Whether you call it imagery, guided visualization, or even mindful meditation... it's all hypnosis.

The state of hypnosis is a completely natural state of mind that we freely float in and out of when we are in a rather relaxed and somewhat focused state of mind.  The most typical times for us to be in this state are immediately before falling asleep, and just after waking up.  That soft transition between sleep and wakefulness is a naturally occurring hypnotic state. 

We also experience a naturally occurring hypnotic state in times of focused attention, like when we're drawn into a movie or television show and lose that immediate perception of our viewing environment in favor of the story's environment.

During this state of mind we're often peaceful and calm.  We're well aware of our surroundings should something call our attention, and yet, our conscious attention is somewhat narrowed and focused elsewhere.

At a basic level, it breaks down into 3 components: 
    • We are conscious,
    • We are able to think quite clearly (if we want to),
    • And we can resist or respond to anything in the environment (if we choose to).