Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Application of Theory of Mind in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Part 1


(This blog was originally posted on December 16, 2014)


Photo by Rick Hustead



One of my favorite holiday traditions is to watch the 1964 stop-action film, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Yes, after repeating this activity since I was a very young child, it is now a subconscious known for me. So, last week I curled up in front of the television and sipped a home-made eggnog latte while I enjoyed the familiar story one more time. For fun, I tried to notice “new” things in and about the show that I might have overlooked in previous viewings. I did: I saw a tuft of bright yellow hair sprouting between the tiny antlers of Dasher, Rudolph’s new friend at the reindeer tryouts. And then it dawned on me that that Comet, the “coach” of the reindeer tryouts, was sporting a baseball cap as well as a whistle. How had I never spotted those details before?

I know from my hypnotherapy training that it is normal and natural to not notice every aspect or characteristic about a person or an event. There are so many physical stimuli in the world that we could perceive that being consciously aware of each sensation would be completely overwhelming. To protect us from this kind of overload, the subconscious mind automatically associates and characterizes information (message units) as being “known,” or familiar; and “unknown,” or unfamiliar. Over time, we automatically ignore the known information because after repeated exposure, the SCM knows there is no associated danger with the stimulus and it can focus on other things. Conversely, a new piece of information can signify danger, and we will respond to that stimulus defensively until we feel safe and comfortable again.

This model forms the basis of Hypnosis Motivation Institute founder John Kappas, Ph.D.’s Theory of Mind. According to Dr. Kappas, the subconscious part of the mind is uncomfortable about and resistant to doing new or different things even when the conscious mind (logic, reason, will-power/free-will and reasoning) says that it’s okay to do so. The SCM likes and wants to stick to what is familiar, comforting and safe: i.e., what it knows. Guess what? The characters in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer seemed to behave according to their own specific set of known and unknown message units, too. Furthermore, the characters’ attitudes and behaviors mirrored a lot of our own (e.g., bullying, low self-esteem, specific beliefs about the holidays). Following are more of my observations about the program in the context of Dr. Kappas’s Theory of Mind.


  • When Rudolph is born, his father, Donner, is horrified that his son has a shiny red nose. No other reindeer has a red nose. Even Santa Claus initially dismisses Rudolph as being eligible as a member of the sleigh team because of it. Donner immediately fashions a cover for the young buck’s nose to conceal Rudolph’s “nonconformity.” However, when the cover slips off to reveal Rudolph’s shiny nose after the flying tryouts (which he wins), his peers laugh at and ostracize him.
  • Meanwhile, back at Santa’s Castle, an elf named Hermey is having a hard time in the workshop. His boss and colleagues ridicule him because he wants to be a dentist, not a toymaker.
  • Even though their characteristics and talents are different (unknown) to each other, the fact that Hermey and Rudolph are social outcasts in their communities enables them to bond over this shared status. Later on, they also befriend Yukon Cornelius, a nonconforming mineral prospector who goes with them to the Island of Misfit Toys in hopes of finding someplace they all do fit in.
  • The Abominable Snow Monster of the North (The Bumble) is initially presented as a fearsome beast that only wants to ruin Christmas and probably bring physical harm to other creatures. He is huge with shaggy white fur, sharp teeth and long claws. The first time we see The Bumble, Donner is teaching Rudolph the fine art of being a reindeer. Suddenly there is a ferocious roar; after evading the Snow Monster by hiding behind a snowdrift, Donner tells his son how dangerous the monster is and that everyone must always be careful to avoid it. He doesn’t explain why the Bumble is so frightening and dangerous, but the young buck immediately files the information his father provided and the memory of his terrifying near-encounter with the beast as a new known. By the way, this scene is a great example of how youngsters develop their suggestibility.
  • Ultimately, as they become more familiar with each other’s differences, they become more comfortable with and even appreciative of their individual talents and characteristics. For example, Hermey the Elf’s dentistry skills also prove useful in rescuing Rudolph and his family when he removes all of the Abominable Snow Monster’s sharp teeth. Not only does this action make the Bumble far less scary to the citizens of Christmas Town, but also reveals the gentle creature he really wants to be. Meanwhile, Yukon Cornelius discovers that The Bumble’s secret wish is to be useful, and since he really is a nice guy and conveniently very tall, he’s given a job placing the star on top of Santa’s Christmas tree.


Of course, Rudolph’s shiny red nose wins everyone over when Santa realizes that the now-famous reindeer is the only one that can save Christmas by turning on his bright nose to guide the sleigh through a ferocious blizzard. And this outcome is probably the most famous “known” in the story—now legend—of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.



Hypnotherapy for Weight Loss

This 10-week weight-loss package is designed to help you shed extra pounds using hypnosis and therapeutic guided-imagery techniques. It is customized to your specific weight-loss goal, and materials are provided at each weekly session to help you keep track of your progress and maintain motivation throughout this program. In addition, a complimentary recording of the hypnosis portion of each session (CD or digital file) is provided at the end of each appointment to reinforce what you worked on that week. 

$1,250 for 10-week series. (This is a $250 savings!)  
Fee must be paid at the start of the program. This promotional discount may not be combined with any other offers.




Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified 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 http://www.calminsensehypnotherapy.com/.
© 2018

Monday, December 17, 2018

Lying and Passive-Aggressive Behavior


(This blog was originally posted on November 28, 2016)



Photo by Rick Hustead




Lying, losing syndrome, procrastination, the desire to control authority and a tendency to lose a job/ get fired are all manifestations of passive-aggressive behavior, observed Hypnosis Motivation Institute founder John Kappas Ph.D. and his colleague, psychiatrist Dr. Ron Hodges, M.D. Furthermore, a passive-aggressive person typically has very childlike, neurotic behavior, low-self-esteem, is not assertive and tends to be impulsive. This person also tells lies to control authority figures and avoid conflict with other people. The decision to tell the truth (or not) depends on how the person believes or expects the other party to react, Dr. Kappas explained. However, these deceptions usually only make the situation worse for the person.

“Sooner or later, lies catch up with you,” he said.

According to developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, passive-aggressive behavior typically begins between the ages of three and six years. This age span is categorized as the third, or play age/loco-motor stage of development, when the youngster is developing a sense of independence. At this age, a child is motivated to try new things and show initiative. However, if the parents/guardians discourage or even punish the child for asserting independence this way, he or she is likely to become angry, frustrated and/or guilty and behave in various ways to “punish” the parents, Dr. Kappas said.

However, it is the passive-aggressive person who typically suffers the consequences of this behavior. For example, a child may insist that he doesn’t have to use the toilet before going on a car trip and then wets his pants five minutes into the journey. In adulthood, this behavior may carry over so the person sabotages his career. If there are conflicts in a romantic relationship, the person may leave clues that she is having an affair so the partner deduces what is going on without her actually having to confess about the other relationship.

To help a client resolve such passive-aggressive behavior, Dr. Kappas recommended working to increase the person’s self-confidence and self-esteem. “The lying will decrease as confidence builds.” The next step is to expose and desensitize the person to different situations that could trigger the lying response. The hypnotherapist should also work with the client to be able to face people and diplomatically resolve conflicts, which will also reduce the urge to tell a lie, the HMI founder added.

It is important to construct a framework in which a client can cognitively, consciously identify and understand how and why he uses passive-aggressive behavior to deal with a conflict. In hypnosis, therapeutic techniques such as role-playing, hypnodrama or guided imagery can help identify, address and desensitize the person to various stimuli that trigger lying. (For example, have the client imagine talking to the boss to ask for a raise.) While the person is relaxed and in hypnosis, the hypnotherapist should give suggestions that replace the person’s negative/self-destructive behaviors (e.g., passive-aggression) with constructive beliefs about increased self-worth/self-confidence and positive behaviors (e.g., problem-solving skills).



Hypnotherapy for Weight Loss
This 10-week weight-loss package is designed to help you shed extra pounds using hypnosis and therapeutic guided-imagery techniques. It is customized to your specific weight-loss goal, and materials are provided at each weekly session to help you keep track of your progress and maintain motivation throughout this program. In addition, a complimentary recording of the hypnosis portion of each session (CD or digital file) is provided at the end of each appointment to reinforce what you worked on that week. 

$1,250 for 10-week series. (This is a $250 savings!)  
Fee must be paid at the start of the program. This promotional discount may not be combined with any other offers.




Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified 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 http://www.calminsensehypnotherapy.com/.
© 2018

Friday, December 14, 2018

Thoughts of the Day

Photo by Sara Fogan




Every now and then I like (and need) to take a few moments and remind myself about what is really important to me, in my life. If you follow me on my Calminsense Hypnotherapy Facebook page you may have seen some of these quotes before on this page, or will in the future. Many of these Quotes of the Day are beautiful examples and illustrations of the work I do as a hypnotherapist, so I will probably draw on them in future essays.


  • “To let go does not mean to get rid of. To let go means to let be.” – Lolly Daskal

  • “If you don’t love yourself, you will always be chasing after people who don’t love you, either.” – Mandy Hale

  • “Don’t let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” – Dalai Lama

  • “Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind.” – Buddha


  • "You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level." – Eckhart Tolle

  • “Don’t chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing and work hard. The right people—the ones who really belong in your life—will come to you. And stay.” – Will Smith

  • “You're more likely to experience success if you are inspired by other people's victories instead of wasting time finding fault with them.” – Unknown

  •  “Worrying won’t stop the bad stuff from happening; it just stops you from enjoying the good.” –   @911Well

  • “A dream becomes a goal when action is taken toward its achievement.” – Bo Bennett




Hypnotherapy for Weight Loss
This 10-week weight-loss package is designed to help you shed extra pounds using hypnosis and therapeutic guided-imagery techniques. It is customized to your specific weight-loss goal, and materials are provided at each weekly session to help you keep track of your progress and maintain motivation throughout this program. In addition, a complimentary recording of the hypnosis portion of each session (CD or digital file) is provided at the end of each appointment to reinforce what you worked on that week. 

$1,250 for 10-week series. (This is a $250 savings!)  
Fee must be paid at the start of the program. This promotional discount may not be combined with any other offers.



Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified 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 http://www.calminsensehypnotherapy.com/.
© 2018