Guided imagery is hypnosis, often an unavowed, disguised hypnosis done by therapists who are concerned that their clients might be afraid of hypnosis. Sometimes the therapists are afraid of hypnosis themselves, and let themselves believe that guided imagery is different. It isn’t.
Guided imagery is a powerful technique when used powerfully, but is a wimpy technique when used wimpily. You’ll mostly find its more powerful uses among hypnotherapists, who are using it as one valuable hypnotic technique among many.
The thing I like best about hypnosis is that it keeps going where other therapies stop short. Relaxation is not the goal. An altered state is not the goal. A pleasant experience is not the goal. These are building blocks that lead up to the goal — the goal that you, the client, select.
Let’s face it: hypnosis is a very Western modality. It builds a to-do list into a meditative process. I like that.