The Autogenic Training programme
Autogenic Training is commonly known as AT. An Autogenic Training programme can be taken as an individual or as a group. An Autogenic Training programme duration will depend on the specific needs of the person or group. A person taking an Autogenic Training programme is known as a trainee. Each Autogenic Training (AT) programme comprises one session of AT per week over a period of about 9-10 weeks.
The AT programme builds each week upon the AT exercise skills acquired in the previous week, with the overall aim being to bring about a shift in autonomic (involuntary) function from a stress-dominated state to a profoundly relaxed state known as the ‘autogenic state’.
Pre-assessment is mandatory
Autogenic Training is an extremely powerful technique which impacts on mind and body and, therefore, is not suitable for everyone. To ensure trainee safety, an initial mandatory pre-assessment meeting is required with the qualified autogenic trainer who will facilitate the programme, prior to acceptance onto any individual or group Autogenic Training programme.
Autogenic Training sessions
An Autogenic Training programme usually comprises 9 sessions as well as 1 follow-up session about 6 weeks after the completion of the 9 week programme. A session for one trainee is 60 minutes; for a group of trainees, a session is 120 minutes.
There is no special equipment or clothing required for an AT session, other than an ordinary, upright dining-type chair for each trainee.
AT has three postures:
(1) rag-doll seated
(2) armchair reclining and
The trainee chooses/alternates a posture for home practise.
Autogenic Training Standard Exercises
Autogenic Training is comprised of learning six simple Standard Exercises.
One new Standard Exercise is learned per week. Each Standard Exercise builds on the Standard Exercise of the previous week. The initial two Standard Exercises focus on the arms and legs and associated experiences of warmth and heaviness. The subsequent four Standard Exercises focus on the organs of the autonomic nervous system: heart rate, breathing, digestion, and central nervous system function.
When the body and mind are working together in a totally relaxed state, the brain is more amenable to suggestion and each trainee can avail of this personal ‘autogenic’ state to personally implement personal formulae. For example, simple instructions related to smoking cessation, or confidence enhancement which lead to beneficial lifestyle changes.
While the trainee is learning Autogenic Training, the ongoing autogenic process has an emotional component which allows repressed feelings to emerge. Feelings may be distinct or any combination of anger, increased anxiety, sadness and guilt. Wolfgang Luthe, co-practitioner of Autogenic Training with Johannes Schultz, developed a set of Intentional Offloading Exercises which, since 1982, have been included as part of the Autogenic Training programme. The trainee is taught how to practice the Intentional Offloading Exercises safely, without harm to self or others.
The combination of practice of AT Standard Exercises, together with Intentional Offloading Exercises, maximises the calming, self-regulatory, therapeutic effects of Autogenic Training.
Between each weekly session, an AT trainee practises the AT exercises for 5-10 minutes, 3 times daily and keeps a practice diary or log to record their comments regarding their personal perceived benefits of AT.
(Currently taking study leave)