What is Hypnotherapy? How does Hypnosis work? What can Psychology teach me? How can I learn to understand both my own mind and others people's minds? Connecting Hypnotherapy aims to answer these questions in a continuous stream of posts that fill in the enormous jigsaw puzzle piece by piece with articles that shed light on a myriad of fascinating different topics all related to the mind, and to life. I hope you enjoy reading.
What is the difference between meditation and hypnosis? Which works better; mediation or hypnotherapy? I get these type of questions quite often so I will do my best to answer it as fully as I can.
I will begin by saying the two factions are very closely linked and can certainly be used in combination with one another. Both techniques involve placing the body into a comfortable and still position then focusing on controlling breathing with the eyes generally closed. In this ‘cocooned’ state of inner reflection the sensations of the body as well as the conscious thinking mind become subdued while the subconscious aspect of mind comes to the fore. This is pretty much where the similarity finishes. Hypnotherapy and meditation do overlap sometimes; visualisations are used in both practices as are differing relaxation techniques such as breathing styles, but the differences are also very clear.
There are different forms of meditation, but generally the practice has the overall goal of achieving a quiet, still mind. This can be gained using many different methods such as the use of repeating mantras (words or sounds), visualisation, or breathing practices but the idea is more or less the same, although some meditations do allow all thoughts and emotions to pass through the mind while in the state of stillness. Meditation has been used for thousands of years because of its known benefits; it brings about calmness, anti-stress, happiness and clarity of thoughts, and is also known to reduce blood pressure and boost all round health.
Hypnosis uses many of the same principles as meditation and usually starts in a similar manner. But once in the relaxed state, the mind is not simply kept quiet. Instead the subconscious is manipulated toward a specific goal through the use of hypnotic suggestions or instructions. This might be to treat depression, gain self-confidence, lose weight or stop smoking – any problem stemming from subconscious activity can be focused upon using hypnotherapy by changing the mind-set of the subconscious by programming it with new ideas. Self-hypnosis is doing hypnotherapy alone but regular hypnotherapy is conducted by a hypnotherapist who will guide their client through the entire process, and make suggestions to their subconscious mind for self- improvement purposes. Self-hypnosis can be considered more like meditation, although again it should have a specific focus with suggestions being made to the subconscious for personal improvement. Meditation can also be done by another person in ‘guided meditation’ but will not include the suggestions for a specific goal like hypnotherapy.
Meditation can take you somewhere calm, quiet and still and you can remain in that wonderful feeling for as long as you wish to, your conscious mind in a state of rest. Hypnosis takes you to the same relaxing state but then goes further in attempting to make therapeutic change for a specific cause. Hypnosis therefore has the same benefits as meditation in combination to being a very fast and powerful tool for changing personal habits or attitudes. Meditation can have great benefits also but perhaps it is not so targeted as hypnosis, but this is not to say the effects cannot be equally as effective.
My personal suggestion would be to try both techniques and see which one benefits you most. If you have not meditated before taking 15 minutes of mind-quieting time can feel wonderfully refreshing as well as mind opening, while if you are looking to alter specific aspects of your life for the better then hypnosis or self-hypnosis is certainly a great way to go about it.
For more information on meditation practices try these pages: