What’s the difference between hypnotherapy and hypno-psychotherapy?

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You’ll see that the terms ‘hypnotherapy’, ‘hypno-psychotherapy’ and ‘psychotherapy’ are all used on our site. I’m also listed as a ‘Hypno-Psychotherapist’ rather than a ‘Hypnotherapist’. So what’s the difference?

Psychotherapy is defined by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) 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.”

UKCP, 2009

In terms of the difference between hypnotherapy and hypno-psychotherapy, you can have a long answer and a short answer!

The short answer

The short answer is that hypnotherapy is a subset of hypno-psychotherapy. Hypno-psychotherapists are trained in both hypnotherapy and psychotherapy whereas hypnotherapists are not. Hypno-psychotherapy training is also Masters level (level 7 on the UK qualification framework) whereas most hypnotherapy training is set at level 4. There are many un-reputable hypnotherapy courses out there too which aren’t even on the qualification framework so it’s important to make sure the person you choose to see is properly qualified.

The long answer

Most clients will search for ‘hypnotherapy’ rather than ‘hypno-psychotherapy’ 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 therapist’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.

As I mentioned, there are many un-reputable hypnotherapy training courses out there and they can vary in content. I’ve even 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 caution. As a hypno-psychotherapist, I can recommend an alternative form of psychotherapy or modify my technique if this were to be the case. As a hypno-psychotherapist, I am also bound by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) code of ethics.

If you’re interested, you can find out more about Nat’s qualifications here.