Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Royal "We"

(This blog was originally posted on February 13, 2017)

Photo by Rick Hustead

We are not impressed.”

Have you ever wondered where that expression came from? I can’t remember the first time I heard it, but it seems like a long-running joke that members of the British Royal family are said to use a plural pronoun to express displeasure. I don’t know if that is true and they really speak that way, but I highly doubt it. However, since watching the television series Victoria on PBS, I have a suspicion how that tradition may have started and been misunderstood/misinterpreted, as well as why it has lasted so long.

Early in Queen Victoria’s reign as queen of England, her dog, Dash, was a constant companion and apparent confidant of the young monarch. At least in this series, the queen is occasionally shown depicted addressing her dog and even including his unspoken opinion about an issue during a discussion with an advisor. I have no way of knowing if this scenario actually happened, but it made me wonder if these kinds of incidents inspired the royal “we.” Except in this case, rather than simply being a vernacular affectation, the queen genuinely and legitimately meant we. Nonetheless, as generations passed and the little dog likely long forgotten, the expression has lived on—at least in the public’s imagination. It is familiar and comfortable because it has been around so long. It is known.

Consider a tradition you or your family follows. Do you know why the holiday meal must always be prepared in a certain way, using specific ingredients that are not actually included in the original recipe? Upon further investigation, it turned out that some of the original ingredients were unavailable during World War II, so the family improvised the original recipe. The dish turned out well and the substituted ingredients continued to be included in future preparations. Some people call their grandmother as “Nan” or “Gram,” and their grandfather “Paw-Paw” because that is how they were instructed to address their grandparents. Why? My guess is that way back in the family tree a youngster couldn’t pronounce Grandma or Grandpa and the new monikers stuck and eventually became a new subconscious known.

How interesting…

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
© 2018

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Defense Mechanisms: Turning Against Self

(This blog was originally posted on January 14, 2015)

Photo by Rick Hustead

Sometimes, emotional pain or intense disappointment because something didn’t go our way can lead to self-criticism and self-recrimination (self-blame). Rather than direct our negative emotion toward the cause or source of this pain, we turn on ourselves. For example, have you ever told yourself that the reason a romantic partner ended the relationship with you was because you were unattractive and actually “unworthy” of his or her love? Have you ever scolded yourself for being unskilled and “hopeless” at your job when a relatively new, junior colleague got the pay-raise or promotion you deserved after you landed that big account? Or, have you ever blamed yourself for “doing something stupid” that resulted in an injury while playing your favorite sport or doing a maintenance project around the house? If so, you have turned against yourself, which is a form of defense mechanism.

I previously touched on this phenomenon in my blog titled Stop! Negative Self Talk. Every time we disparage ourselves we create powerful, negative subconscious messages about ourselves that undermine our self-confidence and self-esteem. Since the subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between fantasy (imagination) and reality, thinking or speaking these negative beliefs in a moment of pique cause equal damage.

Like other defense mechanisms, turning against self is: 1) unconscious; 2) self-deceptive; 3) and it distorts reality through thoughts and action. According to the Hypnosis Motivation Institute founder John Kappas, Ph.D.’s Theory of Mind, people are subconsciously motivated to maintain and/or restore a known physical and emotional status of comfort and security. Whenever someone says or does something that causes physical injury, hurts your feelings or challenges your beliefs, your mind automatically tries to compensate for this threat or “pain” by activating this or another form of defense mechanism. In this case, you turn against yourself to avoid having to experience the pain of rejection or disappointment that someone else caused you.

To help someone change this behavior, while the client is in hypnosis I desensitize him or her to the situation (and similar situations) that triggered this defense mechanism. I also employ therapeutic guided-imagery techniques to help them reframe their negative beliefs and self-recrimination to positive thoughts that are self-nurturing and promote self-love and self-confidence. Finally, I use imagery techniques to enable the individual to find solutions for those situations and visualize how they have overcome this setback and which lessons they learned from this experience have increased self-confidence and social coping skills.

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
© 2018

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Critical Area of the Mind

(This blog was originally posted on January 13, 2016)

Photo by Rick Hustead

This afternoon, I sat in the waiting area while my friend finished a meeting. While I flicked through a copy of Us Weekly, a man approached the reception desk and asked one of the assistants if it was possible for him to speak to someone in the accounting department. The receptionist smiled politely and suggested he sit down while she went to check if the employee he needed was available to talk to the customer. When she returned a few minutes later, it was to apologize: the gentleman he wanted to talk to was in a meeting. Could she have “Mr. Jones” call the customer later?
The man smiled slightly, nodded and walked out of the office, probably disappointed but he didn’t seem very surprised. He didn’t have an appointment; at this time of year it would be very unlikely to squeeze in an impromptu meeting with an accountant. Guess what? This kind of solicitation and rejection occurs many, many times each day between the conscious and subconscious areas of the mind.
The “heavy” that sends the conscious mind’s desired new beliefs or behaviors away is called the Critical Area of the mind. This very small region of the mind is divided equally between the Conscious Mind and Subconscious Mind. Its responsibility, as it were, is to maintain the comfort (homeostasis) between these areas of the mind.
As I have explained in several previous blogs (Why Being Comfortable Feels Uncomfortable, Intuition, Because…That’s What You Like), your behavior is dictated by the subconscious mental script that is created very early in your life. This script is created by the multitude of positive and negative message units that the SCM processes and interprets as pain or pleasure during your early childhood. A positive experience, such as your pet dog licking your face in greeting, is classified as “pleasure.” A negative experience, such as burning your hand on a hot stove, would likely be classified as pain. However, even a message unit that is initially perceived as negative or “painful” can become recognized as “pleasure”, such as returning to or remaining in an abusive relationship because it is familiar or comfortable.
Conversely, if your dog bites (instead of licks) your face, or you decide to stand up to or even leave an abusive partner, the Critical Area of the mind is likely to reject the new message unit that the conscious mind is processing. Rejecting this new information is the Critical Mind’s job: If the information is unfamiliar, it is uncomfortable and therefore unwelcome: What do you mean, Fido bit me? He doesn’t bite! It was just a love nip. Or, I can’t leave my partner; I have nowhere to go! Since this information challenges the known subconscious mental script, it is unlikely that you will accept this information and change your behavior right away.
Now, let’s put this model in the context of what the interaction I observed this afternoon when someone asked to meet with “Mr. Jones.” The receptionist (Critical Area of the mind) checked with the gentleman in question (processed the message unit) and reported that Mr. Jones was busy. Since the client was also not an expected appointment (unknown to the subconscious mind), she sent him away (rejected the message unit). You might also recognize this process when you check the Caller-I.D. application on your phone and decide whether to pick up the call or let a message go to voice-mail.
For more information about the role of the Critical Area of the mind, I invite you to read my blog titled, Why Are New Ideas Scary?

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
© 2018