Story of a… Hypnotherapist
After experiencing her own transfor-mation through hypnosis, Rebecca Zayas now helps people “transform their pain into something beautiful.”
She tried hypnosis on a lark. A Central Florida native and University of Central Florida graduate, Zayas spent 14 years as an insurance underwriter before attending Stetson University for a mental health degree. “Our professor said we could try different modalities. Hypnotherapy was one of them. I thought, ‘That sounds kind of kooky and out there.’ But being an adventurer, I thought, ‘Why not?’ A hypnotherapist regressed me to a childhood trauma, and I let go of the anger and the shame I had held on to. I was completely free of that trauma.”
Don’t call her a hypnotist. Zayas is a “certified clinical and trans-personal hypnotherapist. There is a vast difference—about 500 hours—in the level of education, training and techniques. I work by referral from a licensed medical or mental health professional on any diagnosable condition.”
Maybe you’re hypnotized right now. Hypnosis is “a relaxed state of mind and body. There’s nothing mystical or magical about it.” Self-hypnosis can happen when “you’re going to sleep or waking up in that twilight state … when you’re watching a movie or reading a book.” Any time “you’re really focused on what you’re doing, that’s a state of hypnosis.”
The power of the mind to heal. “When you put yourself in a state of hypnosis, you train your brain to relax. You’re creating homeostasis in the body. You’re producing serotonin, sometimes oxytocin and dopamine. These are chemicals that allow the body to rest, to digest properly and to do the things it needs to do to heal.”
A broad clientele. The majority of her clients are “people with anxious feelings, depression and PTSD.” Zayas also helps clients with “childhood trauma, habits they want to change—smoking, nail-biting, hair-pulling or things like that,” in addition to pain management and performance issues.
The ultimate method acting. “I see a lot of actors and artists. It’s about getting themselves out of the way so they can fully embody the character and be completely present in the moment.” Zayas also helped a fellow member of Toastmasters overcome stage fright and go on to win awards for public speaking.
Phantom pain becomes a ghost of the past. “As a student, I witnessed an amputee who had phantom limb syndrome with a pain level of 7 or 8.” A form of hypnosis called eye movement therapy—which involves watching the clinician’s finger while he or she speaks words of validation to help build new neural pathways—“brought that pain level down to zero.”
Cluck or bark, “but only if you want to.” People have “a lot of misconceptions about deep-stage hypnosis,” a practice the Mayo Clinic uses to alleviate stress, anxiety and insomnia. Zayas says the patient remains in control throughout the process. “No one can convince you to do anything under hypnosis that you don’t want to do.”
No anesthesia required. She also works with expectant mothers so they can experience empowered birthing without anesthesia. For people undergoing surgery, “you can be completely comfortable while having a procedure. It’s really powerful and amazing.”