What is the difference between hypnosis and NLP?

Hypnotherapy Edinburgh

What is the difference between hypnosis and NLP?

When I first began to study hypnotherapy (over a decade ago!),  it hadn’t entered my mind to consider training in NLP – Neuro Linguistic Programming.

Whilst I’d heard of NLP I felt a stronger pull to dive deep into the world of hypnotherapy and hypnosis. The knowledge and understanding that hypnosis is the gateway to the unconscious mind literally blew my mind! And knowing what could be achieved by leading people into a gentle and relaxing trance and providing the unconscious mind with powerful suggestions that enabled people to change the way they were thinking and feeling was profound!

I’d already experienced a snippet of what hypnosis could achieve in the Life Coaching course I had taken, which was run by a hypnotherapist and solution-focused psychotherapist. Although I didn’t realise it at the time, this life coaching course was the beginning of a whole new journey and career for me. One which would take me away from a decade of working in the corporate world in HR to running two private hypnotherapy clinics and a global mental health and wellbeing training company!.

As I continued on this new career path and delved deeper into the subconscious, unconscious and superconscious mind (who knew we had so many minds!) I came across more references to NLP and found myself being curious about the difference between hypnosis and NLP.

The more I uncovered this seemingly mystical and magical world of hypnotherapy and EFT Tapping Therapy the more I came across NLP Practitioners. 

Having struck up a number of conversations with NLP practitioners at networking events what occurred to me was the lack of knowledge many had about the physiology of the body and the patterns behind problems.

Having studied Solution Focused Psychotherapy alongside hypnotherapy, I had been given a solid foundation of knowledge and training in the Human Givens Psychotherapy model which equipped me with knowledge such as…

  • how emotions impact the body and its physical health
  • How and why anxiety occurs
  • How to resolve trauma
  • What the REM state is
  • The link between Sleep and depression sleep
  • How we can become addicted to our emotions 

Chatting with various NLP Practitioners there seemed a distinct knowledge gap. Possibly based on the fact that some people can attend a weekend course in NLP and are considered NLP practitioners!

What is NLP?

In simple terms, NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) is a behavioural method that uses reframing to help people overcome their limiting beliefs.

While NLP explores the use of language, as does hypnosis, it’s more a collection of techniques used to overcome psychological blocks and barriers.

NLP techniques include parts integration (something hypnosis and The MAP Method can achieve), Imagery training – a visualisation technique which doesn’t have the depth that hypnosis does (in my view!).

Interestingly ‘Mirroring’ is a technique which is taught in NLP, but is also taught in Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy, Psychology, Counselling and many other therapies! Mirroring is the art of building unconscious rapport with a client so is covered by many therapeutic interventions.  This was certainly an aspect of my own year-long hypnotherapy training but is something to which I no longer pay any focus and attention.  In part 95% of the sessions I conduct are online these days, so you can only mirror so much when it comes to body language! More than that, I’ve learnt something more powerful than Mirroring which is Connection. True energetic connection.

Ironically this was something I learnt in my professional Coaching certificate from non-other than the original Master of NLP, Jamie Smart! As Jamie will confirm, they don’t teach you the art of connection in NLP training!

Other NLP techniques include the NLP Swish and Incantations, which can change behaviour and the language you use to speak to yourself.

Having worked as a hypnotherapist now for more than a decade, and had a lot more conversations and interactions with NLP practitioners, my sense is that hypnosis goes to a much deeper level than NLP does. In hypnosis, we work with the superconscious, subconscious and unconscious mind and can even access past lives. 

Using a combination of Hypnotherapy and Solution Focused Psychotherapy I can identify what has created a problem such as anxiety or a fear of public speaking in the first place which helps clients to feel a greater sense of calm when they understand how and why something has occurred and recognise they are not broken or weak or that there is something wrong with them.

Personally, I still find it incredible that by working with the power of hypnosis a client can leave a hypnotherapy session feeling completely different.  The client has been able to simply relax instead of having to repeat a statement over and over as can be the case in NLP.

Hypnotherapy also causes a profound ripple effect and as a result, many clients find that other problems they weren’t consciously aware of have been resolved at the same time, such as aches, sleep problems or digestion issues for example.

The human mind has evolved using story and metaphor which is something hypnosis draws heavily on and which gives it the power to create incredible transformation. Clinical studies have shown people having live operations under a hypnotic trance, something which NLP has yet to demonstrate!

Interested in finding out how hypnotherapy can help you? Drop me an email at [email protected] or schedule a free consultation. 

Please follow and like us:

Recent Posts