What is The Difference Between Hypnosis and Meditation?


In training to become a hypnotherapist, this question always comes up at least once: “What is the difference between hypnosis and meditation? Aren’t they the same?” The short answer to that is no, they are not the same. Hypnosis at its core is about speaking to the subconscious and bringing about change in the conscious and while meditation is similar, that is about as similar as they get.

Hypnosis is about creating anxiety, not relaxation. You’re probably thinking “But in hypnosis, you are supposed to relax.” Yes, but the way to induce hypnotic trance and engage the subconscious mind is to create anxiety that the conscious mind has to try to escape — while providing it an avenue to do so. When the conscious mind “ducks” down this provided avenue to escape the anxiety the hypnotherapist has created, that opens a door through which you can access the subconscious mind (this is a very superficial summary of what happens). That is why for instance, you can feel zoned out by watching TV or a movie. The television throws so much stimulation at you that your brain simply cannot process it and it looks for escape by tuning it out from conscious process. This is why subliminal ads or messages on TV and in movies work: they are on a direct route to the subconscious. TV shows, movies and commercials are not creating relaxation, they are creating anxiety.

Meditation on the other hand is about reaching the subconscious a different way, through relaxation. It takes longer in many ways but in some ways, the results are better. Meditation is about self-discovery and understanding, leading to spiritual and personal growth. Hypnosis can be as well but it is structured very differently. For instance, you can access past lives (known as “past life regression”) through both hypnosis and meditation. Achieving this through hypnosis may be easier and faster but it may be a more fulfilling and full experience using meditation. There can be a blending point though; most “guided meditations” are actually hypnosis sessions. However, since meditation and hypnosis are both voluntary experiences, both can be very beneficial.