Written by Nat Young – Yoga Teacher and Clinical Hypno-Psychotherapist.
You’ll see that the terms ‘hypnotherapy’, ‘hypno-psychotherapy’ and ‘psychotherapy’ are all used on our site. I’m also listed as a ‘Registered Hypno-Psychotherapist’ rather than a ‘Hypnotherapist’. So what’s the difference?
Psychotherapy is defined by UKCP (2009) as a process “to help clients gain insight into their difficulties or distress, establish a greater understanding of their motivation, and enable them to find more appropriate ways of coping or bringing about changes in their thinking and behaviour. Psychotherapy involves exploring feelings, beliefs, thoughts and relevant events, sometimes from childhood and personal history, in a structured way.”
In terms of the difference between hypnotherapy and hypno-psychotherapy, you can have a long answer and a short answer! The short answer is that hypnotherapy is a subset of hypno-psychotherapy and hypno-psychotherapists are trained in both hypnotherapy and psychotherapy at Masters level whereas hypnotherapists are not.
In terms of the long answer, most clients will search for ‘hypnotherapy’ when looking for a therapist as this is the more common term. However, it’s important to know that there is a difference between hypnotherapy and hypno-psychotherapy with regard to a therapists’s training and the types of issues they can deal with.
Hypnotherapists are usually trained to deal with simpler issues such as habits, phobias and pain but they are not generally trained in psychotherapeutic techniques. The term ‘hypno-psychotherapist’ is therefore used to distinguish between therapists who have had Masters-level training through a UKCP-approved training school and those who have not.
Hypnotherapy courses can vary in content – indeed I’ve seen some that only consist of one weekend of training! It’s therefore wise to make sure you choose a therapist who is well trained, regardless of whether you choose a hypnotherapist or a hypno-psychotherapist.
Therapists like myself who have been trained in hypno-psychotherapy through a UKCP-approved training school can use both hypnotherapy and psychotherapy techniques as part of a therapy session.
The main advantage of choosing a hypno-psychotherapist over a hypnotherapist is that you’ll be seeing a practitioner who has been trained in both hypnotherapy and psychotherapy. This can enable us to get to the root of more complex problems and also explore issues that are perhaps more deep-seated. There are also some instances where the use of hypnosis is not recommended or should only be used with care. As a hypno-psychotherapist I can recommend an alternative form of psychotherapy or modify my technique if this were to be the case.