of Needs theory, once a person’s basic needs for survival and social integration are achieved the focus shifts to achieving personal goals such as self-fulfillment and realizing our potential for emotional and spiritual growth. Modern advances in science and technology have enabled us to learn more about different cultures and travel to far-away places and experience more “life” before settling down to raise a family. In the United States and many other Western countries and cultures, it is more acceptable to postpone starting a family to work on personal development and achieve personal goals, first. The advent of social media has enabled us to express ourselves and share our beliefs and opinions with a much wider audience than could previous generations. Without our ancestors’ and previous generations’ life experiences and technological advances that occurred during their lifetimes, it is unlikely that we would be able to enjoy these opportunities, either.

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified clinical hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit
© 2017

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Open to Interpretation

(This blog was originally posted on June 23, 2016)

“Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel
about what you know.” – Jim Rohn

The sentiment in the quote above is very similar to a saying that the late hypnotherapist, Alex G. Kappas, Ph.D., used to tell his students when explaining (mis)communication. Here is the quote: “I know you believe you think you understand what I have just said; but I am not sure that what you heard is not what I meant.” Are you confused? Don’t worry about it; the play on words is intentional and meant to illustrate his point: effective communication is equally a matter of expression interpretation. When the message or “point” of that communication is missed or misunderstood, all sorts of chaos can ensue.

For example, in the recent episode of Game of Thrones: “Battle of the Bastards,” a particularly nasty character warned his estranged wife that he would always be a part of her. Like other devoted fans of the show, those words set off a number of alarm bells in my mind. “Could Sansa be pregnant? After everything that horrible man put her through, could she really be carrying Ramsay Bolton’s baby?” I was alternately horrified and sad for her.

Then I took a deep breath and decided not to second-guess the implications of Lord Bolton’s warning. First of all, the plot of GoT is nothing if not a mental chess game. I, for one, have no intention of spending a year wondering about Sansa Stark’s state (with child or not) like I fretted for eight months whether Jon Snow truly died in last year’s season finale. (Spoiler alert: he did not.) I reminded myself that emotional suggestibility makes it more likely to read/interpret a hidden meaning into a statement like that. Author George R.  R. Martin and the skilled filmmakers, script-writers and directors who have brought his best-selling books to celluloid life know how to create action and scenarios that seduce readers and viewers, taking us with them into their fantastic worlds.

Conversely, one of the series co-stars (Liam Cunningham, “Davos Seaworth”) reportedly told the Huffington Post that his interpretation of Lord Bolton’s warning was more likely a literal statement of fact than foreshadowing the birth of his heir. Cunningham explained that Bolton wanted Sansa to know that while their time together was fairly short, she would always remember and feel how he tortured her and these memories would continue to torment her. If you have read the books and/or watched their video incarnation on HBO, you know exactly why his words would be true. 

Having said that, in keeping with Dr. Alex Kappas’s instruction and the guessing-games and mental gymnastics Game of Thrones subjects (pun intended) its fans to, the true meaning of this statement truly is up for inference and interpretation. And a little (or a lot of) imagination.

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified clinical hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit
© 2017