What is the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy?

by | | Hypnotherapy and you

You may well have heard of both the terms hypnosis and hypnotherapy and wondered if there is any difference between the two. It’s very common for people to use the two terms interchangeably, but they can be considered to be different.

This article will aim to help you understand this difference so you are in a better position to answer the question ‘What is the main difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy?’

What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a state of altered consciousness which is characterised by deep relaxation and heightened suggestibility. Typically induced by a trained hypnotist, such as myself,  it involves techniques and inductions that allow you to enter a trance-like state. During a trance, you will experience heightened focus, altered time perception, enhanced imagery, reduced muscle tension, increased suggestibility, and potential changes in brain activity. Trance is a subjective state characterized by deep relaxation and a shift in consciousness.

What happens during hypnosis?

During hypnosis, the brain undergoes some interesting changes. We can see these changes through brain imaging techniques. Here are a few things that happen:

  1. Different Brain Waves: The brain waves during hypnosis shift to an alpha and theta frequency. These waves are associated with relaxation, focus, and creativity.
  2. Improved Communication: Hypnosis seems to improve the connections between different parts of the brain. This helps different brain regions work together better, especially when it comes to perception, memory, and emotions.
  3. Reduced Sensitivity: When hypnotized, the brain becomes less responsive to external stimuli. This means you may become less aware of what’s happening around you and more focused on your internal experiences and suggestions.
  4. Changes in the Thinking Area: The front part of the brain, called the prefrontal cortex, shows interesting changes during hypnosis. The critical thinking area becomes less active, while the part involved in attention and emotions becomes more active.
  5. Pain Perception: Hypnosis can influence how the brain processes pain. It can reduce activity in areas that make pain feel intense and increase activity in regions that help suppress or control pain.

Can everyone experience hypnosis?

Yes, it is generally believed that most people have the ability to experience hypnosis to some extent. While the level of responsiveness may vary from person to person, the majority of people can enter a hypnotic state. Factors such as openness, willingness to participate, and the skill of the hypnotist can influence the depth and effectiveness of the experience. So, while not everyone may respond in the same way or reach a deep level of hypnosis, most people have the potential to experience its effects.

What is self-hypnosis?

Self-hypnosis is a technique that allows you to induce a hypnotic state within yourself.

To practice self-hypnosis, find a quiet and comfortable environment where you won’t be disturbed. Begin by using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided imagery to calm your mind and body.

Once you feel relaxed, you can use affirmations, positive suggestions, or visualisation exercises to direct your mind toward your desired outcomes or changes. You might imagine yourself achieving your goals, overcoming challenges, or adopting positive qualities and behaviors.

A woman experiencing hypnosis when daydreaming

When might I experience hypnosis in my day-to-day life?

Throughout the day, we can experience moments similar to hypnosis. These include times when we daydream, become deeply engrossed in a task or activity, get lost in a captivating book or movie, engage in meditation or mindfulness practices, or immerse ourselves in hypnotic music or guided imagery. These instances involve focused attention, relaxation, and an altered state of consciousness, resembling aspects of hypnosis.

What is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a type of therapy that can help you address various concerns and make positive changes in your life. It combines traditional therapy with hypnosis techniques to facilitate psychological and behavioral transformations.

During a hypnotherapy session, a trained hypnotherapist guides you into a relaxed state of hypnosis. This state allows you to access your subconscious mind, where deep-seated beliefs, memories, and patterns of thinking reside. By bypassing your conscious mind’s critical thinking, hypnotherapy aims to facilitate positive suggestions and therapeutic interventions.

Throughout the session, the hypnotherapist may use different techniques tailored to your specific needs and goals. These can include guided visualizations, relaxation exercises, affirmations, and direct suggestions. You remain in control and actively participate in your own healing and personal growth.

What are the differences between hypnosis and hypnotherapy?

The main difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy is that hypnosis refers to the state of altered consciousness characterized by relaxation and heightened suggestibility, while hypnotherapy is the therapeutic use of hypnosis to address specific psychological, emotional, or behavioural issues. Hypnosis is the state itself, while hypnotherapy is the application of hypnosis to bring about positive change.


couple sleeping

What can hypnotherapy help with?

Hypnotherapy can address a wide range of issues. It can help with managing stress and anxiety, overcoming fears and phobias, smoking cessation, weight management, enhancing self-confidence, improving sleep patterns, pain management, overcoming addictions, improving performance, and resolving trauma and PTSD. By working with a trained hypnotherapist, individuals can receive tailored support to address their specific needs and goals.

What is solution focused hypnotherapy?

Solution focused hypnotherapy is a therapeutic approach that combines elements of solution focused brief therapy (SFBT) with hypnosis techniques. It focuses on identifying and creating solutions rather than dwelling on problems or analyzing the root causes. The primary goal is to help individuals envision and work towards their desired future, utilizing their strengths and resources.

In solution focused hypnotherapy, the therapist collaborates with the client to establish clear and achievable goals. Through conversation and guided imagery, the therapist encourages the client to explore their preferred future and identify steps to move towards it. Hypnosis is often used to facilitate relaxation, enhance positive thinking, and reinforce desired changes in behaviour or thought patterns.

This approach emphasises the client’s strengths, resilience, and existing abilities to bring about positive change. It encourages clients to focus on what is working in their lives, explore their own solutions, and build upon their successes. By promoting a forward-looking perspective, Solution-Focused Hypnotherapy empowers individuals to take active steps toward their desired outcomes.

The sessions are typically brief and solution-focused, aiming to provide practical tools and strategies that clients can apply to their daily lives. Solution-Focused Hypnotherapy has been used effectively in various areas, including stress management, anxiety reduction, habit change, confidence-building, and performance enhancement.

A picture of a woman with the word solution above her

What happens during a solution focused hypnotherapy session?

In our session, we have a conversation to explore your strengths, resources, and previous successes. This helps us identify your potential for positive change and sets the stage for a forward-looking approach.

Using relaxation techniques, I guide you into a relaxed and focused state. This allows you to access your subconscious mind and enhances your receptiveness to positive suggestions. Through imagery, guided visualizations, and affirmations, I reinforce the desired changes you want to make.

Throughout the session, we discuss potential solutions and small steps you can take to move closer to your goals. I encourage you to draw from your own resources and past successes, empowering you to generate ideas and strategies.

The essence of solution focused hypnotherapy lies in our future-oriented focus. Together, we imagine and embody the positive changes you want to experience in your life. By visualizing your desired outcomes and embracing the possibilities, you become motivated to take action and make the necessary changes.

In a solution-focused hypnotherapy session, we enable you to find your own solutions and tap into your inner resources. By combining the power of hypnosis with a solution focused mindset we enable you to quickly make positive changes to your life.


How can I find out more about using solution focused hypnotherapy?

If you are interested in finding out more about how solution focused hypnotherapy can help you make positive changes to your life please book a consultation using the button below.

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