The Difference Between Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy

Let’s face it – more than often, the two terms are used in the place of one another when that is not the case at all. Quite the common misconception. Oh and there’s also the laughable misconception about hypnosis implies putting the subject in a state of deep sleep while making him/her do your bidding, where the truth is that it is the opposite. Then again, hard as it may be to believe sometimes the two terms are purposely blurred by individual institutions simply to be able to enrol people who are not qualified for one or the other.

When you think of hypnotherapy courses, Melbourne is probably not one of the main places that come to mind, but this city is steadily turning into a haven for hypnotherapy with several patients from the city reporting a stunning level of success and improvement as far as their lives are concerned.

To clear the air regarding the confusion between the similarity of the two words, we must thoroughly delve into the actual meaning of both the words and how they subsequently relate to one another as well. For a start, let’s do that by analysing the main differences between the two:-

  • Hypnosis is mainly the process of making a person relax and suggesting solutions to the problems that ail them. It is merely the first part of hypnotherapy, which digs deeper by uncovering certain aspects of the patient’s behaviour related to his/her problems at hand. One can say that hypnosis takes the first step of awakening the subconscious whereas hypnotherapy takes the plunge directly into it.
  • When dealing with addictions (be it food, cigarettes or alcohol) hypnosis can offer a temporary respite that may work for a couple of day or weeks at best. However, hypnotherapy is what will ultimately make the difference by altering the very behavioural patterns that cause the instability in mind, tackling the problem at the very root.
  • In the case of patients with a history of hardened substance abuse, with hypnosis, you can tell the person to associate the drug with something disgusting. While it may work wonders initially in the case of some individuals, that would have a temporary effect. Once you apply psychotherapy, you can make the patient regress back to childhood while discovering and changing the patterns that lie deep within the unconscious as well. Who said you couldn’t kill two birds with one stone?
  • With the exception of a few, a hypnotist or stage hypnotist is not likely to have taken extensive training whatsoever, having learned from books and online courses on how to induce a casual hypnotic state in a person. On the other hand, a clinical hypnotherapist would have spent years in specialised training having studied behavioural patterns and relearning techniques as well.
  • Hypnosis can be used as a short-term fix to mend certain problems like addictions or social anxieties to an extent. However, if you’re looking at emotional, physical and psychological disorders, clearly hypnotherapy is the answer. It has even proven to be effective during labour and providing a sense of relief to disabled people. OCD, panic attacks and phobias of any kind have been treated by hypnotherapy with great success.

Image courtesy:

In the end, although both professions are related to hypnosis in a way, the central fact of the matter is that a hypnotherapist is a master at being a hypnotherapist who has had many hours practising and honing the art to near perfection. Both are not the same thing, but rather branches of the same tree.

In this regard, a hypnotherapist can have long-lasting effects on the individual concerned whereas a hypnotist would be more effective at solving a temporary problem rather than a lasting one. Not to downplay the importance of either in that regard, but one should keep certain key facts in mind while approaching either one of them.


Image courtesy of [Ambro] at

Related Posts

Leave a Comment