[The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014) reveals that smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans every year. More than 41,000 of these deaths are from exposure to second hand smoke. More than $289 billion a year is spent on smoking relate illness, including $133 billion in direct medical care and $156 billion in lost productivity.]

I asked the person on the other end of the phone why he wanted to quit smoking. He revealed that he didn’t really want to give it up. His wife thought he should. But he really loved to smoke. I kindly told him to call me back once he wanted to quit. I explained that there is a difference between having a preference to quit and making a decision to quit because you want to. He understood and thanked me.

A few months later, he called me again. He assured me that he was ready to quit. We had three sessions. He successfully quit smoking. He’s still enjoying his life as a non–smoker five years since that initial call.

It’s no great surprise that reputable Hypnotherapists help people quit smoking. Smoking is one of the most common maladies for which people get hypnotized. However, it can be quite a shock for some people when I decline to have a session with them if I don’t feel they are ready. This is done with the intention of saving them time and money. It’s the ethical thing to do.

Some people think that Hypnotherapy is like a magic pill that can “fix” anything, regardless of the person. While I have certainly witnessed miraculous changes and transformations over the years, to state that Hypnotherapy can “guarantee” anything is simply not true. No one can guarantee that they will be able to change another person, regardless of the circumstances. And, if a Hypnotist does guarantee results, run the other way. This is the Hypnotherapy version of a snake-oil salesman.

A good hypnotherapy session requires a hypnotist adept at listening and instilling positive post-hypnotic suggestions. A great hypnotherapy session involves mindful and analytical listening from the hypnotist. This includes an open mindedness to what is being presented moment-by-moment by the client. This way, the hypnotherapist can instill more powerful suggestions, most appropriate to them.

An ideal hypnotherapy session is similar to Salsa dancing. A person fluidly leads their partner through a variety of moves that synchronizes with the beat and rhythm of the music. Hypnotherapists need to know the “music” of their client so that both parties are dancing to the same song. If a hypnotist prematurely dictates how a session should unfold, they could be dancing to a different tune. The other person will either comply begrudgingly, feeling unacknowledged, or simply never come back.

The effectiveness of your session relies on your Hypnotherapist’s skills and your decision to stop. Various reports suggest that the success rate of Hypnosis for smoking cessation is around 70%. According to the American Cancer Society, only 4% -7% of people can quit smoking without any help.

However, what is more important than these statistics is your readiness to stop. All else is smoke and mirrors.

This post was originally published on New Stress Relief’s website.