Autogenic training, known as autogenic therapy as well, uses the body's natural relaxation response to counteract unwanted mental and physical symptoms. By employing breathing techniques, specific verbal stimuli, and mindful meditation, autogenic training can help to reduce stress and accomplish relaxation of the body and mind. Autogenic training was developed by Johannes Schultz(1920s) in Germany. Schultz was a psychologist who studied under neurologist Oscar Vogt for several years, and was influenced by many of his ideas. Their research on sleep and hypnosis, resulted in hypothesis that people experienced sensations of heaviness, warmth, and other signs of deep relaxation, the basis of Autogenic therapy.
What to expect?
Autogenic literally means “self-generating," and the primary objective for this form of therapy is to teach people to utilize the body's relaxation response on their own, as and when needed. Participants are trained to utilize this method to manage their arousal to stress and deal with physical symptoms such as blood pressure, heart rate, and rapid breathing.
How does it work?
A session of autogenic training usually occur in the following format:
First, the trainee is instructed to settle into a comfortable position—sitting reclined, upright, or lying down.
The therapist initiates by using verbal clues to guide the trainee's breathing and direct attention to certain parts of the trainee's body. The verbal clues sometimes encourage sensations of warmth and heaviness, which can then lead to deep relaxation.
Once the lesson is over, the therapist assist the trainee “cancel” the relaxation session. As the session concludes, and the trainee is encouraged to practice what has been taught at home, outside of the session. Each session develops in the foundation of the last lesson until the trainee and therapist agree that the process can be conducted independently.
The objective of each session is to render a sense of calm to the trainee at its conclusion and to bestow better control over unwanted physiological, emotional, and physical responses to stimuli.
When is it used?
Autogenic training is an effective treatment for stress, it appeared to be an effective treatment for many different issues, including hypertension, migraines, asthma, anxiety, somatization, dysthymia and depression, and sleep issues.
Further, it has been found effective in mental and physical health issues like phobias, panic attacks, stomach issues, chronic pain and heart palpitations. The approach might help individuals develop a greater sense of empowerment and grasp over their lives, and some claims that practicing autogenic training helps them experience and depiction of greater self-confidence.
Role of therapist:
Practitioners who are certified in autogenic training approach use six basic techniques, which are preached to people in treatment at a slow and steady pace which can sometimes span over many months. These techniques are configured to stimulate a sense of heaviness in the musculo-skeletal system along with a feeling of warmth in the circulatory system. Therapists also guides the attention of the person in treatment to their heartbeat, breath, and other bodily sensations. A typical sessions usually last about 15 to 20 minutes, and participants, are strongly encouraged to practice at home daily, making the use of the techniques as needed.