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How to Learn Hypnosis: A Guide for Transformational Change

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Paul McKenna, UK's #1 hypnotherapist, to teach how to learn hypnosis on the Mindvalley Certified Hypnotherapy program

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Summary: Many are lost in their mental chaos, and barriers can halt personal growth. Unlock them by understanding how to learn hypnosis with Mindvalley experts.

Ever been drawn to the idea of unlocking deep-seated potential, both in yourself and others? That burning desire to help, heal, and create profound change?

That’s where hypnotherapy steps in. A powerful blend of science and art, it’s the answer for those seeking to dive deep into the human psyche to truly understand how to help others.

You’re on the verge of discovering how to learn hypnosis in its truest essence, backed by science and trusted methods.

As Paul McKenna, UK’s #1 hypnotherapist and trainer of the Mindvalley Certified Hypnotherapist program, says, “If you don’t take responsibility for programming yourself, then someone else will.” Such is the profound nature of hypnotherapy and its impact on the human experience.

What Is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a relaxed state of focused attention where your mind becomes more open to suggestions and your imagination can be vividly active. It’s like a daydream-like state that can help you feel more relaxed and receptive to positive changes or ideas.

The word hypnosis derives from the ancient Greek ὑπνος (hypnos), meaning “sleep,” and the suffix -ωσις (-osis).

Humanity has been using hypnosis and similar mind-altering techniques for millennia. The earliest record of hypnosis can be traced back to the 1027 writings of Avicenna, the Persian physician who wrote about “trance”.

What’s now considered modern hypnosis started in the late 18th century and was made popular by Franz Mesmer, a German physician and “the father of modern hypnosis.” (Fun fact: “Mesmer” is where the word “mesmerism” comes from.) It was actually this word instead of “hypnosis” that was being used to describe the process for some time.

Since then, the practice has found many applications in a number of different fields, including psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, self-improvement, and military use.

Hypnosis vs. hypnotherapy

Are hypnosis and hypnotherapy different? Hypnotherapy is a form of hypnosis used for therapeutic purposes.

During a session, a trained person uses calming techniques and guided imagery to help you relax deeply. Upon reaching a relaxed state, the hypnotherapist will begin suggesting positive changes to your thoughts, feelings, or behaviors.

Then, they use specific therapeutic techniques, suggestions, and interventions to try to address psychological issues and disorders. Such issues include stress relief, trauma resolution, building self-confidence, finding emotional balance, and more.

Here’s a more detailed comparison between the two:

AspectHypnosisHypnotherapy
DefinitionTechnique inducing heightened focus and receptivityTherapeutic use of hypnosis for psychological change
PurposeAltered state of consciousnessAchieve desired psychological or behavioral changes
Application ScopeVaried, from entertainment to therapyPrimarily therapeutic, addressing psychological issues
State InductionInducing trance-like stateInducing hypnotic state for therapeutic goals
PractitionerTrained hypnotherapist or self-hypnosisQualified hypnotherapist or therapist
GoalEnhance suggestibility, focus, and relaxationAddress psychological issues and promote change
Intervention TechniquesNot necessarily therapeutic in natureTherapeutic techniques, suggestions, and interventions
Psychological ChangesLimited, often temporary or for specific purposesAims for lasting psychological and behavioral changes
ExamplesStage hypnosis, guided visualizationTrauma resolution, stress relief, confidence building
ContextEntertainment, self-improvement, habit controlPsychotherapy, addressing mental and emotional issues

10 Benefits of Learning Hypnosis

Here are the most important benefits of learning hypnosis that you need to keep in mind.

  1. Stress management. The techniques can help you relax deeply, manage stress, and increase your overall well-being.
  1. Increased self-confidence. Low self-esteem creates low-self confidence and hypnosis can help you boost it by connecting with yourself from a new angle.
  1. Enhanced focus and concentration. Cultivating attention means choosing consciously how to spend your time and how to live your life—and becoming more focused and productive in the process.
  1. Effective habit control. Habits make you who you are, and hypnotherapy can help break all those habits that you don’t want to have anymore, such as smoking and nail-biting.
  1. Anxiety and phobia management. The practice can provide tools for managing anxiety and phobias, helping you regain control over your reactions and emotions.
  1. Pain management. Hypnosis can also be used as a complementary technique for pain relief by reducing the perception of pain and discomfort.
  1. Improved sleep quality. Its techniques can promote better sleep by inducing relaxation and creating a peaceful mindset before bedtime.
  1. Enhanced creativity. Learning hypnosis can tap into your subconscious mind, boosting creative thinking and encouraging innovative ideas.
  1. Positive behavior change. Hypnotherapy can help you adopt positive behaviors, such as healthier eating habits or regular exercise, by reshaping your subconscious beliefs.
  1. Career advancement. If you’re already some kind of therapist, then adding hypnotherapy as a skill is like adding one more weapon to your arsenal to combat potential issues you may encounter with your clients. At the same time, offering a unique approach can really set you apart from your fellow competitors.

Whether for individual betterment or professional development, the benefits of learning hypnosis are diverse and far-reaching.

How to Learn Hypnosis for Beginners: 9 Steps From Paul McKenna

The best way to learn hypnosis is to get educated with the right information—and in the correct order. Here are the 10 simple steps that Paul shares in the Mindvalley Certified Hypnotherapy program.

Step 1: Start with the basics

Basics come first. In the beginning, you will have to understand the history and theories behind hypnosis as well as the differences between the conscious and unconscious minds.

Step 2: Learn to build rapport and anchoring

No kind of hypnosis is possible without connecting with the individual. Therefore, one of the first steps involves exploring the art of building rapport and discovering the power of anchoring, a technique that links specific emotional states with triggers.

Step 3: Language, patterns, and metaphors

Learning hypnosis is like learning a new language. In the same way, you learn new vocabulary and grammatical rules, you also learn how to use linguistic patterns and metaphors to tap into the subconscious mind of the individual.

Step 4: Advanced inductions

In this step, you’ll dive deeper into advanced inductions. Accordingly, you will be taught inductions for pattern interruptions, fractionation, and group hypnotic trance.

Step 5: Havening

Havening is a powerful touch-based technique that can create emotional release and healing. This advanced method can help individuals overcome traumatic experiences and find inner calm.

Step 6: Future pacing and Swiss pattern

Both are advanced techniques to add to your arsenal.

In future pacing, you learn to guide clients to mentally project themselves into their desired future. In the Swiss pattern technique, you aid individuals in replacing negative thought patterns with positive ones.

Step 7: Learning the applications of hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy can be tailored to address a wide range of concerns beyond stress and anxiety. Creating deep trance phenomena, pain management, and anesthetic and positive hallucinations are all hypnosis applications you can learn.

Step 8: Phobias and compulsions

Equip yourself with the tools to assist individuals in dealing with their phobias and compulsions, ranging from compulsive eating to arachnophobia. Learn specialized techniques and help them regain control over their lives.

Step 9: Setting up a hypnotherapy business

Hypnotherapy has its own practical aspects in the form of a business. Those aspects include client management, legal considerations, marketing, and more. 

If you are looking to monetize your hypnosis skillset, you will have to learn how to set up a healthy business with hypnotherapy at its core.

How to Learn Hypnosis for Free

If you are wondering how to learn hypnosis online or prefer in-person courses, you should know that there are both online and offline options. The most popular ways of learning include:

  • Books
  • Online training courses
  • Workshops and seminars
  • Certification programs
  • Professional training programs

Although there are many options, most of them are not free. The cost of hypnotherapy training varies greatly, ranging from $100 to $3,000, depending on where you want to get your certification.

Not ready for such a huge commitment? Mindvalley’s got a masterclass with Paul himself. You can join the Mindvalley Certified Hypnotherapist FREE webinar at any time and submit your application for a spot.

How Long Does It Take to Learn Hypnosis?

Training programs for learning hypnosis vary greatly. Accordingly, there are programs that last 25 to 30 hours and programs that last 250 to 300 hours, with most of them being somewhere in between.

Most approved hypnotherapy certification programs require a minimum of 40 hours of hypnotherapy training workshops, 20 hours of supervised individual training, and at least two years of practical experience using hypnosis as a part of your practice.

What’s more, the top-tier hypnotherapy program will meet most of the following standards:

  • A structured curriculum 
  • Certification from a reputable institution recognized nationally
  • Qualified instructors who have a strong professional background and practical experience
  • Well-organized lessons
  • Opportunities for group interaction with peers
  • Comprehensive coverage of advanced topics, including more advanced techniques
  • Insights into building a business model for your practice
  • Mentorship to guide you along the way
  • Real testimonials from previous students who have benefited from the training

Apart from the hours needed for your training, it will take at least one year of post-qualifying experience to become a fully competent professional.

Additionally, if you want to be a certified clinical professional, you also need to have a clinical background.

Can You Become a Hypnotherapist After Learning Hypnosis?

Yes, you can become a hypnotherapist after first learning the basics of hypnosis. Hypnosis is a powerful technique, but the art and science of hypnotherapy go beyond that. 

After learning the basics, you’ll have to get educated further and receive a deeper understanding of therapeutic techniques, ethical practices, and hypnotherapy as a practice overall.

Here are the basic steps to getting certified:

  1. Mastering hypnosis fundamentals. First, you need to acquire a grasp of the basic principles of hypnosis.
  1. Advancing to hypnotherapy training. Then, you will have to engage in more advanced training specifically focused on therapeutic applications of hypnosis.
  1. Understanding ethical standards. In this step, you will familiarize yourself with the ethical guidelines and professional standards associated with hypnotherapy practice.
  1. Gaining practical experience. Many aspiring hypnotherapists undergo supervised practice sessions to gain hands-on experience and hone their skills.
  1. Pursuing certification. While certification isn’t always mandatory, it adds credibility to your practice. Certification programs typically include training requirements, practical assessments, and adherence to ethical guidelines.
  1. Establishing a practice. After completing training and obtaining certification, you can establish your hypnotherapy practice and start working with your first clients.
  1. Lifelong learning. The field of hypnotherapy is ever-evolving, so you need to try to stay updated with the latest techniques and research.

When becoming a hypnotherapist, it’s important to choose a good trainer with a well-structured curriculum. At Mindvalley, specifically, the program to become a certified hypnotherapist is a four-month program that teaches:

  • Foundations of hypnotherapy
  • Diagnostics and change work
  • Applications of hypnotherapy
  • Dealing with phobias
  • Achieving peak performance
  • Stage hypnotism
  • And setting up a hypnotherapy business

As Lindsey Brooks, one student of the program, says, “Hypnotherapy has had such radical positivity on my life, it has opened doorways for others to be empowered, find self-betterment, be of service, and shine the way for others to gleam their light as well.

A Step to Your Hypno-Path

The reality is, hypnotherapy is helping millions get over their addictions, fears, traumas, and self-sabotage. It’s a professional skill that takes time to master. However, with the right guidance and framework, you can explore it in the quickest and most efficient way possible. 

With guidance from Paul McKenna, you can discover how you can safely and effectively practice hypnotherapy on yourself and others in a fraction of the time. Thousands of aspiring hypnotherapists worldwide have successfully enrolled in the masterclass, like Heather Flynn from Scottsdale, United States:

I am leaving this program feeling even more confident in my ability to change other people’s lives.”

If you are interested in becoming a hypnotherapist, too, then the best place to start is by registering to gain FREE access to exciting content and updates about how hypnotherapy can change your life.

Welcome in.


Featured image generated on Midjourney.

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Written by

Sofia Evaggelidou

Sofia is a mindfulness advocate and writer at Mindvalley. She is passionate about Japanese culture and an avid gamer.
Picture of Sofia Evaggelidou

Sofia Evaggelidou

Sofia is a mindfulness advocate and writer at Mindvalley. She is passionate about Japanese culture and an avid gamer.
Paul McKenna, globally celebrated hypnotherapist and behavioral scientist
Expertise by

Paul McKenna, Ph.D., is a globally celebrated hypnotherapist and behavioral scientist, having mastered the art of influencing human behavior using hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming.

He’s also recognized as the United Kingdom’s most successful non-fiction author, with over 10 million books sold worldwide.

His high-profile client list includes celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, David Bowie, and James Corden. Paul is a regular on television shows like The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Dr. Oz Show.

Additionally, Paul leads Mindvalley’s Everyday Bliss and Total Self-Confidence quests and the Mindvalley Certified Hypnotherapist program, offering unique opportunities to learn from one of the best in the field.

How we reviewed this article
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Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.

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Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. 

We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. 

The Mindvalley fact-checking guidelines are based on:

To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.