What Is the Difference Between a Hypnotist and a Hypnotherapist?

Written By

Helen Kaminski, MSc


Fact Checked

man with large headphones on

Note: This post is supported by our readers and contains affiliate links, which will earn us a small commission at no extra cost to you. Therapy Helpers does not accept money for reviews.

Hypnosis is a technique that induces a deeply relaxed state of focused concentration and heightened suggestibility.

Both hypnotists and hypnotherapists use hypnosis, but there are some key differences between these two roles.


A hypnotist is someone who is skilled at inducing hypnosis. Their main role is to guide a person into a hypnotic trance state.

Some of the key characteristics of a hypnotist include:

  • Inducing hypnosis: The primary skill of a hypnotist is the ability to successfully hypnotize clients. They use techniques like relaxation and visualization to put clients in a trance state.
  • Suggestion: While a client is under hypnosis, the hypnotist makes suggestions to help the client achieve certain goals, like quitting smoking. The hypnotized client is more open to new ideas and behaviors.
  • Entertainment: Stage hypnotists entertain audiences by hypnotizing volunteers and giving them suggestions that result in amusing behaviors.

Overall, a hypnotist focuses mainly on the hypnosis process itself as opposed to treating specific conditions.


A hypnotherapist is a therapist who uses hypnosis as a tool in treating psychological issues.

Some key characteristics of hypnotherapists:

  • Treatment approach: Hypnotherapists use hypnosis as part of an overall treatment approach for conditions like anxiety, phobias, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They develop treatment plans specific to the client.
  • Advanced training: Becoming a certified hypnotherapist requires advanced training in counseling and psychology. They must understand treatment protocols for different client issues.
  • Goal-oriented: Sessions are structured around identifying root causes and setting clear goals for the client, such as changing unwanted behaviors. The hypnosis facilitates this process.
  • May be licensed: Many hypnotherapists are also licensed mental health providers like psychologists, psychiatrists, or clinical social workers.

Hypnotherapy Techniques

Hypnotherapists use hypnosis techniques like:

  • Age regression to revisit early memories
  • Visualization for changing behaviors
  • Ideomotor signaling to answer questions while hypnotized

They also teach self-hypnosis skills so clients can practice at home.

a bright colored inverse rotating circle that is hypnotizing

Key Differences

While both use hypnosis, some key differences between hypnotists and hypnotherapists are:


  • Hypnotists have training in hypnosis only.
  • Hypnotherapists have mental health training plus hypnosis training.


  • Hypnotists aim to induce temporary hypnosis.
  • Hypnotherapists use hypnosis as part of an overall treatment plan.

Conditions treated

  • Hypnotists do not treat medical or psychological conditions.
  • Hypnotherapists treat issues like anxiety, PTSD, and addictions.


  • Hypnotists have voluntary certification only.
  • Hypnotherapists may be licensed mental health providers.

So in summary, hypnotists specialize in hypnosis while hypnotherapists use hypnosis along with counseling skills to address specific conditions affecting mental health and behavior.

The main difference comes down to the level of mental health training and therapeutic application of hypnosis techniques.

When to Choose a Hypnotist vs. Hypnotherapist

Choose a Hypnotist For:

  • Entertainment hypnosis
  • Hypnosis demonstrations
  • Temporary desired states (relaxation, focus)

Choose a Hypnotherapist For:

  • Treating anxiety, phobias, PTSD, depression
  • Changing unwanted habits and behaviors
  • Managing pain
  • Weight loss
  • Improving sleep
  • Boosting performance

Sponsored, keeps our community free. Therapy Helpers does not accept money for reviews.

official betterhelp logo
Star Rating 4.5 Of 5

4.5 (6,513+) FROM TRUSTPILOT

Try BetterHelp

Fill out a brief questionnaire and get matched with an experienced therapist online in as little as 48 hours.

✓ Over 33K licensed professionals

✓ Financial aid available

✓ Subscriptions as low as $65/week, billed every four weeks

✓ Cancel plan or change therapist anytime

✓ 20% off your first month through Therapy Helpers

Credentialing and Licensing for Hypnotherapists

Hypnotherapists have advanced training and may carry certifications and licenses related to mental health fields.


  • Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist (CCHT) – Has 300+ hours of approved training
  • Certified Hypnotherapist (CHT) – Has 100+ hours of approved training


Hypnotherapists may have licenses in:

  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology
  • Clinical social work
  • Mental health counseling
  • Marriage and family therapy

Licenses require graduate degrees, supervised clinical hours, and exams.

Benefits of Licenses

  • Ensures advanced therapeutic training
  • Meets standards set by state laws
  • Allows insurance billing

Certification alone does not allow for insurance reimbursement. But, certified hypnotherapists can be effective providers. Licensing simply provides an additional layer of oversight.

Tips for Choosing a Hypnotherapist

  • Check credentials: Look for licenses and certifications from reputable organizations to ensure quality hypnosis experience.
  • Review experience: See how many years they have been practicing hypnotherapy. Look for specializations.
  • Interview first: Have a consultation to see if you feel comfortable with their approach.
  • Consider scope: Are they treating issues similar to yours successfully?
  • Verify insurance: Check if they accept your insurance if you want reimbursement.

Hypnotherapy can help with many psychological and behavioral issues. Find a provider with the right qualifications to help you meet your health goals and avoid uncertain outcomes.

Hypnosis vs. Hypnotherapy

Looking for more mental health tips? Make sure to follow our Mental Health Board on Pinterest!

Recommended Insights:

Does Facebook Own Betterhelp

Does Facebook Own BetterHelp?

BetterHelp, the popular online therapy platform, is owned by Teladoc Health Inc., not Facebook, despite past controversies surrounding data sharing practices.
Sex Positive Therapy

Sex Positive Therapy: An Empowering Approach

Sex-positive therapy offers a non-judgmental space to explore and improve your relationship with sex, sexuality, and your body.
How To Stop Hypnosis

How to Stop Hypnosis

Discover effective strategies to break free from hypnosis, empowering you to regain control of your mind and consciousness.

About the author

Helen Kaminski, MSc

Helen Kaminski, MSc

Mindful living for a happier, healthier you. I’m a writer and mental health advocate in Warsaw, Poland, with five years working as a therapist. I hold a psychology degree from the University of Warsaw. I specialize in writing about mental health, using my experiences and academic background to educate and inspire others. In my free time, I volunteer at a Disability Learning Center and go for nature walks. My writing aims to break down mental health stigma and help others feel understood. Social

1 thought on “What Is the Difference Between a Hypnotist and a Hypnotherapist?”

  1. Last night, I was out with friends, and we ended up at this new lounge where everyone seemed to be smoking. I realized it’s become more of a habit than I thought. Woke up this morning, and the smell of smoke on my clothes was a wake-up call. After some research, I’m thinking about finding a hypnotherapist to help me quit smoking. I am also so glad you shared that to treat disorders like anxiety, phobias, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), hypnotherapists create customized therapy regimens that include hypnosis.


Leave a Comment