THE MAN WITH THE POWERFUL MIND
ALAN BATES has made a name for himself around the world thanks to numerous television appearances, stage shows and one-to-one sessions that have both entertained while assisting individuals overcome issues that were troubling them. SWAG spoke to the hypnotist as he prepared for another visit to Malta next week.
How many times have you been to Malta and what have been your best experiences here so far?
I have lost count of how many visits now… Malta is my second home. On a personal level I really enjoy Maltese culture, the friendliness of the people and the kind way they have received me over the year.
Thanks to my agent and manager, Marcette Busuttil of EM promotions who brought me to Malta several years ago, I have become a household name there thanks to TV appearances, charity shows, etc.
Hypnotherapy still being relatively new in Malta, it has now gained great exposure and people are amazed at the power of hypnosis.
Many people have seen how many people I have helped with their life-debilitating phobias, to stop smoking, weight loss, stress, and so many other personal issues and are now more open to trying it for themselves.
Tell us a bit about some of the biggest shows you've performed around the world.
Now we are talking about the other side of hypnosis: the entertainment side. I have had the privilege of travelling to many interesting and exotic places.
Singapore is one of my favourites as, like Malta, the culture is wonderful and one cannot get enough of the friendliness of its people. I have a good fan base there and I have performed many shows to large audiences. One particular show stands out, at the prestigious Tanglyn Club. This is a very old colonial club and has a super atmosphere.
Who did you look up to before you became famous yourself?
At the start of my career I was influenced by a famous British hypnotist of the time, Andrew Newton. I went to his theatre shows and wished that one day I could emulate him. As the years passed I gained lots of experience and worked very hard to produce my own show and material. I got several lucky breaks and in time my wishes came true and I was then performing in the same theatres as Andrew.
You are a member of the Federation of Ethical Stage Hypnotists. How does this stop you from 'abusing your powers' so to speak?
Upon joining this society of fellow professionals I signed a declaration to adhere to a code of professional conduct to respect my art. Any professional knows that reputation is all he has.
Confidentiality, professionalism, integrity and respect as well as empathy are extremely important to me and people know they can trust me. Being a member of FESH does not “stop me”. I would never do anything to damage my reputation.
Can anyone learn to be a hypnotist?
People can be taught the principles of hypnosis but it depends upon the skill of the individual. Practice and experience as well as personality make all the difference to how good a hypnotist can be. I have heard of “hypnotists” who are actually reading from a script! It’s not really what a hypnotist should be doing.
Can anyone benefit from hypnosis?
Not everybody is susceptible to hypnosis, for various reasons, however if a person can be successfully hypnotised then the benefits can be life-changing.
How does it actually work?
To sum it up in layman’s terms, it works by accessing the subconscious mind and changing the thought processes that are creating the problems. This is achieved initially by deep state relaxation. The word “Hypno” is a Greek word for sleep – however this is a paradox as during hypnosis you are not asleep; but you are not awake either. It is just like the in-between state when you are in bed and relaxing. Once in a trance state suggestions are given which are received and applied to the waking state to deal with the problem issue.
With some issues like smoking, if hypnotherapy works, one usually stops immediately and there is no need to go out and buy cigarettes. With something like weight loss and healthy eating, one is dealing with food – and we have to eat every day. So the session is about reprogramming those bad habits which cause the weight gain – binge eating, huge portions, wrong foods, too much take-outs, sodas, no exercise, etc. So it is vital that people who feel a result after one session keep coming back every month to continue strengthening the suggestions until they have changed their habits into a good lifestyle.
With other conditions, to take one example Trichotillomania, a condition caused by extreme stress and which is becoming more common even in children and involves pulling out hair and sometimes even the pulling out of eyelashes and eyebrows, patients need follow-up sessions until the condition is gone.
Hypnotherapy is not a magic wand, unfortunately. People want quick fixes for everything these days and although the results of hypnotherapy can be immediate and incredibly fast, they do need follow-ups in certain cases. Self esteem, sexual problems, past traumas, stress, panic attacks… there are other examples which need follow-ups to ensure a complete recovery.
Can one be an “evil” hypnotist? And can situations such as in the old cold war spy movies such as The Manchurian Candidate really happen?
Generally speaking no. No one can be hypnotised to do something against their will. However there are bad hypnotists just as there are good and bad Police Officers, Doctors, Psychologists, Hairdressers, Electricians and Plumbers etc. no?
On your website you say that hypnosis is a perfectly natural state. Can you elaborate on this?
Hypnosis is a natural state of mind, very similar to when you daydream. Nobody has ever been harmed by hypnosis, on the contrary it is a very safe form of therapy as it is just a deep state of relaxation.
What have been your greatest achievements in your Hypnotherapy career so far?
All clients’ information is strictly confidential but every successful therapy is an achievement most especially for the client. I do get great satisfaction from positive results but it is very rewarding when children benefit from my work
Have there been any great successes here in Malta?
Yes, like three every day at least! From all the people I have stopped smoking, to those who are finally losing weight when they have tried everything else, to cases I have mentioned above. I have had successes with so many different conditions.
Can you share any disappointments you have had?
When a client is desperate for help and I give my level best and don't get a result I feel frustrated, but as I always say, hypnosis is not a magic wand and will not work for everyone.
Finally, do you have a message for your Maltese friends and fans?
I truly wish to help anyone with a problem that can be solved with hypnotherapy. I thank those who have trusted me me so far. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than seeing someone rid of a problem which has plagued them all their life.
More information about Alan’s work in Malta can be found at this link: www.facebook.com/alanbatesinmalta, while the next Stop Smoking, Weight Loss/Healthy Eating/Stress Hypnotherapy session with Alan Bates will be held next week: www.facebook.com/alanbatesinmalta/events.
For enquiries about private sessions, please contact Marcy via email@example.com or call: 7945 6191.
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