How Are Meditation And Hypnosis Similar & How Do They Differ?

By Mark Bowden | Advice

Oct 15

You may be surprised to learn that hypnosis has a success rate of 93%. While many people understand the benefits of hypnosis these days, others don’t understand how it differs from meditation. Hypnosis and mediation both offer some proven benefits to those who use the techniques, but they aren’t the same. Although both involve a relaxed state of awareness, meditation and hypnosis are very different and their purposes vary.

So how are meditation and hypnosis similar and different? This guide will tell you everything that you need to know.

The Basics of Meditation

Meditation is a technique that works to increase mental awareness and train the ability to focus one’s attention. Traditionally, meditation practices have been a part of many different world religions & ways of life, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and many others. However, in more recent years, meditation has been seen as a psychotherapeutic technique that someone can practice regardless of religious affiliations.

There are different types of meditation that you can practice. Each involves various actions to focus attention such as listening to one’s breath or repeating a mantra. For those who practice meditation regularly, it can help to provide many benefits. This includes increasing self-awareness, reducing the impact of negative emotions, managing stress levels, and more.

The Basics of Hypnosis

Hypnosis is a technique that involves an interaction between both a qualified hypnotist as well as a participant. During hypnosis, an individual will be aided in achieving a relaxed state where their attention is focused. Once in this state, a hypnotist will use the power of suggestion to help guide the individual to create changes in their behaviours and mental patterns. During hypnosis, a person will be in a very relaxed state in which they’re open to the information and suggestions that the hypnotist gives them.

Hypnosis is known to offer many benefits and is clinically proven. There has been plenty of research on the effectiveness of hypnosis. It’s been used to help with the treatment of many conditions and disorders. This includes the treatment of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and phobias. It also includes medical conditions such as asthma, insomnia, and skin conditions.

Hypnosis has also been used to help individuals reduce alcohol consumption, quit smoking, lose weight, and create other behavioural changes as well.

Woman sitting cross-legged on the floor while listening to a self-hypnosis audio

Self-Meditation Vs Self-Hypnosis

When discussing meditation and hypnosis, it’s important to realise that there are ways to use each of them both with and without the help of another person. Here’s what you should know about these various techniques and in what ways they differ.


Meditation is traditionally done alone by sitting and using one of the various meditation methods that are available. This could also be considered self-meditation. These days, however, guided meditation has become more popular. During a guided meditation session, a meditation teacher or another individual will guide the meditator with their voice.

There are many types of guided meditation techniques. guided meditation could include mindfulness techniques, visualizations, and more.


Hypnosis is traditionally done with the help of a hypnotist, rather than alone. However, it’s possible to use self-hypnosis techniques.
Unlike guided hypnosis, self-hypnosis is a type of hypnosis that an individual will perform on their own.

During a hypnosis meditation, the individual will put themselves into a relaxed, trance-like state. Once in this highly suggestible state, they can suggest new behaviours or thought patterns that can influence and benefit them in various ways.

How Are Meditation and Hypnosis Similar?

So now that you know more about meditation and hypnosis, let’s dig deeper. Here’s why many see meditation and hypnosis as being similar.

Myths in the Media

One of the ways that meditation and hypnosis seem similar is because there’s a lot of mystery and hearsay surrounding each of these techniques. Both techniques are often portrayed as being almost “magical” in the movies and on television and there are also stereotypes surrounding those who use the techniques. The reality for both techniques, however, is actually very grounded in reality, with both providing therapeutic benefits while neither looks as wild or unusual as seen on TV.

Use of a Guide

Another reason that these techniques seem similar is that both may make use of a guide to induce a relaxed state. Guided meditation can seem very similar to hypnosis at first glance. In reality, however, the two techniques aren’t as similar as they first appear.

Relaxed States

Meditation and hypnosis both require a person to be in a state of relaxation and attention. However, these relaxed states differ a bit as does the focus of the person using them. Traditionally, individuals who are meditating may focus on their breath. Someone who is being hypnotised will focus on the words of the hypnotist.

Women sitting cross legged in classic meditation pose

How Are Meditation and Hypnosis Different?

So how are meditation and hypnosis techniques different? Here’s what you should know.

Hypnosis Is Goal-Oriented

One of the big differences between meditation and hypnosis is that hypnosis is more goal-oriented. Meditation is typically seen as something that will require consistent practice in order to experience benefits. During meditation, the goal or the benefits are secondary or not focused on at all.

With hypnosis, on the other hand, the hypnosis session will be focused on an outcome. Hypnosis will be specifically meant to help with a problem. It could help someone quit smoking, reduce depression, or experience another positive change.

Wider Reasons for Use

Not only will hypnosis be more goal-oriented, but there’s also a wider range of reasons to use hypnosis. Hypnosis has been used for the treatment of many different conditions, behavioural issues, disorders, and mental health problems. The benefits of meditation, on the other hand, primarily centre around positive mental health benefits alone. Meditation doesn’t focus on helping with behavioural change. It also isn’t focused on medical conditions and disorders.

More Use In clinical settings

Both hypnosis and meditation are being studied more as time goes on. However, hypnosis currently has the upper hand when it comes to clinical research. There is currently more research and evidence that points to the benefits of hypnosis as a psychological therapy process. Hypnosis is a verified technique used by doctors for medical and therapeutic purposes.

Understanding Hypnosis and Meditation

So how are meditation and hypnosis similar and different? By now you should have a better idea of how these techniques vary. Both meditation and hypnosis could be beneficial to you. However, hypnosis tends to be the better choice if you have a specific behavioural issue or condition that you want to resolve.

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