Difference Between Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy? Does Hypnotherapy Work?

What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is the process of leading someone into a trance, which is also known as an altered state of awareness.
It is a natural phenomenon that has been used for centuries to help people change their lives. Various specialists have distinct interpretations of the trance state, yet they usually allude to the following:

  • Deep relaxation
  • Hyperfocus 
  • Concentration
  • Increased suggestibility

What is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is the therapeutic use of hypnosis. It is used to help people make positive changes in their lives by accessing the mind-body link. Hypnotherapy can be used to help people:

  • Cease smoking
  • Concentrate on healthier habits to reduce overeating.
  •  Treating physical issues like irritable bowel syndrome and skin conditions
  • Alleviating chronic and acute pain
  • For medical procedures 
  • During pregnancy and childbirth
  • Overcome fears, phobias,
  • Addictions,
  • Improve performance in sports or academics.

Hypnotherapy can be done with the help of a trained professional or through self-hypnosis techniques. Regardless of how it is done, hypnotherapy can be a powerful tool for making positive changes in one’s life.

Hypnosis vs. Hypnotherapy a Quick Comparison

What is it?

Hypnosis is the process of leading someone into a trance,

Hypnotherapy is using hypnosis during therapy.


Hypnosis is an alteration of the state of mind.

Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis to enhance a therapeutic intervention.


Hypnosis relaxes and opens the mind to suggestions. Hypnosis is not a state of mind that lasts long-term. At the end of a hypnotic session, and the state of hypnosis has ended, so do its effects.

Hypnotherapy brings about desired behavioral or attitudinal change. Hypnotherapy has been shown to have long-term positive effects on PTSD, depression, and even the ability to stop smoking.


Hypnosis can be performed for various purposes, such as entertainment and therapy.

Hypnotherapy is conducted for therapeutic reasons.


Hypnosis being a focused state of mind, does not require any qualifications. Similar to meditation, you can learn self-hypnosis.

Hypnotherapy is regulated in most states, and certification and training are needed to provide such treatment to others.

Does Hypnotherapy Work? What does Research Indicate?

Hypnotherapy is a form of therapy that uses hypnosis to help people make positive changes in their lives. The science behind hypnotherapy is still being studied, but there is evidence that it can effectively treat certain conditions, such as:

  • Anxiety, 
  • Depression
  • Pain management.

Studies have also shown that hypnotherapy can be used to help people:

  • Quit smoking 
  • Lose weight. 

The American Psychological Association has determined that, despite its contentious history, hypnosis is now generally accepted as a potent and successful treatment for various issues such as pain, anxiety, and emotional disturbances.

In 2001, the British Psychological Society appointed a working group to investigate the evidence and create an official report on hypnotherapy. The results of their research indicated that a considerable number of studies have been conducted which suggest that using hypnotic techniques may be beneficial in treating a wide range of medical, psychiatric, and psychological issues.

While the exact mechanisms of how hypnotherapy works are not yet fully understood, research suggests that it may work by helping people access their subconscious mind and make changes at a deeper level. Overall, scientific evidence suggests that hypnotherapy can be an effective tool for making positive changes in one’s life.

What Conditions Can Hypnotherapy Assist With Regarding Mental Health?

Hypnotherapy is a powerful tool for helping people with a wide range of mental health issues. It can be used to treat:

  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Migraines,
  • Performance anxiety,
  • Addictions,
  • Weight problems, 
  • Anxiety and stress, 
  • OCD,
  • Grief, 
  • Cancer, 
  • Childbirth, 
  • Sleep disorders 
  • Dementia. 

Hypnotherapy works by allowing the patient to enter a relaxed state of mind in which they can access their subconscious and make positive changes. Through hypnosis, the patient can gain insight into their thoughts and feelings and learn how to manage them better. Hypnotherapy can help patients to develop coping strategies for dealing with difficult emotions or situations. It can also help them to break unhealthy habits or patterns of behavior that are causing distress. Ultimately hypnotherapy is an effective way of helping people to improve their mental health and well-being.

What are the effects of combining Hypnotherapy with other therapeutic approaches?

Hypnotherapy can be used in conjunction with other modalities, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR). Hypnotherapy can help to reduce the intensity of emotional responses, allowing for more effective processing of traumatic memories.

It can also be used to help people become more aware of their thoughts and feelings, enabling them to make better decisions. By combining hypnotherapy with CBT or EMDR, clients can gain a deeper understanding of their issues and develop healthier coping strategies.

Hypnotherapy is also beneficial in helping people to relax and reduce stress levels, which can improve overall mental health. In addition, hypnotherapy can be used to increase motivation and focus on positive outcomes.

By combining hypnotherapy with other modalities, clients are able to benefit from a comprehensive approach that addresses both physical and psychological needs.

Hypnotist vs. Hypnotherapist, what is the correct term? It’s an emotional topic in some circles.

I’m often asked to explain the distinction between a hypnotist and a hypnotherapist. The response is that it depends. These two terms may have had different meanings in the past, but now they are essentially interchangeable. Nevertheless, the laws in each US state and different countries control which titles can be legally used by professionals who use hypnosis.

Due to the increasing severity of these regulations, the National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH, the oldest and most extensive association of hypnotism practitioners in the United States) is striving to prevent any misunderstandings or legal complications by urging its members to only use the title “hypnotist.”

According to the NGH’s State Law and Legal Issues:

 “It is the explicit policy of the National Guild of Hypnotists to consider the traditional title of ‘hypnotist’ to be an old, proud and distinguished title, and it is the title voluntarily used by many Guild officers. Many members do the same even if there is no legal reason to do so. It avoids legal entanglements with overly zealous governmental agencies and the Recommended Terminology of the National Guild of Hypnotists allows us to do everything we need to do under the ‘nontherapeutic’ banner.”

To remove possible confusion and to help the profession avoid using legally protected words, the National Guild of Hypnotists recommends these titles:

  • Consulting Hypnotist
  • Board Certified Hypnotist.

If you are curious, the NGH’s suggested titles of practice explain their opinion on this matter and also list the proposed titles, all of which include a hypnotist instead of a hypnotherapist.

What is a Hypnotist?

A hypnotist is an individual who employs the hypnotic state to bring about beneficial transformation in others through the use of suggestion. By inducing a trance-like state in another person, the hypnotist can access their subconscious mind and influence how they think, act, and behave. This is so powerful because the subconscious mind is our emotional core, our creative source, and what drives our actions. Making change on this level enables us to truly help others to reach their goals and to actualize our full potential.

What qualifications are necessary to become a Hypnotist?

In certain countries and US states, the title of hypnotist is not regulated. Generally, it is expected that someone wishing to become a hypnotist should have completed around 100-150 hours of training. This training is usually not accredited by the Department of Education and may be less comprehensive than other professional qualifications.

What is a Hypnotherapist?

A Hypnotherapist is someone who has received specialized training in the use of hypnosis to create lasting change. They employ more powerful and advanced techniques than a hypnotist, utilizing transformational modalities that communicate with the subconscious mind and work together with it. Hypnotherapy techniques are vast, but generally, they are more elaborate and require substantially more training.

What level of training is required to be a Hypnotherapist?

It is recommended that a total of 500 hours or more to get enough education to truly help others as a professional.  Graduates of state-licensed schools have legitimate credentials, are far better trained based on Department of Education standards, and are expected to maintain much higher levels of professionalism and ethics.

What qualifications are necessary to become a Hypnotherapist?

It is suggested that one should have a minimum of 500 hours of training to be able to assist others in this field effectively. Graduates from state-approved institutions possess valid credentials, have received instruction based on Department of Education criteria, and must adhere to higher standards of ethics and professionalism.

Is it important to consider if I visit a “hypnotist” or a “hypnotherapist”?

To make sure you are getting the best care, I suggest researching their qualifications and experience. Unfortunately, there are many hypnosis courses that do not provide quality training. Make sure your hypnotist is part of a respected organization such as the National Guild of Hypnotists and how often they practice. A full-time hypnotist will see clients daily for most of the day, indicating dedication, experience, and a good reputation. Even if a hypnotist is only working part-time, that can be acceptable – I began my career in this way and eventually moved to full-time. Carefully examine their website to understand their practice – where they are based, and their business’s overall purpose and objectives. This should give you an indication of their commitment, expertise, and standing.

In conclusion, hypnosis and hypnotherapy are both forms of self-hypnosis. The main difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy is that hypnosis involves using a trained hypnotist, whereas hypnotherapy is practiced by a trained therapist. Both forms of self-hypnosis are effective, but hypnotherapy is more widely accepted and is considered to be a more effective form of self-hypnosis.

Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis in psychotherapy, behavior modification, and self-improvement. In some cases, hypnotherapy can be used to treat addiction, anxiety, depression, stress, phobias, pain, insomnia, and even cancer. It’s also used to promote weight loss, smoking cessation, and more.

I hope this article has helped you understand hypnosis vs. hypnotherapy and hypnotist vs. hypnotherapist.