To the person who commented about their mindful relief from a very sore throat which was interfering with sleep, Well Done! It sure doesn’t matter whether we call it meditation or hypnosis — the important thing is Relief! The mindful style of solo altered consciousness focuses on non-judgmental awareness- just noticing X, noting without judgment whatever else the mind goes to, and returning to the original focus. The hypnotic use of altered consciousness can involve that &/or exploring &/or changing the mental imagery in detail.
When guided by an outside facilitator, our response potential to the suggested images appears to be quite similar in both approaches. Done solo these paths inside offer very different possibilities based on the different philosophical, stylistic and belief preferences of the individual. Like breathing techniques for labor and birthing, many to most people need more than only abdominal breathing with a trusted coach to manage their pain and suffering. Hypnotic imagery offers the additional option of dissociation/disconnection of mind from unpleasant/unnecessary pain or suffering.
I see no benefit to experiencing the full potential of severe pain and/or suffering. My personal belief: we can be fully human enough without going to extremes of awareness, which actually prevent fully present and conscious experience of the rest of our experience and potential. Should I have severe pain, I’ll be happy to feel just enough of it to experience fully-enough that aspect of being human, and to give myself permission not to suffer unnecessarily. At the same time, if you have to suffer, it seems only wise to get whatever you can from it. Dr Bob