Hypnosis vs Hypnotherapy – what’s the difference? If you’ve asked yourself this question, you’re not alone. I know it can be a little confusing, so I’m going to break it all down into the simplest terms.
We’ll go over the differences between hypnosis and hypnotherapy, what most people think of when they hear the word hypnosis, and the different brain waves involved in hypnosis.
Let’s dive in!
Hypnosis vs Hypnotherapy
Let’s get the chicken out of the room, shall we?
When most people hear the word hypnosis, they relate it to comedy skits. You know the ones – where a magician pulls a random person from the crowd, hypnotizes them, and get them to quack like a chicken on stage.
Here’s the thing – that is hypnosis if you’ve ever seen someone quack like a chicken on stage. But boy, has it gotten a bad rap over the years from comedy skits.
Hypnosis, in the simplest form, is the act of putting your mind into the Alpha or Theta brainwave state, which feels very calm and dreamy. It feels very similar to meditation.
When we take this hypnosis method and use it for therapeutic reasons, it’s called hypnotherapy.
Think of it as hypnosis being a tool and hypnotherapy is putting that tool into action for a purpose.
Hypnosis = getting the mind into a dreamy calm state.
Hypnotherapy = using hypnosis to get to the subconscious mind for communicating.
With me so far? Great! Let’s keep going!
The Power of Hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy is incredibly versatile. If a magician can use it to get a shy person to quack on stage in front of an audience, we should have no problem using the same calming technique to bring the mind into a safe space for therapy.
This safe space during hypnosis is just a different brain frequency than we normally run on in our awake state during the day.
In hypnosis, our conscious mind settles down so the subconscious/superconscious mind can take a turn speaking. Letting this part of the brain come out to chat is amazing because it cannot make things up.
The subconscious/superconscious mind is very literal (and sometimes very funny) in the way it communicates. But we go through our day-to-day lives letting our logical mind get in the way, so the subconscious mind rarely gets a chance to truly say its piece.
Essentially hypnosis gives the subconscious mind a turn to chat, and when we tune into that, a lot of healing can happen!
Accessing the Subconscious Mind During Hypnosis
To explain how the subconscious mind is accessed with hypnosis, it’s best to start with a brief overview of the brain waves we cycle through.
During a 24-hour period, our brains go in and out of 5 brain wave frequencies.
Those 5 brain waves are Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta. Each brain wave frequency has its own state of brain activity and state of consciousness.
Gamma is the fastest brain wave frequency. But we don’t operate in Gamma too long, because it becomes exhaustive.
Beta is a little slower than Gamma, and where we operate most of our alert day-to-day activities.
Alpha is, you guessed it, slower than Beta. It provides a feeling of relaxation and calm. This brain wave is frequently associated with daydreaming or a “Flow State.”
Theta is slower (or lower) than Alpha, and gives a feeling of drowsiness or drifting into sleep.
Delta is the slowest brain wave and is only accessed when we’re in deep and restful sleep.
When we access the subconscious mind during hypnosis, I guide you into a relaxing and calm state. If you’ve ever listened to an audio meditation, it feels very similar to that! Once I’ve guided you into a relaxing state, you’ll be in an Alpha or Theta brainwave state. This is the sweet spot for hypnosis!
A good practitioner will dance the line between Alpha and Theta states to ensure you get into a deep enough flow state, but not so deep that you fall asleep or zone out.
When your subconscious mind has its turn to chat during hypnosis, you’ll be highly suggestible. This would be how the magician gets a shy person to quack on stage. Though you’ll be highly suggestible when used in hypnotherapy, I won’t ask you to do anything crazy, and you’re always in control. I’ll ask your subconscious mind questions to get to the root cause of issues we discussed during your intake.
That, in a nutshell, is the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy! They’re accessed in the same ways, but hypnotherapy is used in a more clinical setting to uncover thought patterns and behaviors in the subconscious mind.
Do you have any questions? Have you ever tried hypnosis or hypnotherapy? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
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