The subconscious mind is a tool hypnotists say most people unknowingly surpass. Some, they say, fear not being in control, and some frankly just do not believe it is there. People tend to live in the present, bypassing the thousands of memories, experiences and thoughts accumulated over a lifetime in the subconscious mind. Ahwatukee Foothills-based certified hypnotherapist Vickie Mesa said in a waking state people use only 10 percent of their conscious mind. "The subconscious mind is always there," she said. "Holding every experience, every memory and filing them away." Hypnosis is a growing regimen for people who want to address certain habits, problems and fears using a natural treatment. The process involves taking a person back to a memory in the subconscious mind and adding new, positive habits in place of negative ones. Throughout the world people are experimenting with hypnosis, hoping to quit smoking, lose weight and even lower blood pressure. Mesa, a weight loss specialist at Natural Health Care Specialties on 48th Street and Knox Road, has been practicing hypnosis for six years, freeing herself of depression and anxiety through treatment. She now practices self-hypnosis on herself to overcome her weight issues. "I can tell my patients it works because it works for me," said Mesa, who has lost 12 pounds this year. She explained that when a new patient comes into her office she has them fill out a form indicating their hobbies and fears, allowing her to build scripts around individual issues. "I certainly wouldn't want to give someone a visualization that they were standing on top of a tall building the first day if they are scared of heights," Mesa said. "I go over the form with them, watching and listening to their language, expectations and goals. Then I give first-time patients a generalized session to become accustom and comfortable with hypnosis." After the first session Mesa creates a personal therapy for each patient focusing on positive qualities and goals. "Most people are afraid of being put in a trance because they think the hypnotherapist is in control and people don't like not being in control," Mesa said. "They think I will make them cluck like a chicken, but that won't happen because your mind is your mind and you are always in control." Each follow-up session lasts about one hour. Mesa leads clients into a trance, a state of mind between being asleep and awake, where they can tap into the subconscious. People can track in their memory where they began a bad habit and add new, healthier memories in its spot. "The subconscious mind can't tell the difference between real and imaginary experiences," Mesa said. "You'll find yourself wanting to eat healthy and exercise. Hypnotherapy compliments losing weight by putting those new experiences in the mind - finding out where the habit originated and how did it happen, then adding in you not doing it in the subconscious mind." However, Mesa warns that a person has to make a commitment to really want to accomplish a goal for hypnotherapy to work. "You will continue having the problem if you aren't serious about change." Corinne Frayer can be reached at (480) 898-7917 or

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