Is hypnotherapy different from meditation?


I don't know why I never thought of this question! Someone asked me once, and my immediate answer was, "Yes, it's different...but let me think about how I can best explain the difference!" It's a very good question and quite an obvious one, so I decided to put it up in a blog post. 

First, let's explore how hypnosis is different from meditation. 

Hypnosis vs Meditation 

Meditation as a state of mind in which you focus your thoughts on just one thing for the purpose of relaxing or receiving inspiration. 

Whereas hypnosis refers to being in a suggestible state of mind in which the goal is to rewrite or transform an unwanted behavior or thinking pattern. 

Brain wave states: 

Our brains are constantly vibrating with activity and electrical impulses. These electrical impulses can be recorded to create graphs of electrical brain waves. 

For most of the day, we function at the higher frequency beta brain wave level. This is when we are awake, thinking, and using a high level area of our brain called the prefrontal cortex. 

In an alpha brain wave state, the frequency of these electrical impulses are slower. Our brain literally slows down. There's more time in between thoughts, and we generally feel more reflective, calm, relaxed, and grounded. You can achieve this state with both hypnosis and meditation, but we want to actually stay in this state for hypnosis.

There are other deeper and slower frequency brain wave states too, like theta waves, that can also be accessed by meditation. Examples of this is when you're driving on the freeway and you suddenly realize you couldn't remember the last 5 minutes or you're taking shower seemingly mindlessly when all of a sudden a great idea comes to you. This is a state that most people who meditate want to achieve as it allows you to access your intuition. 

And delta waves are the slowest range of brain waves, and they indicate sleep. 

Alpha waves in hypnosis and hypnotherapy

In hypnosis, the brain wave state we are aiming for is the alpha brain wave state. This is the state that allows you to calm your mind down while still staying lucid enough to adopt new thinking patterns in hypnosis and rewrite old thinking patterns in hypnotherapy. 

In the system of hypnotherapy that I'm trained in, called Rapid Transformational Therapy, the creator Marisa Peer teaches a simple way involving the eye position to induce this suggestible state of mind.

Hypnosis vs Hypnotherapy 

Hypnosis is usually associated with audio recordings that you listen to with your eyes closed that contain suggestions that you'd like to adopt. For example, there are many free hypnosis recordings on YouTube for everything from weight loss to anxiety. But all of them are very general and not specific to you and your individual thinking patterns. If you resonate with the words being said, it can be very helpful. I find that hypnosis recordings are helpful in helping to change your thinking, but it doesn't help to delete the original unwanted thought pattern. 

Hypnotherapy is different than hypnosis in that the source of unwanted behaviors or thoughts patterns are uncovered and transformed. Then you get an individualized audio recording containing suggestions that are specific to your healing and that resonate with you on a deeply personal level. And since the source of the unwanted behaviors are changed, the unwanted thoughts that precede the unwanted behaviors can actually be done away with. 

Hypnotherapy vs Meditation

In summary, hypnotherapy and meditation (and even hypnosis) are different in that they are each used for very different reasons.

Hypnotherapy is a method used to access the subconscious mind to uncover and transform the source of specific thought and behavior patterns that are stopping you from doing or being what you want today. This is done through putting the mind into a suggestible state of mind and by inducing the alpha brain wave state. By undoing the source of the block, unwanted behaviors and thought patterns are resolved and gotten rid of.

Meditation, on the other hand, is mostly used to calm the mind down, and for more experienced meditators, to receive inspiration or access the intuition. 

As you can see, both hypnotherapy and meditation can be extremely useful in becoming more in tune with the self and in achieving wellbeing and happiness. 

To learn more about Hypnotherapy and Rapid Transformational Therapy, please visit

To learn more about the founder of RTT, Marisa Peer, please visit

Have you tried hypnotherapy, meditation, or using hypnosis recordings? What was your experience like? We'd love to hear from you in The Love Yourself Community on Facebook!



"Hypnotherapy" in Psychology Today 

"Mental Health & Hypnosis" in WebMD

"Hypnosis" in MayoClinic

"Study identifies brain areas altered during hypnotic trances" in Stanford Medicine

"Meditation vs. Self Hypnosis"

"What is the difference between Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy" from The Wellness Institute

"How meditation changes your brain frequency" in MindBodyGreen



Jessica May TangComment