However, the reality is that hypnosis has been used as a method of therapy for those with addictions, phobias and other issues for centuries.
There are now millions of people who have used hypnosis to successfully overcome their problems.
Addiction to smoking is one of the most common issues dealt with by hypnotherapists.
Habit is a powerful thing; people often unintentionally condition themselves to crave a cigarette at certain times of the day.
For many, the ritual of smoking a cigarette when they wake up, after they've eaten or when they are having a drink, is almost as strong as their bodily addiction to nicotine.
Although smoking is considered to be both a physical and a psychological addiction, many professionals are of the opinion that if smokers were to truly believe that they were not addicted, this belief would 'override' their physical cravings.
It is by using this assumption that hypnotherapists have been able to help thousands of people to stop smoking with hypnosis.
Although stage performers might have you believe otherwise, there isn't anything mystical about hypnosis.
Essentially, it involves putting the patient into a state of very deep relaxation, during which they are extremely open to suggestion.
When fully awake, most people will 'filter' out content which is not in keeping with their deeply-embedded subconscious beliefs.
For instance, smokers are often convinced that it is 'impossible' for them to quit, as their addiction is too strong.
When in a state of hypnosis, this 'filter' temporarily disappears, and the person's beliefs regarding smoking can be altered.
A person is usually hypnotized using a combination of visualisation and breathing techniques.
If the person wishes to quit smoking with hypnosis, the therapist will then suggest to them, whilst they are in this state of calm, that they are not addicted.
They might also plant other positive suggestions, such as how much better the patient's health will be when they quit, or how much money they will save.
This type of therapy has numerous benefits for the patient, not least of which will be their quitting smoking.
Many people tend to reach for their cigarettes when they are feeling anxious, and so by either regularly visiting a hypnotherapist, or by listening to hypnosis CDs, they have an alternative to cigarettes when they need to unwind.
Hypnosis provides a much deeper state of relaxation than a cigarette ever could.
Although countless people have had success in stopping smoking with hypnosis, it is important to remember that it may not happen instantly, after just one session.
It is said that about 25% of the population are very easily hypnotised, whilst the rest must be undergo treatment several times, for the new suggestions which have been 'planted' in the subconscious to become effective.
For those who are interested in stopping smoking with hypnosis, it is generally advised to have regular sessions in conjunction with other treatments, such as nicotine patches or chewing gum, as this will increase the likelihood that they will overcome their addiction.