Common steps and sub-activities

Autogenic training

Autogenic training is fundamentally a relaxation technique developed by the German psychiatrist and neurologist Dr. Johannes Heinrich Schultz and first published in 1932 and part of the general Autogenic therapy system

It combines relaxation with various forms of learning suppression.

The technique involves the daily practice of sessions that last around 15 minutes, usually in the morning, at lunch time, and in the evening. During each session, the practitioner repeats a set of phrases that are intended to induce a state of complete relaxation.

Each session can be practiced in a position chosen amongst a set of recommended postures, for example, lying down or sitting.  One of the rather novel and interesting postures, is the ‘sitting like a rag doll’ – slumped in other words and limp with head lolled forward.

You have no need to be with anyone or receive tuition on this as the techniques are very simple and there are good books on the subject, however, the techniques have been commercialised and Autogenic training is then usually taught in groups of 6-8 patients, or on a one-to-one basis. 

One supplier, for example uses eight 90-minute weekly sessions.

A commercial company should, before instruction, take your medical history and your physical and psychological suitability should be evaluated.

One of the advantages of this approach is that it is possible to obtain voice recordings and free MP3 audio files from McMaster University with directions on practicing autogenic training. Use of an audio recording enables you to fully relax and concentrate on the approach.

The more wide ranging spiritual effects of this approach are not so well established or well documented

This does not mean they don’t occur. 

One of the problems in this area is that any person who obtains a spiritual experience that includes visions or euphoria, is classified by psychotherapists or psychiatrists using this technique as ‘psychotic’.  This of course is wholly unhelpful and merely serves to make the person feel worse, as the effects are anything but psychotic and should be welcomed.  The following abstract should serve to demonstrate that spiritual experiences are not uncommon, and could be treated differently………………

Analogies between psychotic experiences and those lived during respiratory autogenic training relaxation - [Article in Italian] - Llanes AS.

Comparative study of a dissociative experience of the bodily scheme lived in a group relaxing session (R.A.T.) comparable to certain somatic pains found in a schizophrenic situation.

Such psychopathological experiences, usually considered by doctors as in themselves averse and without meaning, can be transferred from the emotive level to the rational level using the "Ontoanalytic" method and in this way be a valid contribution to the psychological formation of the doctors and a more human and satisfying doctor-patient relationship could ensue, as Balint indicated.

From this point of view, this to me is also a good reason not to use these techniques in a group setting or with psychoanalysts or similar present.  If the objective is to simply obtain a spiritual experience then the psychiatrists could well hinder the process.

Psychosomatic reactions to the experience of near death. A state of affective dissociation - [Article in German] - Stumpfe KD.

The feelings of persons who had encountered life-threatening danger were analysed and compared with the feelings of persons, who are in hypnosis or trained in autogenic training. The symptoms are widely alike. The result of the comparison is, that there exists a state of affective dissociation, which can be caused by conscious or unconscious actions.
PMID: 4036374

Like many techniques which have been developed into advanced, sophisticated processes of intervention capable of commercial exploitation, Autogenic training,  - as Luthe and Schultz wrote in their ‘master tome’ can take well over a year to learn to teach and may take months to learn.

Observations

For iPad/iPhone users: tap letter twice to get list of items.