Alfred Bellanti: Author and Clinical Hypnotherapist
- September 2017
To Treat Depression Hypnosis
Sydney: Professional Hypnotherapy Eastern Suburbs
Bellanti and Matt Thistlethwaite MP
awesome interview with one of the very valued and
appreciated members of Maroubra
is a wise man who is an expert in a number of fields
of health, including mental heath. Read about the
sometimes controversial and stigma associated areas
such as depression and anxiety. Another Media Man
work in an area which would be considered somewhat
sensitive. When and why did you embark on your journey
of covering matters such as depression, anxiety and
started back in 1993 after graduating with a Graduate
Diploma in Social Science and a Diploma in Clinical
Hypnotherapy. It was my clients that really got me
started on this journey.
to this, what was your career background, and was
there a key element that triggered or motivated you
to take your career into a new area?
was no clear career path in my background but what
led me to take my career into this area was the knowledge
I had gained through my personal experiences, from
seeing the clients in my clinic, and from researching
you believe that much or all stigma has been removed
from the field of depression and anxiety, be it from
a practitioner or patient perspective?
a practitioner perspective I found that the clients
preferred confidentiality because of the stigma associated
with any psychological problems.
was hard to get testimonials that I could use for
publicity therefore it was difficult to get new clients
and I had to keep funding my practice through part
the meetup group that I run, some of the participants
do not want to take part in photographs or even give
their real names, such is the stigma they still perceive.
wasn't until some football stars had publicly declared
their depression that the stigma started to lift.
But still hear and read of people being 'shunned'
by friends and family when they find out that they
have a 'mental health' problem.
hears about different figures been thrown around about
how many % of the population has been affected by
depression. Do you believe the real numbers are closer
to 30 or 50% of people?
is a very loaded question Greg because the only statistics
we have come from reported cases of depression and
therefore are not a true statistic. And then there
are various types and levels of depression.
you are talking about all these types and levels of
depression then the numbers could very well be close
to about 25%.
you are talking about the kind of depression that
incapacitates one's functioning in society or the
workforce then the number is not that high, though
I am told that the suicide rate, especially among
men in Australia is high.
would someone be able to work out if they have depression
and / or anxiety?
that's an interesting question and there is no straight
We all have days when we feel down, unmotivated, tired,
and not sociable but we also know the mood will pass.
It's when this mood does not pass week after week
that we may work out that there is depression.
There are times we can feel absolutely awful and we
think we are depressed but are not.
example people who go through a relationship breakup
or divorce may feel worse than they have ever felt
in their life and believe they are depressed, when
in fact it's a normal reaction to such an event. Time
usually heals that kind of hurt and the individuals
recover and get on with life.
The same can be said when someone loses a parent or
someone close through death. If feels awful for them
and they may believe they are depressed when in fact
it is just a normal feeling of grief.
If the feelings or state of mind they experience affects
their ability to function normally in society or the
workplace in the long term, then depression is a possibility.
With regards to anxiety, it
comes down to whether the anxiety affects a person's
functioning in society and the workplace.
example if someone is so anxious socially that they
avoid going to parties or going out with friends,
or really anxious all the time in the workplace, there
is a strong indication there.
On the other hand if someone becoming anxious about
a speech or presentation they have to make as part
of their job, this is normal. But if it affects them
to the extent that they just can't function at all,
they may have an anxiety disorder.
There is a 'Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders' or DSM that defines the symptoms for various
kinds of depression and anxiety disorders. I have
explained these in my book, for educational purpose,
though I do not recommend self-diagnosis.
If someone really wants to know they could talk to
a psychologist or psychiatrist about their symptoms.
Mind you the DSM V is coming into some criticism and
at a Mental Health seminar I attended earlier this
year the presenter said that many health professionals
have turned away from it.
this heath sector, it would seem to me that prevention
would be better than cure? Would you agree? Explain?
definitely agree that prevention would be better than
cure Greg and I even dare suggest that there is no
real 'illness' to cure. Other professionals share
this opinion. Let me explain.
a more natural setting, say a tribal setting, in which
our ancestors would have lived, each member of the
tribe had a sense of belonging and each member knew
their role within the tribe.
yourself, did depression exist then, or was there
too much focus on survival for depression to exist?
civilization has become so vast and complex that individuals
can easily become lost, alienated and feel they have
no role or true purpose. Physical survival has become
relatively easy, at least in a country such as ours.
There is no shortage of food or clean water.
believe society as a whole seems to have lost a lot
of true values and focused on success, glamour and
materialism. Our fundamental needs such as food, water
and shelter are taken care of yet a lot of emotional
and spiritual needs are not fulfilled and success
is usually measured as social status, money and material
individuals fail to achieve emotional and physical
needs and also find themselves unable to meet the
implied standards that our society has set, this combination
can put the individual at risk of depression.
you can ask yourself, are depression and anxiety really
'illnesses' or 'diseases' that need to be prevented
or cured? Could someone invent or discover a vaccine
that would prevent depression or anxiety?
is it Society as a whole that needs to be 'cured?'
Is it common that may people effectively use sport
and nature to help keep any potential 'black dog'
from the door (as I have done rather effectively)?
or exercise have been recommend by a lot of experts
as a way to help keep this black dog from the door,
and nature too, as you have successfully done Greg.
out in the sunshine and among nature, walking, exercising
can all help raise serotonin, which in turn can generate
a feeling of wellbeing.
other thing is finishing tasks that have been put
off for a long time, e.g. cleaning your room, mowing
the lawn, doing an accumulated stack of dishes. Any
of these can generate a feeling of accomplishment
which is different to feeling depressed all the time.
What sort of matters could ignite depression or anxiety
in someone for either the first time, or as a repeat
separate Depression from Anxiety to answer this question.
was once classed as being endogenous or exogenous
but now it comes under the label of Clinical Depression
or Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).
don't know the exact cause depression. However, they
believe that it may be caused by a combination of:
" biological factors
" psychological factors
" environmental factors
Some people become depressed after losing a loved
one, ending a relationship, or experiencing a trauma.
However, endogenous depression occurs without an obvious
stressful event or other trigger. Symptoms often appear
suddenly and for no apparent reason.
Exogenous depression happens after a stressful or
traumatic event takes place. This type of depression
is more commonly called "reactive" depression.
Regarding anxiety, 'BEYOND BLUE' says an anxiety condition
isn't developed or caused by a single factor but a
combination of things. A number of other factors play
a role, including personality factors, difficult life
experiences and physical health.
Other possible causes are prolonged stressful situations
use i.e. drugs or alcohol
In your opinion what is the oceans main therapeutic
or healing properties, and could this be related to
when one is born into the world, or something else?
and a lot of people may laugh at this, it could be
that it's because we were comfortably bathed in amniotic
fluid in our mother's womb before birth. Then going
into the ocean unconsciously revives some of the pleasant
feeling, especially if the water is warm.
oceans have other properties. For instance:
" We are outside in nature
" Ocean waters contains natural salts and iodine
which is otherwise lacking in many people's diet
" Bathing in the ocean is refreshing
" Ocean waters provide the opportunity for exercise
e.g. swimming, body surfing etc
" Then there is a 'deeper' meaning of 'ocean'
when it comes to Vedic Meditation
If someone was suffering mild depression, would you
recommend coffee drinking or not? (we heard many times
that coffee is an anti depressant)?
can offer a mood lift that can get us going in the
morning, I am not sure about its effect as an anti
know that regular coffee consumption can become habitual
and there are several reports of withdrawal symptoms
if coffee consumption is stopped abruptly. There include
headaches, irritability, mood change, and inability
it has been shown that more one coffee daily can increase
anxiety levels. My recommendation is that if you must
have coffee, only have it in the mornings, and if
you find it affects anxiety levels, cut back to just
one, or eliminate it altogether.
What sort of drugs or alcohol should someone suffering
for someone suffering depression could offer temporary
relief but in the long run I believe it will make
the depression worse. Alcohol is defined as a nervous
system depressant' and consistent alcohol consumption
can a lead to alcohol dependency, and that becomes
a second problem.
as drugs. They may provide temporary but could lead
to psychological or physiological dependency, creating
a secondary problem.
drugs should be used minimally and then only if the
depression sufferer becomes non-functional or suicidal
as a result of the depression.
Your books are awesome.
Anxiety Self Help
did they take what would seem to be so long to complete?
book about depression took much longer than the second
one on anxiety. That was because I got the idea to
write it while I was still working part time and working
in my Clinic.
I retired I made more rapid process.
second book, about anxiety was written a lot more
quickly, after experience was gained from writing
the first book.
myself, I get much more nervous before I do a radio
interview, rather than a television interview. To
what could you attribute that to?
you do a radio interview Greg, are you in the studio
by yourself, interviewing or being interviewed remotely?
Because in this case there is no visual feedback or
body language cues as indicators of how you are doing.
you do a television interview, it is a visual media
and therefore feedback and cues are right there and
available to you. You can then adjust yourself accordingly.
How important is good diet to good mental health?
keystones to good mental health are:
" Sunshine and fresh air
" Enjoyable use of time
your take on positive mental attitude?
one can maintain a positive mental attitude even while
going through depression it would certainly help in
recovery however it is near imposible to maintain
this when the mind is immersed in that dark space.
Any candid thoughts on the well known organisations
Beyond Blue and The Black Dog Institute?
online resources of these organizations were a great
help when I was doing the research to write my books.
Other than that, I haven't had any personal experience
with them and cannot say very much about them.
possible that structured organizations such as these
lack spontaneous fluidity and flexibility. Think of
a company. Can a company make an instant change or
decision or, or does it first have to go through a
hierarchy of processes beforehand?
What's your thoughts on business networking events,
such as Maroubra Business Media Meet-Up?
think these events can be good to connect with other
business people, learning from each other, networking,
maintaining the energy and offering each other support.
would you like to be remembered?
would like to be remembered as someone who prevented
depression from becoming the fourth leading medical
cause of disability in Western Civilization as the
World Health Organization has predicted will happen
What do you do to relax?
an ancient Vedic Meditation technique that is easy
to do and provides a deep rest helps me a lot with
relaxation and having fun.
author, Alfred Bellanti, came from a working class
family. The first hint of depression and anxiety were
noticed during his final school years when he was
transferred to a different high school.
having been a star pupil he plummeted to the bottom
of the class because he lost the ability to focus,
concentrate or remember what was being taught in the
classroom, especially the mathematics.
visit to the family physician about this problem was
not very helpful. He was prescribed some pills which,
apart from making his vision blurry, seemed to make
hardly any difference at all. The result was that
he failed the end of year exams.
was glad when the year was over, and determined he
wouldn't return. He told his parents he would catch
up with his schooling at evening college.
a few weeks of finishing school, and at the urging
from his mother, Alfred got his first full time job
and started evening college soon after. The course
was spread over five evenings a week.
all day and going to evening school five days a week
was very difficult and Alfred stopped attending after
a few months.
following year after having changed jobs he enrolled
for a course in accountancy and commercial law. Although
attendance was required only two nights a week the
course was so dry and boring he couldn't stand it
full time job as an accounts clerk became more and
more meaningless. In 1969 Alfred "dropped out"
and found meaning within the hippie culture, he liked
their freedom of thought, and the experimentation
down side was that the fun, the meaning and freedom
he had found was somewhat illusory, and the depression
resurfaced, with a vengeance, much worse than before.
experienced deeper bouts of despair and hopelessness
and spent more years trying to find meaning in life,
through reading, relationships, travel and a few admissions
to a clinic.
he took on the task of completing his high school
subjects and went on to complete his first University
Degree in Science.
was indeed very therapeutic for him. From there he
moved to graduate study in Psychology, Hypnotherapy
is the now author of many articles and established
in his practice as a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Medical
was interrupted In 2002 when he suffered a severe
cancer that brought him close to death because of
the complications after surgery.
then he has found his purpose in life and is happy
to help others through his practice and by writing
articles and books that help the people who don't
have access to his services.