Autogenic Training

Autogenic Training


Autogenic Training teaches a patient how to control their body and respond to their own imagination and verbal cues. These are strategies that allow you to relax which can be performed by controlling breathing and body language. Training teaches you how to conduct mental and emotional relaxation so that the feeling of stress is eliminated. After the techniques have been learned, the participant can feel relief from anxiety and panic which may be preventing them from enjoying life in social situations. With combination exercises this is extremely effective toward many who deal with anxiety in one form or another. Where stress is present, relaxation is necessary and it can be performed when the techniques have been learned.

Goals of Autogenic Training

The goal of Autogenic Training is to use visual imagination to cue your body into a relaxation state. Whether it is a simple posture or a method of concentration it can be done in a way that becomes habitual. When relaxation is learned negative responses and physical symptoms are also avoided. Relaxation makes life much more enjoyable and bearable toward those who suffer from chronic stress and worrying. The majority of people who use AT suffer from generalized anxiety, sleeping disorders and irritability. The goal is to rid of these behaviors and feel at ease with yourself at all times, especially in social situations.

When is Autogenic Training Used?

All of us have different chemical make ups and trauma associated with our past. The anxious responses that we deal with during some situations are often the result of a subconscious feeling that we've yet to deal with. By learning how to control our body and mind we will experience a calming relationship with ourselves which is needed when we are making decisions or responding to the behavior of others. Ultimately, it allows us to remain in control of ourselves without nerves or stress getting in the way of a life that we desire. Learning how to relax and take issues as they come is most beneficial being that we cannot always control the things that are happening around us. Autogenic Training is used when a participant knows that their response is inadequate to the way that they could be feeling if it weren't for the worrisome thoughts or feelings.

How Autogenic Training Works

There are 6 exercise standards implemented during training. These will make the body feel warm and relaxed. Throughout the models the client will get into a certain physical position and concentrate on their behavioral goal. They will either learn about this by reading about it or replicating the teacher. Each person is going to move at their own pace and after a few months have passed, these exercises will have been mastered. Throughout Autogenic Training practice is necessary which is why only those who are most committed to the change will benefit from the learned techniques.

The effects that the relaxation strategies have on the body are measurable and many believe that it is similar to the process of biofeedback. There is a full understanding between the body and mind which influences your reactions in a controlled manner. High blood pressure, fast heartbeats and body temperature will remain controlled when the body and mind are aligned with each other. The trainer will teach the participant how they can prevent an automatic fight or flight response through meditation and awareness. The stress response will be reversed when learned behavior is practiced and implemented enough. This is most effective in patients who deal with tension and anxiety. It can even be effective toward those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome.

Autogenic Training may be used as a technique in an integrative therapy session or as a group session based solely on anxiety and nervous responses. It can even be learned as a self-help technique. When the participant is aware of the relationship between their mind, body and spirit they will also learn how to remain in control of physiological responses by focusing on certain areas of the body. The counselor may also look into the client's personal life to see whether or not they practice a healthy diet and active lifestyle. While breathing techniques can be learned and used, it helps to remain healthy and active if you are dealing with severe stress and nervous energy.

Criticism of Autogenic Training

As a form of Transcendental Meditation, training is criticized by those who view this relaxation response as the same physiological demands that occur in other meditative techniques. Some believe that this training replicates other models that also focus on breathing techniques and muscle tension.


Integrated therapist counsellor. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Relaxation response. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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