West Hartford Business Fosters Self-Care Through Subconscious

Lisa Zacchio is the lead hypnotist at Mind Matters. She’s also featured in videos on the website that clients can access before and after their sessions. Courtesy photo

Mind Matters Hypnosis Center on Park Road in West Hartford can help cure bad behavior through hypnosis.

By Tracey Weiss

When Antonio Carletti found himself drinking too much, he sought help to control his habit. “I was having wine at lunch. I was drinking too much. I enjoy drinking wine, so I just wanted to control how much I drank.

“So, I went to see Calypso,” he added. “I stopped drinking Sept. 14. I have no desire to drink – none. If I had red wine now it would be tasteless. She made me stop. I’m going to sue her,” he joked.

By “her,” he is referring to Calypso Portugaels, who is one of several certified hypnotists who own Mind Matters Hypnosis Center. Before moving to town four years ago, Mind Matters was in Avon. Founded in 2002, Mind Matters also has offices in Guilford and New York City.

Portugaels wasn’t always in the business of helping people through hypnosis. Before she became a client, she was skeptical of hypnosis.

“I was in so much pain,” she said. “I was desperate. I had tried everything and anything; it was my last resort before surgery. I had seen many doctors and I knew it wouldn’t work.”

She happened to find a business card a friend had held on to. After the first session, she said, “I didn’t think it had done much. After the second session, my life started changing so much. Personally, it was a piece of the puzzle that helped me build from the outside in. I was able to heal the very core of it. I haven’t been in pain in years. It was hard to believe I could heal by the power of my own mind.”

Calypso Portugaels is one of eight certified hypnotists at Mind Matters Hypnosis Center. Through hypnosis, they focus on helping people understand the core of their issues. Courtesy photo

Hypnosis defined

“We all have this vision of what hypnosis is from the movies,” Portugaels said. “Someone snaps their fingers and you’re fixed.”

The Mind Matters website explains what hypnosis is and how it works: “Hypnosis is a conversation with the subconscious part of your mind – the behind-the-scenes of the brain. It’s the thoughts or beliefs that often dictate our perceptions, emotions, and behaviors.

Hypnosis is not mind control and is not dangerous in any way. During a hypnosis session, your hypnotist guides you into a state of heightened awareness. You are in total control during your session, hearing and remembering everything, and are an active participant in your process.

Hypnosis allows you to bypass the conscious level of your mind in order to access your subconscious mind. The subconscious operates much like a computer, running on the software of thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions.

Through hypnosis, you can become aware of your unique programing and make the updates and edits that will enable you to live a full-potential life.”

Why go?

“Everyone can be hypnotized,” according to Portugaels. “You need to be able to count from 1 to 3,” she joked. She sees clients of all ages; in fact, her youngest client is 5.

The most common use of hypnosis in the practice is weight loss. “We go deeper to find the reason for the behavior,” Portugaels said. “It’s about learning about your relationship with food and what it means to them.”

Ilona Pomeroy went to Portugaels to lose weight.

“Like most people, I was skeptical,” she said. “My doctor suggested I try it, so he legitimized it for me.

“It was a fascinating experience. The results are amazing. The first experience, I felt it happening physically. Tears were running down my face. I was fully conscious the whole time I was constantly interacting with Calypso – you are a participant in this.

“I love ice cream. My husband loves ice cream and he has to have it in the freezer all the time.” Since she started at Mind Matters, “I’ve only eaten ice cream two times since October. I’m not interested in it anymore. I have a physical reaction to it now.

“It’s a strange and powerful thing. I’m in my late 40s and I wish I had known about this 20 years ago. It would have changed the trajectory of my life. I can’t say enough good about it.”

All of the hypnotists at Mind Matters, including Alicia O’Hara, Elizabeth Hamilton, Shonda Howard, Elaine Jansen, Lisa Zaccheo, and Ginger Summa, have specialties. Common reasons people come is to quit smoking, deal with addictions, phobias, anxiety, grief, insomnia, sexual performance, and surgery prep, among others.

“Because of COVID, the amount of anxiety we see in everybody is on the rise,” Portugaels said.

They’ve always done remote work, too. “In the Northeast, we work with people who are snowed in, or don’t leave home because they are agoraphobic,” Portugaels said.

Best side effects

Hypnosis has had more than one positive effect on Carletti. “I’m so much better at not putting things off,” he said. “Calypso is so good. She changed my life. My mind is sharper. Hypnosis is amazing. Because of her I also started meditating. I drink too much soda now but I’m not going to tell her.”

“It’s the best, when people get healing they never thought they could get,” Portugaels said. “The next thing, they don’t have migraines anymore or someone comes in for smoking cessation, and they are feeling happier than they have in years. The healing was inside of them all along.”

The cost of each session is $250. “The first session is two hours and the second up to 90 minutes,” Portugaels said. Most results come after a few sessions, depending on the issue, she added.

There is also no judgment. “We have strong values as a small business and we uphold them. Kindness is one of those values,” she added.

In fact, the Mind Matters website clearly states: “We stand in an active role of solidarity with people with marginalized identities. We are committed to anti-racism, anti-homophobia, anti-transphobia, anti-ableism, and anti-fat bias. Everyone comes from different walks of life, and we consider this a strength, not a weakness. Our offices employ staff who promote a positive and inclusive environment for all clients.

All are welcomed, respected, and valued here. Together, we are claiming the world we want to be in with an ongoing commitment to enhancing equity, inclusion, and diversity.”

“We see people as a piece of a system in place and we have to help them to see that place in the world,” Portugaels added. “We are the sum of everything we go through. I love the people I work with and doing this has made me love people so much.”

For more information, go to www.mindmattershypnosis.com or call 860-693-6448. The office is at 363 Park Road in West Hartford.

A version of this article also appeared in the April 2022 issue of West Hartford LIFE

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