What Is the Difference Between Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy?

There are many different courses that call themselves “hypnotherapy certification programs” but are not truly that. There is a big difference between “hypnosis certification” and “hypnotherapy certification.” Sometimes the difference between the two terms is blurred by schools in order to enroll unqualified people.

Hypnosis is the process of getting a person relaxed and giving them suggestions that may or may not help them to get their desired results. They may stop smoking or lose weight or decrease their anxiety. However, these hypnotically suggested changes are often temporary, and this is one of the reasons that both hypnosis and hypnotherapy have gotten the reputation of not having long lasting results. These terms have been used interchangeably and they are two very different concepts.


A professional therapist can easily learn to put someone into hypnosis, but then the question becomes, “what do I do now?” Let’s take treating addictions. Most treatment facilities have a very low success rate. This is because they are treating a very complex issue with band-aids. They are treating addictions by only reaching the conscious mind, which comprises 10% of the individual’s total being. When we put someone into “a state of hypnosis” we now have the potential of going into the other 90% of the mind, the subconscious, to discover and treat the underlying addictive pattern. Just putting the person in the state of hypnosis and giving suggestions, however, does not resolve the deeper issues. It is more like a tourniquet than a band-aid, but it still only stops the bleeding for a short period of time.


For those of you wondering how to become a hypnotherapist, it’s important to know the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy. Learning and getting certified in hypnotherapy gives you the skills to discover quite easily what the source of the addictive behaviour is. Then, using the full 100% of the mind, you learn how to resolve the issues which have led to this destructive and often deadly behaviour. Hypnotherapy training and certification can help you free the client from toxic behaviours. Hypnotherapy will lead people toward healing the unresolved issues that have been hounding them their whole lives. We have learned to uproot the causes which have been feeding this hungry tiger within. Most people during childhood are faced with unpleasant situations and then draw subconscious conclusions about themselves from this very childish mind.  We also make decisions about how to behave which seem good at the time, but now are defeating us. These childhood decisions are so deeply hidden that only through the depth of hypnotherapy, not hypnosis, can they be discovered and treated.

A hypnotist (not a hypnotherapist) will mainly use relaxation and hypnotic suggestions to address the behavior. The hypnotist may ask the person to associate a nasty, disgusting substance with the food or drug they are addicted to. This may work for a few days or weeks. However, if the compulsive eater, say, encounters a situation where someone they love deeply threatens to leave, they are immediately back to consuming their addictive substance of choice. The pattern itself of using substances (food, drugs, etc.) to medicate unpleasant feelings has not been changed or healed.

With hypnotherapy, you can regress the client to childhood, discover these patterns and change them deep within the unconscious mind. The new affirmations and suggestions will stick for more than just a few days. This is a fundamental reason why the mental health professional must discern the difference between hypnotherapy certification and hypnosis certification.

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