What is the difference between hypnosis and NLP?

What is the difference between hypnosis and NLP?

When I embarked on my journey into the world of hypnotherapy over a decade ago, the idea of training in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) hadn’t even crossed my mind.

Although I was aware of NLP and its principles, my inner calling led me deeper into the realm of hypnotherapy and hypnosis. The revelation that hypnosis served as the gateway to the unconscious mind was nothing short of mind-blowing. Understanding the potential of gently guiding individuals into a relaxed trance and providing their unconscious mind with powerful suggestions to transform their thoughts and feelings was profoundly captivating.

My initial encounter with the transformative potential of hypnosis occurred during a Life Coaching course I enrolled in. This course, led by a hypnotherapist and solution-focused psychotherapist, unknowingly marked the beginning of a remarkable journey and career shift for me. It steered me away from a decade-long corporate HR career to establishing two private hypnotherapy clinics and a global mental health and wellbeing training company!

As I continued to explore this newfound path and delved deeper into the layers of the subconscious, unconscious, and even the superconscious mind (yes, there are many facets of the mind!), I began encountering references to NLP. This piqued my curiosity about the distinctions between hypnosis and NLP.

Engaging in conversations with NLP practitioners at networking events, I couldn’t help but notice a common gap in their understanding of the body’s physiology and the intricate patterns underpinning various issues. These patterns effectively govern our entire lives and dictate our responses to everyday situations.

Having undertaken comprehensive training in Solution Focused Psychotherapy alongside hypnotherapy, I had acquired a solid knowledge base rooted in the Human Givens Psychotherapy model. This foundation equipped me with invaluable insights, such as:

  • The profound impact of emotions on the body’s physiology.
  • The addictive nature of emotions.
  • The underlying mechanisms behind the development of anxiety disorders.
  • Effective approaches to resolving trauma.
  • The significance of the REM state.
  • The intricate connection between sleep and depression.

This holistic understanding has enriched my therapeutic approach, allowing me to navigate the complex interplay between the mind and body more effectively.

What is NLP?

DALL·E 2024 01 23 11.07.04 Visual Representation Of Hypnosis Versus NLP Neuro Linguistic Programming. On The Left A Traditional Hypnosis Setting With A Person Sitting Comfort

In straightforward terms, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a behavioural approach primarily centred on reframing to help individuals overcome their limiting beliefs.

While both NLP and hypnosis explore language and its influence, NLP is more of a toolkit comprising various techniques aimed at addressing psychological obstacles. Among the repertoire of NLP techniques are parts integration, a process that can also be incorporated into hypnotherapy, and imagery training, a visualisation method that, in my opinion, lacks the depth of hypnosis.

Interestingly, NLP introduces the concept of “Mirroring,” a technique that finds application not only within NLP but also in psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, psychology, counselling, and various other therapeutic modalities. Mirroring involves the skill of establishing unconscious rapport with a client and is a component covered in many therapeutic interventions. In my personal journey, while mirroring was a significant aspect of my year-long hypnotherapy training, it’s something I now place less emphasis on. The shift is partly because a substantial portion of my sessions are conducted online, limiting the use of body language in mirroring. Furthermore, I’ve discovered a more potent approach, which I call “Connection.” It’s about fostering genuine energetic connections with clients, a dimension that I’ve found to be immensely powerful.

Ironically, I acquired this profound understanding of connection during my professional coaching certification, an experience provided by none other than the original Master of NLP, Jamie Smart. It’s worth noting that NLP training, as Jamie Smart himself will confirm, typically doesn’t delve into the art of authentic connection. Jamie Smart, renowned for his company Salad and NLP training across the UK, has transitioned away from using NLP techniques with his clients.

Other notable NLP techniques include the NLP Swish and Incantations, which are effective tools for modifying behaviour and transforming the way you communicate with yourself.

With over a decade of experience as a hypnotherapist and extensive interactions with NLP practitioners, it’s clear to me that hypnosis and hypnotherapy offer a much deeper and multifaceted approach compared to NLP. In the realm of hypnosis, we delve into the superconscious, subconscious, and unconscious aspects of the mind, and we can even access memories from past lives.

Through the skilful integration of Hypnotherapy and Solution Focused Psychotherapy, I can uncover the root causes of issues like anxiety or a fear of public speaking. This comprehensive understanding empowers clients to experience a profound sense of calm, knowing how and why a problem originated and recognising that they are not inherently flawed or weak.

One of the remarkable aspects of hypnotherapy is the ability to facilitate significant transformations within a client in a relaxed and effortless manner. Unlike some NLP techniques that require repetitive statements, hypnotherapy allows clients to simply relax and let the therapeutic process unfold.

Moreover, hypnotherapy often triggers a remarkable ripple effect, leading to the resolution of additional issues that may not have been consciously recognised. This could include the alleviation of physical discomforts, improved sleep patterns, or the resolution of digestion problems, among others.

Hypnosis harnesses the innate power of storytelling and metaphor, deeply rooted in the human psyche. This quality enables hypnotherapy to drive profound transformations. Clinical studies have even documented instances of individuals undergoing live surgical procedures while under a hypnotic trance, a testament to the extraordinary capabilities of hypnosis, an achievement yet to be demonstrated by NLP.

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