Unveiling the Differences: Hypnosis vs. Meditation

I often receive questions about how hypnosis and meditation are different, and with the increased popularity of mindset work, it’s important to understand some key differences. Meditation has been around for thousands of years, but has become increasingly buzz worthy as of late. Hypnosis is the new kid on the block, being formally introduced in the 1800s, although is quickly gaining momentum for those who are looking to do the deep inner mindset work. To the beginner, they can appear much the same. So what is the actual difference?

The simple answer is that hypnosis and meditation are two distinct practices that involve altered states of consciousness, but they have different goals and methodologies.  

Goal and Purpose:

  • Hypnosis: Hypnosis is often used as a therapeutic technique to promote behavioral changes, eliminate limiting beliefs, reduce pain, manage stress, or address specific issues like phobias or addictions. It typically involves the guidance of a hypnotherapist who uses suggestions to influence a person’s thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. Hypnosis creates change on the subconscious level where a person’s habits, values, memories exist. The subconscious mind is a storehouse life experiences that shape how we unconsciously respond to events – it can be compared to the software programming on a computer. It filters the way we perceive things and become our automatic responses. Because they are below the level of our awareness, we are generally unaware of how or why we’re responding in a specific way. Rather, we just do. Through hypnotherapy, the unknown becomes known. 
  • Meditation: Meditation is primarily practiced for relaxation, self-awareness, and cultivating a calm and focused mind. It aims to develop mindfulness, inner peace, and an overall sense of well-being. While it can have therapeutic benefits, meditation is often considered a spiritual or personal growth practice rather than a formal therapeutic intervention. Meditation is often used as a way for people to enhance their intuition and receive “downloads” or “divine guidance.” When the mind is calm and clear, it creates space for a deeper, inner knowing. 

State of Consciousness:

  • Hypnosis: Hypnosis induces a state of focused attention and heightened suggestibility. It involves guiding the individual into a trance-like state, where they become more open to suggestions and their subconscious mind becomes more accessible. Hypnotic experiences can vary from deep relaxation to a highly focused state, but the individual is typically aware and can recall the experience afterward.
  • Meditation: Meditation involves entering a state of relaxed and alert awareness, often by focusing attention on a specific object (e.g., breath, mantra, or sensation) or by cultivating an open and nonjudgmental awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. The aim is to achieve a state of deep relaxation, clarity, and present-moment awareness  without necessarily altering the subconscious mind or working with suggestions. In meditation, the individual often maintains conscious awareness throughout the experience, although can flow into deeper states of relaxation known as trance states with practice.


  • Hypnosis: Hypnosis is typically facilitated by a trained hypnotherapist or practitioner. It often involves verbal guidance, visualization, or other techniques to induce relaxation and focus the individual’s attention. Through the process of hypnosis, a person is in a trance state where they bypass the critical faculties to access to the subconscious mind where change can occur at the foundational level. The practitioner uses specific intentional suggestions, imagery, or therapeutic techniques tailored to the individual’s needs and goals.
  • Meditation: Meditation can be practiced in various forms, such as mindfulness meditation, breathwork, transcendental meditation, loving-kindness meditation, or mantra meditation. It can be done independently or with the guidance of a teacher or through meditation apps. The practice often involves finding a quiet and comfortable space, adopting a suitable posture, and directing one’s attention inward.

Overall, while both hypnosis and meditation involve changing a person’s state of awareness and can have overlapping benefits, they differ in their goals, methodologies, and the level of guidance involved. 

Hypnosis is primarily used for therapeutic purposes and focuses on specific outcomes, while meditation is a broader practice aimed at cultivating mindfulness and overall well-being.

Both practices are powerful in their own right, but you do want to be clear on the desired outcome you are hoping to attain. If you purpose is strictly relaxation and calming the mind, meditation is amazing and is a daily practice of many high achievers. If you are wanting to eliminate bad habits, release limiting beliefs, fears, anxiety, or work through trauma, hypnosis would be most beneficial. 

Not all hypnotherapists are created equal, so if you decide to purse this option there are a few questions you want to ask:

  • For starters, make sure to ask the hypnotherapist about their level of training. You want at least 100 hours of initial training plus annual hypnotherapy-specific educations. 
  • Ask what percentage of their time is spent providing hypnotherapy. Some practitioners do this infrequently as a side offering to other modalities like talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, intuitive or energy work, etc. Experience and hours of time actually providing 1:1 hypnosis with clients matters and will greatly impact your outcome. 
  • Also, check their google reviews! This is a great way to see other what others are saying.
  • Last, and possibly the most important, follow your gut on who you resonate with the most for your journey. The subtle hints of your body will tell you if someone is a good fit or not, trust your intuition!

As always, reach out with any questions!  ~Angie

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