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.

Key Differences

a bright colored inverse rotating circle that is hypnotizing

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

Ad, keeps our community free. The perspectives presented on this website are genuinely our own and we do not accept money for reviews.

betterhelp logo

4.5 (7,344+) FROM TRUSTPILOT

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

✓ Over 35K 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.

YouTube video
Hypnosis vs. Hypnotherapy

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

Recommended Insights:

A serene room with a comfortable chair, soft lighting, and calming decor. A therapist guides a client through relaxation techniques and positive affirmations

Hypnotherapy for OCD: Is It Effective?

Discover how hypnotherapy can offer a transformative approach to managing OCD, providing relief and empowering individuals to reclaim control over their lives.
A laptop sits open on a cluttered desk, displaying a video call with a therapist. A globe and travel souvenirs surround it, hinting at the expat's struggle for identity

Expat Identity Crisis: Navigating Self-Discovery with Therapy

Discover how therapy can help expatriates navigate the complexities of self-identity and find a sense of belonging in foreign lands.
A laptop displaying a video call between two people in different time zones. A world map in the background symbolizes distance. A therapist's office setting with calming decor

Mental Health for Expats: Maintaining Long-Distance Relationships

Expats navigating long-distance relationships can find essential support and strategies through online therapy to maintain their mental health and strengthen their emotional connections despite the miles apart.

About the author

Helen Kaminski, MSc

Helen Kaminski, MSc

Mindful living for a happier, healthier you. I’m a medical writer, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and a mental health advocate in Warsaw, Poland, with nine years working as a therapist. I hold a Master's in Clinical 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 connections are vital to mental well-being, and I am dedicated to fostering communities of support and empathy. By sharing knowledge and personal insights, I strive to create a more compassionate world. 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