AMY Rewcastle hung up her high heels and retrained to become a clinical hypnotherapist and life coach after her own experience of hypnotherapy transformed her attitude to life.
She said: “I was working as a model in Dubai about six years ago when I decided I had to do something about my smoking habit.
“I’d tried to quit before but I’d never managed to stay off them for very long.
“Friends suggested I see a Russian hypnotherapist who had a great reputation. I went along and, after just one session, I was cured. I’ve never even thought about having a cigarette since.
“At that time I couldn’t drive and not long after my session I started thinking that I should really be able to drive. Within just four weeks I’d taken an intense driving course and passed my driving test.
“I put that down to the new focus and confidence I had due to my hypnotherapy session. I suddenly felt so in control of my life.
“It was like a lightbulb going on in my head. I knew at that point that I wanted to go back to university and train in hypnotherapy.”
Today at her clinic in Glasgow, Amy, 31, now uses a unique blend of hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming and life coaching techniques to help clients with problems such as smoking, weightloss, anxiety and even heartbreak.
She explained: “To me it was a really natural progression to use the techniques I had learned for other problems to tackle broken hearts and help people to rebuild their lives after a traumatic break-up.
“The unconscious mind is amazingly powerful and working with it can change your whole approach to life.
“I have one client who recently split with her husband after 15 years of marriage when he cheated on her.
“They’ve got four children together so she has to remain in contact with him, and she was finding it impossible to move on.
“Basically, it was almost like a craving for chocolate or cigarettes – every time she had to see him, she’d get this craving for the life they used to have together.
“When you’re dealing with a chocolate addiction you’ll imagine a piece of chocolate mixed in with a food that the client can’t stand, so that it then makes that chocolate taste horrible in your mind’s eye.
“We did the same thing with good memories that she had of them together, envisioning him acting and looking differently. This helped her to tarnish and neutralise those memories and help her to stop pining for him.
“Another technique that’s very useful in heartbreak situations is assertiveness training. Helping people to regain confidence as a single person is a key part of recovery.
“I can also use hypnosis to help place positive suggestions in the unconscious mind.
“Under hypnosis I’ll help clients to visualise a time in the future when they’re really happy – a time, a place, who they’re with, what they look like, maybe with a new partner.
“The unconscious mind takes that image in and starts to act accordingly, so, after as little as one session, clients walk out feeling so much better about their situation. The unconscious mind doesn’t differentiate between vivid imaginations and reality.”
Amy says her techniques can not only cure the grief associated with heartbreak, they can actually help to identify problematic patterns of behaviour that sometimes lead to the same relationship issues. She said: “In my 20s I was definitely one of those girls that you’d say kept going for the wrong type of guys.
“It took hypnotherapy to stop me falling into the same trap again. I have clients that can’t see the bad habits they keep repeating in relationships.
“Hypnosis has helped them to identify the patterns that influence their own behaviour.
“Some people have unrealistic – positive and negative – expectations and assumptions, based on their parents’ relationship, perhaps, or a fairytale idea of marriage, which puts pressure on their relationships.
“Others allow themselves to be controlled and become overly dependent on their partners.
“For these types of situations, I use a therapy called parts therapy to talk to the part of that person’s mind that is making them behave in a detrimental way. I help them convince that part of themselves that there’s an easier way around the situation.
“It’s about getting people to see a mirror image of themselves and be really honest about their behaviours.
“People find it more comfortable to talk to someone not directly connected to their life. It’s easier to be honest and open with a therapist, and a lot of people just don’t want to burden their friends with their deepest insecurities.”
Amy says she’s used to dealing with sceptics who doubt the power of hypnotherapy.
“There are people who think it’s a load of mumbo-jumbo but you only have to look at how my life has transformed to see that it really works.
“I’ve changed my career, learned to drive in four weeks, stopped smoking and have even cured my chocolate addiction.
“As it stands, there aren’t many scientific ways of measuring the effects of hypnotherapy, but the evidence speaks for itself.”
Photo: Phil Dye/Media Scotland