This article was written about Dr. Rebecca Hardcastle, a graduate of SWIHA's Hypnotherapy and Life Coaching programs.
By Cori Frayer
Hypnosis has long been widely accepted and practiced by professional athletes like Tiger Woods, David Beckham and Mark McGuire to improve concentration, perfect form, visualize optimal performance and overcome self-doubt.
Former Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson even insists daily hypnosis was a crucial element to bringing home the teams six NBS Championship titles.
Recently, the popularity of hypnosis has stretched beyond the sport-minded and rapidly into the medical field. Its growing acceptance helps many people world wide to overcome mental struggles such as quitting smoking, weight loss, anxiety, pain, insomnia and phobias. But would it work for you?
Dr. Rebecca Hardcastle, a hypnotherapist in Fountain Hills, says hypnosis can work for all people, as long as they want it to.
A 23 year old ASU business communication senior, who did not want his name used to protect his medical privacy, came to Hardcastle's office in August, hoping to ditch a smoking habit that was controlling his life.
"I had gone to therapists and doctors, and tried various prescribed medications, but nothing ever worked out," he said. "I heard about athletes and golfers using hypnotherapy, So I turned to it as an alternative to something that wasn't working."
After asking her client how to decipher between how smoking made him feel, and how it was that he wanted to feel, Hardcastle hypnotized him, feeding the positive feelings he mentioned into his subconscious mind.
When something new happens to a person, such as smoking a cigarette, physical and emotional reactions are attached to that memory. Every time a person lights up after then, the same reactions attached to that memory are subconsciously brought out. During hypnosis, a person can be brought back to that memory and attach new healthier reactions.
"Now I am disgusted by cigarettes and can't even stand the smell," the student said. "I thought it would be really hard being around my friends, going out to bars and playing poker, but with the hypnotherapy I experienced no withdrawals or symptoms. I never even wanted a cigarette."
The conscious mind controls rational thoughts and actions. It makes the decision to get up every day, worries about exams and chooses what flavor of ice cream to eat. Hypnosis allows the mind to relax into an altered state of consciousness, known as a trance, granting easier access to other parts of the brain.
"The conscious mind is never asleep." Hardcastle said. "It's the same as when your driving down the highway and 20 minutes later you wonder, 'How did I get here?'"
When a person is in a deeply focused state, or trance, they are more attentive, creating unusual responsiveness to an idea or image. It is here that a person is accessing their subconscious mind, the part of the brain that keeps the body alive, effortlessly controlling necessary functions like blinking and breathing. It is here where hypnosis works its magic.
"The subconscious mind readily responds to positive things," Hardcastle said. "It wants what's best for the body, so it will never respond to negative suggestions. This is what makes hypnotherapy such a valuable tool in overcoming mental issues, like smoking and weight loss."
While some health experts disagree and many who try hypnosis don't see results, Hardcastle maintains that, "All hypnosis is self-hypnosis," Hardcastle said. "It is totally determined by you."
Rebecca Hardcastle, PhD
Copyright 2007 College Times, posted: 3/1/07