I tried hypnotism to overcome a fear of flying. In total I think I went for five sessions and parted with a decent amount of cash too. Although I felt relaxed in my session, I did not feel hypnotised. Frankly sit me in any leather reclining chair and get me to close my eyes and breathe deeply and I will feel relaxed. Some days I'd happily fall asleep. However, I did not feel hypnotised and these sessions did nothing to change or overcome my fears. I feel I went in with an open mind and infact was hopeful to have my fears conquered, but nothing of the sort occured. Maybe it was the hypnotist I saw. I've read around the subject, and believe that hypnotism is possible. Indeed, my one friend, an habitual chain smoker, went for one 60 minute session with a hypnotist and has never touched a cigarette from that moment on. It has now been over 5 years. My thoughts are that it can work, but it didn't for me.
Milton Erickson did take hypnosis off the stage, and turned it into an accepted form of medicine - natural medicine. Hypnosis works only if the client wants the desired change in the first place. You cannot take charge of anyone's mind. The client is still in charge, and in control of their mind. I was a professional hypnotherapist for five years before law (and then freelance writing and editing) came calling.
I believe that hypnotism can work on certain people, but that you actually have to have an open mind, and believe it is possible. People have to be willing to let their minds be manipulated otherwise it won't work.