Autogenic training is a tool for relaxation and self healing developed by Dr. Charles M. Shultz in the early 20th Century. The training scheme aims to teach methods with which the individual can control the ‘fight or flight’ response that releases adrenaline ion the body and can lead to nervousness, tension, stress, and eventually emotional and psychological disorders.
Through the ‘rest, relaxation and recreation scheme’ which fosters a feeling of ‘passive concentration’ in the individual, a sense of alert yet relaxed calm is achieved, similar in nature to the state said to be achieved in spiritual forms of meditation.
Autogenic Therapy is said to be an effective means of calming the mind, lessening severity and instances of panic and nervousness, increase confidence, lessen the impact or reduce completely the levels of depression and other psychological disorders, improving physical health and improving mental focus.
As a relatively easy means of meditation and relaxation Autogenic Therapy has caught on in the Western world and is often practiced by business people to reduce stress. Its lack of direct esoteric spiritual focus has led in part to the ease with which it is accepted by both spiritual believers, and non-believers.
Autogenic Training or ‘AT’ needs no special equipment or clothing, and can be started at home, or anywhere else that a comfortable place to sit can be found. Sitting and focusing, the individual practicing AT visualises different areas of their body and repeats positive affirmations related to the good health of these areas and organs.
During these practices the individual may enter a realm of ‘passive concentration’ similar to that experienced in meditation. The AT trainer at this point will help the individual to assess mental impressions and repressed feelings that surface during meditation.
Later in the individual is encouraged to practice AT methods anywhere in everyday settings such as the workplace, on public transport, and so on. It is this that makes AT so suitable for everyday experience.
At the end of initial training the individual is helped to develop a course of AT that they can practice alone in everyday life. Following this some people may choose to proceed to an advanced level of AT.
Advanced Autogenic Training
Autogenic Meditation and Autogenic Neutralisation can be used to address psychological problems that arise early in AT. These methods employ a wide range of psychoanalytic tools to address underlying problems in the psyche of the individual.
The meditative element encourages the individual to meditate around colours, objects, and then the notions such as love. Finally the individual is encouraged to ask who it is they are and what they wish to do in life.
In Autogenic Neutralisation the individual is encouraged to let their natural process of mental healing guide them through traumatic experiences, with the help of their analyst. In doing this an unfinished business may be addressed.
The AT method uses a variety of practices that can be seen reflected in meditation methods developed over the centuries. Essentially AT aims to take these methods and to employ them with the guide of a trainer to empower the individual and give them valuable methods that work as an everyday means to control stress and to approach some of the sensations that arise during meditation and relaxation.