In this guide to learning hypnosis, you'll discover exactly who can learn hypnosis, and what types of hypnosis you can learn.

You'll get a brief introduction to some hypnosis terminology, to help you understand what you are looking at when exploring your options.

We'll give you information and advice on how to choose the best type of hypnosis education, including what should be included in your hypnosis course.  

Learn Hypnosis Guide Map

And finally, expect your questions answered about where you can learn hypnosis and what type of hypnosis training would be best for you. 

Feel free to jump around the guide by clicking on the links below.  Or read how to learn hypnosis from top to bottom, and get a comprehensive understanding of the whole process.

What Is Hypnosis?

Any time you're concentrating, or your mind drifts away, or you don't hear someone because you're ultra-focused on your computer -- that's it. When you get absorbed by a good book, video game, or movie, that's hypnosis.

If you missed the video on the H101 Hypnosis Hub, you may wish to watch that video now.

But it's not stage hypnosis, hypnotherapy, or self-hypnosis, it's simply a mental state.  Specifically a hypnagogic or hypnopompic state - those states leading into or out of sleep, where awareness feels almost multidimensional.  When you can still remember that dream as you're waking up.  Or, if you're like me, as you're falling asleep you may do some of your best work... but can't remember what the heck you thought of once you're awake the next morning.

Hypnosis helps us tune into our mental abilities more  easily, and use those abilities more effectively. In fact, another way of thinking about it is an intensely focused state.

When we hypnotize someone purposefully, and add suggestion to the mix, we're using that state to encourage an action. That's the kind of hypnosis we're talking about here.

It's the mental state of hyper-focus coupled with suggestion.

When you study hypnosis, you will learn about Suggestions And Suggestibility

When you learn hypnosis, you will learn that suggestion is one of the cornerstones of hypnotherapy, stage hypnosis, and self-hypnosis.

Suggestions are just what they sound like.  The hypnotist (hypnotherapist or stage hypnotist or even an individual practicing self hypnosis) presents an idea to be carried out, i.e. a suggestion.

Suggestibility is how likely a person is to follow an idea suggested to them. Some people define hypnosis in terms of suggestibility.

"Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness or awareness usually but not always involving relaxation, within which individuals experience heightened suggestibility. This state of consciousness is different from both the various stages of sleep and the normal waking state."

Suggestibility - an overview | ScienceDirect at

Suggestibility can vary situationally.

As an example, if you have been playing basketball for a long time, and someone new to the game tried to tell you how to play, how would that make you feel?

You may not respect their knowledge of basketball, and therefore might be unlikely to follow their suggestion.  In this instance, YOUR suggestibility may be low. 

Learn hypnosis suggestibility

However, suppose a professional basketball player, someone you really admire, gave you the same suggestion?  You would be much more likely to listen, focus on what they say, and follow their suggestions, would you not? 

What if you paid $10,000 to go to a special training camp where your favorite basketball player of all time gave you the same suggestions?

As you learn hypnosis, you may discover other factors that can increase suggestibility as well.  For instance a person's emotional state, focusing in on a single idea, and trust... not to mention the hypnosis itself.

So, when you add suggestion to a mental state of focus and attention, you get hypnosis.

Studying hypnosis is studying the process of:

guiding someone into trance, heightening suggestibility, and delivering suggestions.

What are the main hypnosis categories?

The three main types of hypnosis are:

  1. 1
    Stage Hypnosis
  2. 2
    Hypnotherapy, or Therapeutic Hypnosis
  3. 3

For hypnotherapy or self-hypnosis, hypnotic suggestions should be aimed toward the subject's well-being.  In stage hypnosis, suggestions will be mainly for entertainment purposes.

Training for each of these forms of hypnosis is different.

Stage Hypnosis

Someone who loves to entertain may want to learn hypnosis for the stage.  This type of hypnosis, even though it may share some terminology and use suggestions, inductions, etc, is focused entirely on entertainment.  

Stage hypnosis techniques involve:

  • Choosing audience members to participate in the stage show
  • Finding the best hypnotic subjects
  • Developing entertaining skits
  • Using compelling stagecraft

While hypnosis is an important part of a stage show, it's not the part that typically makes or breaks a show.  Therefore, its use has a wildly different focus and goal. 

You must master stagecraft, live performance skills, and marketing to build a successful business on the stage.

Hypnotherapy, Or Therapeutic Hypnosis

Hypnotherapy training courses focus on teaching hypnosis with a focus on helping a hypnotic subject achieve a therapeutic outcome from a hypnosis session.  Many of these outcomes fall into one or more of a just a few areas of focus, such as:

  • Breaking bad habits (i.e. quitting smoking)
  • Developing good habits (i.e. eating a more nutritional diet)
  • Overcoming fears
  • Reducing stress
  • Overcoming old painful memories
  • Achieving a sense of well-being

Although there are undoubtedly many more things we could add to the list.  The point is that when learning hypnotherapy, you will focus on learning hypnosis to help people.

Some of the things that might be included in a basic course to learn hypnotherapy would be a number of hypnotic inductions, as well as direct hypnotic suggestions. 

More advanced courses might include any number of additional techniques including regression techniques, metaphor, parts therapy, how to operate a successful practice, and more.

Regulations vary from place-to-place, so it's best to take a course recognized by at least one of the main industry trade groups, or professional organizations, so you can get certified by your favorite industry organization.


Self-hypnosis is simply the process of getting yourself into a suggestible state (often through relaxing your muscles and focusing on peaceful images)), and delivering suggestions to your subconscious mind, often via a pre-recorded MP3 with suggestions on it.

We all experience trance many times each day, so it's not difficult to hypnotize yourself and add it to your daily routine.

Those are the main types of hypnotic areas in which you can expand your skills. The rest of this article will focus on training to hypnotize others.

Who Can Hypnotize?

Who can learn hypnosis?

It's not difficult to hypnotize someone.


When most people think about learning how to hypnotize, they think it must involve some special mind power, or  a secret process.

The truth is, though, that hypnosis is a common, natural mental state we each go through many times each day.

Learning to lead someone to a state of consciousness that encourages deep calm, focus, and concentration, is a matter of studying a few techniques and practicing them until you feel confidence with them.  That's it.

You can expect to become reasonably skilled in hypnosis from any competent instructor in a few hours. Most induction techniques (the process of hypnotizing someone) are relatively easy to learn.

Study, practice, and repeat a few times, and you'll have the technique down.

You can even induce trance by reading from a script, but it's not a recommended tactic for professionals.  Professional hypnotists need flexibility and a deeper knowledge of their craft to be effective.

That's the good news. However, the induction is just the starting point of a therapeutic session. You've also got to understand how to formulate suggestions (unless you're just going to read from a script).  You'll also need to learn how to use those techniques for various issues such as smoking cessation, weight loss, or overcoming fears and anxiety.

As far as prerequisites go, there usually aren't any. Regulations are almost non-existent in most areas. So, your main concern in choosing a hypnotherapy school for certification won't be meeting regulatory requirements, but rather the quality of the education.

To summarize: the skills required to be a competent hypnotist can be mastered by almost anyone, but it takes some time and dedication.

What Kind Of Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy Course Is Best?

Live training has one big advantage. You get feedback from a professional, on the spot. However, even with a class of 10 people, direct feedback on your skill level may be limited.

You can learn hypnosis via online courses, as well. You may be able to get feedback there, through submitting videos and audio.

Not everyone can adhere to a class schedule, or take weeks away from work to attend in-person. Online programs can be reviewed over-and-over, and you can learn at your own pace.

Most serious students take a few different courses. Books are great additions to live and online courses, but not recommended as a sole source of training.

How to Choose A Hypnosis School Or Course

It's important to match with a school, or instructor who offers a course that meets your needs. Some schools offer a free sample, or an introductory course. Hours of coursework are not as important as learning the fundamentals solidly, and getting the practice hours in.

Many successful hypnotherapists have learned hypnosis through live training, and many others have gone through online hypnosis courses and become quite successful. The best hypnotists, whether stage or therapeutic, continue to learn and improve their skills and knowledge for as long as they are in the profession.

If you are reading this because you want to learn hypnosis, the best thing you can do for yourself is figure out what works for you, and make sure to consider the following:

  • Choose a course that is approved by a legitimate credentialing body.
  • Choose a course that is in line with your philosophy.  Read about the instructor(s).  Do they have an approach you like?
  • Choose education that requires that you complete an exam or measures your competence in some way at the end of the training.
  • Read the course outline, and ask yourself the following questions:
  • Does it have a section on how to gather information before you hypnotize someone? Does it feel right? Avoid programs that center around reading scripts.
  • Choose a course that fits with your financial situation and schedule.
  • Does it have a section on how to gather information before you hypnotize someone?
  • Does it teach hypnosis fundamentals?
  • Does it rely too heavily on scripts?  Using scripts as an example is one thing, but avoid programs that center around reading scripts.
  • Does it fit your financial situation and schedule?

Don't be afraid to ask your potential instructor any questions you might have! How they respond tells you a lot about how their teaching style will work with your learning style.

Elements That Should Be Included in Your Hypnosis Education

Hypnotherapy generally include 6 main phases:

  1. 1
    Information gathering
  2. 2
    Pre-Induction Talk
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
    Therapeutic Suggestions
  6. 6
    Emerging (Bringing them out of their trance) 

Information Gathering

The information gathering stage is what really separates expert hypnotists from amateurs. It's where you gather the information from the subject, so you can tailor your suggestions specifically for them. When looking at a course, ask how they teach you to formulate suggestions.

Pre-Induction Talk

Many people have fears and misconceptions about hypnotism, so it's good to alleviate their fears before you start. The best hypnotherapy schools will include what's called a pre-induction talk in their coursework, and their demonstrations. The pre-induction talk is really a major factor in how well a session goes. Every course should include a pre-induction talk section. 

The pre-talk should cover, at least these things . . .

  • What being hypnotized feels like
  • You won't get stuck in hypnosis
  • Hypnosis is not the hypnotist controlling the mind of the subject
  • You can reject any suggestion you don't like
  • You won't follow a suggestion that's against your will


If you want to hypnotize people, you'll learn inductions. There are thousands of hypnotic inductions. Most of them involve asking a client to relax, focus on their breathing, close their eyes, and go deeper into their imagination.

It's generally good if an induction includes testing for depth of trance. Ask your potential instructor if the inductions he or she teaches include testing.


Deepening is the process of leading a client deeper into hypnosis, past the initial induction phase. It's simple.

If a program doesn't include deepening, it's a red flag.

Therapeutic Suggestions

This is where the rubber meets the road -- therapeutic suggestions.

Some courses try to skate by with reading from scripts. Steer clear of those courses!

At a minimum, a course should teach you how to use the information you gathered in the early parts of the session, to tailor your suggestions to the client.

Deepening is the process of leading a client deeper into hypnosis, past the initial induction phase. It's simple.

If a program doesn't include deepening, that's a red flag.

Other Hypnotic Techniques

There are a lot of techniques, protocols, and special processes in the field. Some of them are even trademarked, and only taught by certain people. 

Although many of them are quite good, don't be fooled by the hype. Most hypnosis techniques are well-known and are a combination of a few basic approaches. Putting a new name on it does not make it magical.

Direct suggestion is the most basic technique. Beyond that there are techniques involving regression, reframing, ideomotor techniques, conversational hypnosis, and so on.

Look for skill sets that meet your needs as a practitioner, and the kind of practice you want to have.

So if you want to learn hypnosis...

Look for a course that's approved by a major credentialing organization...

with an instructor you can relate to...

that has the basic components of hypnosis covered...

and is not just a course on how to read scripts. 

Make sure it jibes with your preferences, schedule and financial needs.

Do these things, add some dedicated practice, and you will be well on your way to learning hypnosis!