Is guided meditation a form of hypnosis?

Guided meditation is a type of meditative practice that uses music, sound, words, or imagery to guide you into an alternate state. It can be done sitting down, lying down, or standing up. 

During this process, you are led through one or more exercises to give you a particular outcome.

On the other hand, hypnosis uses speech and different sounds, background music, and mental imagery to help guide you into an alternate state of consciousness to facilitate a specific outcome. It can be done sitting down, lying down, or standing up. 

Yes, there is such a thing as walking or awake hypnosis.

And during the hypnotic process, you may be led through one or more exercises to help you achieve a specific outcome. Now can you tell the difference?

Neither can I. 

That’s because there’s no difference between a Guided meditation and hypnosis. They are one and the same. 

This is not a popular argument to make because practitioners on both sides have a personal, professional, and often financial interest tied up in their narrative. 

But our concern is benefiting you, the reader. So if we must slay some sacred cows, to get at the truth, so be it!

Your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference

Guided meditations are identical to hypnotherapy. They provide your subconscious mind with cues and suggestions so that you can get past mental blocks and initiate a positive change. 

In the case of hypnosis, you receive cues and suggestions from the practitioner through the words that they are saying. 

With guided meditation, it’s the same deal.

You can receive cues and suggestions from your instructor through their use of words and music. You are essentially doing something similar to what hypnotherapy is doing for you. 

The meditations can be a little more colorful, but not always. This all depends on the worldview of the hypnotherapist you’re working with. The point to keep in mind is that these are both guided journeys, and that’s just the truth of the matter. 

When a person shows up for meditation or a hypnosis session, the desire is the same. They are looking for a change.

It doesn’t matter if the change is clinical or just pure amusement. To your subconscious, it’s all in the same soup.   

 But what about the hypnotic trance? 

This is supposed to be the big difference between the two. But is it really that different?

Supposedly the main difference is that in the process of hypnosis, people are put into trance-like states. This means your mind is in a semi-conscious state, while you can still hear everything that is going on around you. 

This is not supposed to be the case in Guided meditation but read what I’m about to say closely.  

When you train to become a certified Hypnotherapist and sit down in class on day one. Within the first 90 minutes or so, your instructors will give you the definition of hypnosis. 

And it’s something like this.

Hypnosis is the mental dissociation from current reality to focus on something else.  So if I can get your mind off your current theme and onto another one, that’s hypnosis.

As my instructor would like to say. “Now imagine a big juicy steak.” 

And while you’re doing that, stop and think of every single commercial you’ve seen in your life and tell me that is not hypnosis. Are you getting the picture?

Now look, let’s look again at Guided meditation, and you can see it for yourself it is hypnosis. It’s amateur hypnosis, to be sure, but a trance is a trance is a trance.

They also share in the use of positive suggestions

In your meditative practice, you might call them affirmations. In hypnosis, you call them post-hypnotic suggestions but their goal and usage are the same.

And that is to implant new ideas on the subconscious level.

And in both cases, it doesn’t matter even if you have no conscious awareness of the messages you are receiving or giving. 

Whether you’re passively listening to a hypnotherapist give you suggestions while in a trance or actively participating and visualizing in a guided meditation, your attention is elsewhere. 

Meanwhile, the change you want to happen is getting the go-ahead orders down to the subconscious mind.  Again this is all hypnosis.

You can call it guided meditation if you like, but the fact is that they are both hypnosis.

So if they’re the same, which one should you do?

This is where we draw a much-needed distinction. We have clinical hypnosis in one bucket, and in the other, we have mental wellness. 

Clinical Hypnosis  
Mental Wellness
Medical hypnosis-pain management  -behavioral medicine-weight loss-Smoking-high blood pressure (hypertension)-Self-hypnosis techniques
Mindset Health-stress management-spiritual practices-Therapeutic hypnosis-ancient practices-self-hypnosis techniques 

These are just a few examples to give you an idea of the variance between the two. You could even say that we are talking about two different rooms in the same house.

So now that we are all on the same page here, I would advise that you start out with mental wellness in mind if you are just getting into this field. 

That means not only guided meditations but also learning self-hypnosis. Remember, they are one and the same, so why not learn how to activate those states of consciousness on your own? 

And when you are the one investigating your own consciousness, you’ll find that it can be your best guide. 

As for going into the clinical side, you can always check out the school I graduated from. 

They have in-person and online classes, and no, I don’t get a dime if you attend. I just know their work, and I trust Cheryl enough to recommend the school.

A thought on professional advice

We want to stay as neutral as possible because people have a lot invested in both methods. Livelihoods and spiritual beliefs are nothing to play with. 

People have come up missing for far less. So we tread respectfully but firmly.

These methods are the same. We didn’t say the level of expertise is the same because they are not, and that door swings both ways. 

We’re saying there could be some bias due to the closeness professionals and Gurus have to the discipline they come to live and breathe for decades of their lives. It’s a reasonable position to take, and I am sticking with it.

But my narrative is different from many in this field. 

Some of that is due to having to make do with all the free material I could find early on. I was too poor at the time to fly off to seminars and all that fun stuff. 

So I pieced together what I could, and bit by bit until it started to make sense to me that it’s all the same thing. And I’m not just talking about meditation and hypnotic techniques. 

I mean, we are all connecting to the subconscious and, to more or less extent, the unconscious mind to change both ourselves and the living hologram we find ourselves in. 

I don’t want to shortchange you or myself.

We need every tool available to progress with our lives on every level. And we also need to better understand the tools we are using so we can reach even further. 

I think you should all do whatever works for you. As long as you are learning along the way, you can’t go wrong. Use the experts but don’t let them put you in a box.  

Key Takeaways 

Meditation and hypnosis are the same things. They are simply different names for the same process. 

The difference comes down to training and experience. If someone has been doing it longer than you, they will probably be able to help you faster. But remember that everyone starts somewhere.

Also, there are plenty of resources out there to teach you everything you need to know. It’s really up to you where you decide to go next.


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