NLP Vs. Hypnosis!

Occasionally I drop in on a particular Facebook discussion group for hypnotists and see what kind of debates are raging (and there are always debates raging!)

One theme that seems to come up a lot is…

What’s best: Hypnosis or NLP?

Here’s a view on this that I already shared on FB, but I thought would be good to share here too and perhaps expand it a little:

“What I’m about to say seems so clear and  obvious to me, but apparently it is not to many others – part of the beauty of us all understanding things in our own unique way!

NLP and Hypnosis are just names that tell us nothing about what is really going on. Just different ways to cut the same pie. IMO of course.

Each one breaks down into sets of skills, many of which overlap.

Formal ‘hypnosis’ has the advantage of an overt ritual. Informal ‘hypnosis’/NLP/influence/communication juju/whatever has the advantage of flexibility of application – I have used this in many places and situations in which formal ‘trance’ (whatever that might be) rituals would be totally inappropriate and unwelcome.

There are pro’s and cons to all approaches, what fits best in the specific context and given the desired outcome is what is best.

This reminds me of the old debates on martial arts forums about which art is ‘best’. And who does best in ‘the cage’? The MMA (Mixed Martial Art) guys… the ones who mix it up and find the blend that works best for them in the context they need it.

I’ve heard the same debate in other areas too – “what’s best – Chiropractic or Osteopathy?” The truth is it depends upon the skills of the practitioner rather than the label they use to describe what they do.

In every field, it is those who try to keep their art ‘pure’ and rigidly define what it is and isn’t who end up losing the edge. Those who see what they do – see their skillset – as a ‘living’ thing to be explored and evolved always end up with the greatest range of flexibility and application. Like I say, seems obvious…”

I hope you will all forgive the slightly cocky tone to that 🙂 but there is a point there that needs to be made. If you want fantastic skills, lose the boundaries around what you do and mix it up. Learn and apply whatever helps and whatever gives you the edge. Hypnosis/NLP/Mind-Skills/Influence/Coaching-Skills/Cognitive Linguistics/Hoodoo/JuJu/… whatever you call it and whatever works!

This is the future… make it yours!

All the very best


P.S. And if you would like to contribute or comment, please do so below!

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About The Author

James Tripp

Hypnotist and Transformative Facilitator. Creator of Hypnosis Without Trance.


  • Brian Halliday

    October 14, 2011

    Whats best hypnosis or nlp? As Harry Hill would say “FIGHT!”.

  • Rebekah

    October 14, 2011

    I wholeheartedly agree; they’re aspects of the same skill set. I was unfortunately first exposed to NLP via forum posts by cocky NLP fanboys who flaunted their technique as “so superior to hypnosis” and “the only way”. I found myself sitting on my hands rather than replying, “You’re *doing* hypnosis; just a slightly different ‘style’!” They were not good representatives to warm me up to the idea of NLP.

    Flexibility is absolutely vital in therapy treatments, hypnotic or not. Rigid adherence to set “rules” restricts effectiveness, because clients do not all fit into the same “box”.

  • Andy Brady

    October 17, 2011

    I believe to be effective in this work you have to be flexible and constantly check in with where your client is. If James Tripp taught me anything (and he has taught me lots!) it’s making use of feedback from the client throughout the process. So NLP vs. Hypnosis? For me they are similar, both tools, but it’s a bit like hammer or saw? The answer depends on what you are aiming to achieve as to which tool you select.

  • Jill Harrington

    October 18, 2011

    Hooray-someone who stands up for Integration/Pluarism/Eclectism or whatever the current buzz word is for “mixing theories”
    Obviously there has to be a well informed grounding or knowledge of various theories before you can blend them- it can’t just be a cherry pick or mish-mash of anything goes!
    As a Counsellor I work with different theories, like a tradesman uses different tools for different jobs. Sometimes I use a Phillips screwdriver and sometimes a Lump hammer! (Actually I use Counselling/Hypno/Auricular Acupuncture)
    Pure theorists would be up in arms, But like you I believe that flexibility is the way forward for Clients and Therapists.

  • Elder-Geek

    October 19, 2011

    We need look no further than Milton Erickson. He rarely used the classical clinical induction . I say rarely as opposed to never. He was focused on the outcome and chose to use the best tool for the job. Be it indirect suggestion or a standard induction.

    “If the only tool you have is a hammer, then all of your problems look like nails”. The more tools we have in our toolbox, the more situations we can approach and successfully find solutions for.


    January 7, 2012

    I really wonder James, are you planning to release any NLP/Covert-Conversational hypnosis program in the near future? The way your speech flows and the way you use specific words in your hypnotic loops makes me really inspired. I hope you decide to release such a product. I am sure it will be a worldwide top seller. Thank you

    • James Tripp

      January 7, 2012

      Thanks Aristotelis

      That is exactly what I am working on at the moment!

      All the vey best


  • Robert

    January 11, 2012

    Very well said! (written)
    As “every behavior is useful in some context (and not useful in others)” and labels like NLP Hypnosis or whatever are major generalizations the whole conflict seems nonsensical until at least specified what and how specifically in what context etc.
    The way i understood it this is one of the first and important presuppositions in NLP.
    I saw some time ago a simmilar argument which therapy is better etc and by questioning them closely both where arguing for the SAME procces!

    Kepping that in mind it is even funnier finding NLP-trained people arguing which NLP is the “right” “true” “only” etc

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