Hypnosis may be a term, which is used for both however they are completely different. Unfortunately the perception of one dominates the other and therefore makes hypnotherapy underused as a technique, which is a great loss.
Stage hypnosis is based on suggestibility; stage hypnotists will ask for volunteers onto the stage and will weed out anyone who is not suggestible. A suggestible subject will be one that if you asked them to look at the pink elephant next to them will see and act around that suggestion.
5% of any population is very suggestible 5% not, and most are in between. The stage hypnotists will then start the show and create the illusion of control over his subjects. Using lights, music and hypnotic stare and so forth.
The impression given is that having hypnotic powers and that it is an external process.
The audience are entertained and get their moneys worth, but go away from such shows with severe reservations of hypnosis being been a beneficial process for improvement. They fear being “under” a hypnotist and loosing control.
Clinical hypnotherapy is completely different as a technique.
Hypnotherapy is a process of physical and mental relaxation allied to positive go forward suggestions, to help a fee-paying client. The whole process is based on trust and trance state is contract of trust.
This is important to in order to relax the critical faculty and achieve results.
The critical faculty is the left side of the brain or conscious mind, which is fully formed at around 11/12 years of age depending on the individual. Up to that time the subconscious mind is wide open.
The term hypnotherapy is almost is a misnomer as the world hypnosis is derived from the Greek term sleep however the process is not about sleep but about relaxation. A more accurate description of the work is right brain coaching.
Hypnotherapy can be used for a wide range of issues and I have in the past helped clients with smoking, weight loss, anxiety, stress related issues, most phobias, sexual issues, sports enhancement and business confidence.
The list is really endless.
True hypnosis is an internal state as you guide the client into trance state. Self-hypnosis is a more accurate description. For the professional it is about technique and not mystique.