Is NLP Hypnosis?


I have met NLP practitioners who are scared of hypnosis and give it a very wide birth, even though both of NLP's founders use hypnosis constantly. I have also met NLP practitioners who do not believe they use hypnosis, but if I watch them for five minutes, it becomes clear that they obviously use NLP and Hypnosis together. So is NLP hypnosis?

It's the same with NLP training. Some trainers teach hypnosis covertly, and some don't. For many people learning NLP Hypnosis is a big part of the training.

In fact, I believe that all NLP practitioners use NLP and hypnosis whether they realize it or not.

The reason they don't realize is the same as the reason that some people believe they can never be hypnotized - they simply have an unrealistic view of what hypnosis actually is.

Hypnosis simply refers to an "out of the ordinary" state of mind.

Generally hypnotic states involve some kind of inward attention, and most hypnotists will want their subjects to be in the most susceptible state possible.

That state could be eyes shut and tranced out, or it could be an incredibly focused eyes open state.

People usually imagine hypnosis as simply being someone relaxed in a chair with their eyes shut, and most people who are absolutely sure they cannot be hypnotized believe it is a state where the hypnotist absolutely controls the subject.

Is that an interesting paradox?

The more controlling someone believes hypnosis is, the more likely they are to believe they will not succumb to the hypnotist.

This is complete rubbish, hypnosis is a much more familiar and subtle state.

We've all drifted off waiting for a train or standing in a queue.

We have these mini hypnotic breaks throughout the day, so technically we are all "in hypnosis" every day, though some of us spend more time there than others!.

So is NLP hypnosis?

A practitioner may use a lot of hypnotic techniques to enhance their work, either covertly or overtly.

Any form of communication causes the 'listener' to send their attention inwards momentarily to decipher the message, which really means that all communication is hypnosis.

Considering that communication is hypnosis then, as all NLP techniques between two people involve communication, so is NLP.

Note: Anyone familiar with E-Prime is probably having kittens by now. Obviously when asking the rather simplistic question 'Is NLP Hypnosis?' NLP isn't Hypnosis in the same way that cheese isn't cheddar.


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Previous comments

A Question

So am I right in thinking that an NLP practitioner who says that I don't need to worry because they don't use hypnosis, doesn't really know what they are talking about?

M.Wilson, New York

Posted May 8, 2010 at 12:37


Personally I find that there are a number of ways I judge NLP practitioners and, without meaning to be negative, there are a lot of bad NLP practitioners out there. A practitioner should be aware that large amounts of NLP overlap with hypnosis techniques even if this isn't actually said. I would assume that a practitioner who said they didn't use hypnosis basically used NLP techniques such as the phobia cure simply by rote.

Probaby best to avoid, unless of course they are ONLY saying this to put you at ease.

Chris Harrison, UK

Posted May 14, 2010 at 20:44

Elevated Therapy International

Thank you for your article Chris. It is true to say Hypnosis and NLP both influence our unconscious mind. However, I believe in some instances, hypnosis and NLP are opposite sides of the same coin and when they are combined they become arguably the most powerful tool there is.

Dr. Michael G Millett

Posted March 18, 2012 at 15:18