Autogenic training

Autogenic training is a relaxation technique based on autosuggestion. It was designed by the Berlin psychiatrist Johannes Heinrich Schultz from hypnosis, first introduced in 1926 and 1932 published Autogenic training in his book. Today, autogenic training is a widely - for example in Austria even legally - recognized method of psychotherapy.

  • 5.1 the basic exercises 5.1.1 General
  • 5.1.2 The exercises of the basic level in detail
  • 5.1.3 The Protocol
  • 5.2.1 General information on Intermediate
  • 5.2.2 The formulaic intent Education
  • 5.2.3 The figures before and after autogenic training
  • 5.3.1 development of the upper
  • 5.3.2 Exercises the advanced level in different schools
  • 5.3.3 Autogenous Imagination
  • 5.3.4 The analytical upper


Autogenous (composed of Greek αὐτό car, originally, automatically ' and Latin genero, generate, bring forth ') is strictly speaking not the training, but the relaxation: The term is a shortening of training for autogenic relaxation, the importance therefore of training generated from within relaxation, procured from the outside, in contrast to expansion.

In the practice phase, the relaxation is today often against the basic idea and the explicit statement of Johannes Heinrich Schultz, nevertheless initially induced from the outside, for example by a coach or by a sound recording. However, the goal is relaxation from the inside, without external intervention and without external support.

The concept of autogenic training is often abbreviated as AT.


Methods of relaxation and self-influence were known since ancient times, for example in the Indian yoga teaching, or the Japanese Zen meditation. The intellectual foundations of this can be found in the Buddhist Satipatthana. However, these methods are difficult to separate from the world view of each lesson, or they lose by such a detachment of effect.

Johannes Heinrich Schultz developed with the autogenous training is a technique that should be applicable regardless of the cultural context and belief. Prior to preparation, he worked a long time in a Berlin hypnosis clinic. Based on these experiences, JH Schultz has started preparations for autogenous training before the First World War, according to scientific principles developed a self-help method and 1926 published the first work on the " autogenic organ exercises ". The publication of the book " Autogenic Training" took place in 1932.

The basis for the work and the book his discovery that most people are able to achieve a state of deep relaxation alone with the help of her imagination. So can, for example in people who imagine intensive heat in her arms, actually an increase in surface temperature measure, which is attributed to an increase in blood flow.

The original methods of JH Schultz have since been expanded due to new findings. While autogenic training was originally developed to support the psychotherapeutic treatment of sick people, autogenic training is now used as from healthy individuals, for example to increase the overall quality of life, for correction athletic performance or learning, and to increase the efficiency in management.

Basics and Classification

Autogenic training arose from observations that Schultz made ​​during his hypnosis research. Schultz called his method " concentrative self- relaxation ", and this relaxation of the muscles was the basis of his method of psychotherapy. The rest is produced according to Schultz by muscle relaxation and the brain communicated in this form message: " In the periphery, there is silence ." Within the psychotherapeutic process autogenic training is therefore in the sphere of physical therapy, because the starting point and the foundation are the first only physical changes in muscle and vascular tension.

At the same time autogenic training can be seen as self-hypnosis. For the autogenous training, the practitioner puts itself in the " switched " state by auto-suggestion. Under switching Schultz sees the change from the normal waking state into an altered hypnotic state of consciousness. This switching is - except at bedtime - canceled after each workout again ( in technical jargon: " withdrawn ").

Stages and application areas


Autogenic training is divided into three stages:

  • The Primary School ( formerly known as lower level): Your techniques contact the autonomic nervous system.
  • The Middle School: Their methods are intended to influence the behavior by formulaic intent education.
  • The school: Methods tap your unconscious areas of the exerciser.

The areas of application of autogenic training exist for healthy people especially in sports, in the manager training in the prevention of burnout syndrome and in the area of learning. Healthy people mainly use the techniques of elementary and middle school.

Medical indications for autogenic training are classically neuroses, phobic disorders and psychosomatic diseases, for example flight and claustrophobic, stomach ulcers and adjunctive therapies in cancer.

The basic level

The basic level consists of six exercises:

Each of these exercises is based on the suggestion of a quiet body condition. The effectiveness of the technique is based on the assumption that the quiet body condition can cause calming the mental state, that is inverse to the known experience that inner excitement triggers physical tension.

The suggestions made ​​in simple, short sentences. The individual exercises take 3-15 minutes. You can initially be guided by a coach or by a sound recording. The aim is the internalization of the exercises and ultimately bringing about the relaxation without assistant or technical aid.

The Intermediate

In middle school, formulaic intent education is used to improve the behavior (or avoid bad behavior ) bring about. An example for such a purpose - for example in a training in preparation for a speech before an audience - is: "I will stay calm and relaxed. " Such resolutions are always formulated positively, not, for example: "I'm not nervous during the speech. "

Prerequisite for the Intermediate is brought about by the exercise of the basic relaxation. Often, relaxation exercises and intent formulations are mixed in a single exercise.

The upper

The upper stage, pre-conceived psychoanalytically Schultz is applied in various forms as therapy, for example in the formula -free method of Hartmut force or in the advanced level of analytical Heinrich Wallnoefer that applies specifically psychoanalytic techniques. A precursor for the analytical upper is " before designing and after autogenic training " that with which the transition to the psychoanalytic work can be facilitated.

Corresponding to the difference of the sixth method, there is also a different number of exercises. JH Schultz, Günther Krapf, Wolfgang Luthe, Charles Robert Rosa, Klaus Thomas and Heinrich Wallnoefer use 7-9 formulas.

Exercises the basic


Autogenic training is mostly learned in groups, rarely in individual sessions under the guidance of a physician, psychologist or other AT- trainer within 6 to 8 weeks. It is also possible that self-study with the help of books or recordings.

Experience has shown that learning the method in the group falls under professional guidance easier compared to the self-study and has been recommended since Schultz.

During the exercise posture for the trainee should be comfortable. One should at least once a day lying down and sitting once daily workout. The traditional attitudes are:

Since the method is based on auto-suggestion, these attitudes proven, but by no means mandatory access aids dar. for learning is of primary importance that the stance taken over the period of the exercise is convenient for practicing the formulas will not be disturbed. With experience, the posture plays a diminishing role.


Lying posture

Desk attitude

The exercises of the basic level in detail

Practiced is possible three times a day. The practitioner should always feel comfortable with the exercises, assume a comfortable position, may optionally change his attitude. Should be practiced at least once a day once a day lying down and sitting. As the practitioner the content of the formulas best imagines he must individually to find out. It is important that the formulas are always used in the same text, so that a conditioning takes place.

Heavy exercise JH Schultz: " Is the task set > I am quite calm < understood in a similar manner, it is not about practicing, but we give our subjects as the first exercise of the formula: > the arm is quite hard <". The first exercise formula is therefore concrete, together with the name of the arm: " The right arm is quite heavy. " Or " The dominant arm is very heavy. " To left-handed and right-handed to be treated equally. Then follows the suggestion of severity in the other arm. The distribution of severity on the whole body is not explicitly practiced, instead they gradually emerges by itself This is called generalization.

After an estimated five to seven repetitions of related to individual areas of the body relaxation formula follows as " objective " the general peace formula: "I'm calm. "

Heat Exercise The formula is for example: " Both arms are quite warm. " Most are then this and the previous exercise combined into an overall exercise ". Both arms are very heavy and very warm"

Heart Exercise When non-medical reasons require a different formula is used to address next the heart: " The heart beats calm and strong. "

Breathing Exercise The goal of breathing exercise is to leave the respiration of natural control. The formula for the first few weeks is: " The breathing is calm and steady. " Later, the formula - semantically a bit random - as well as'. It breathes me "

As with the cardio exercise, it may be medically necessary to use a different formula.

Belly heat is the original formula: "The solar plexus is pouring warm. " This formula can be replaced by " The belly is pouring warm. ".

The coolness forehead forehead formula has a high mental clarity to the goal: " The forehead is pleasantly cool. "

Practitioners who are prone to migraines or other headaches must discuss the forehead formula with a doctor and can use. " Your mind is clear and easy " as the alternative formula.

Stopping important than specific training success is learning the so-called "back company ". Withdrawing is as follows: First, the fists are clenched. Then cross with the tightly clenched fists with a strong muscular effort on the shoulders, leaving the arms then fall loosely into the starting position. This is done three or five times. The last time you let the fists up, pauses for a moment, breathing jerkily a deep breath, then tears at the same time his eyes and fists and gives a short, explosive sound. Feels the trainee then not fresh, the process is repeated. Before going to bed, where usually takes place the third exercise, will not be returned. Instead, the training person turns to the side and falls asleep.

Withdrawal 2

Withdrawal 3

Withdrawal 4

The protocol

An important part of autogenic training is the protocol. Once a day, the practitioner should write what he has experienced in the three exercises. The Deal with the experienced is an essential prerequisite for the success of the training, both in therapy and as part of the training of a healthy person in the sense of a general life coaching.

The exercises of Intermediate

General information on Intermediate

As also in the Katathym - Imaginative Psychotherapy by Hans Carl Leuner in autogenic training exercises that make the transition to high school, in the " Intermediate " summarized:

The formulaic intent Education

The intent formulas should be discussed with the coach, so there is no interference. Besides avoiding negativity, the formulas should be short and clear. So something like: " I ​​left stick ," or " sounds quite indifferent ." These formulas are best attached to the rest formula, so something like: " I ​​'m calm and stay calm ."

The technique of intent form is reminiscent of the method of Emile Coué, the good success with "automated " autosuggestion achieved, for example with the formula "Get better, goes better," or "must be quiet " or even abbreviated: " Murusei ". In contrast to the formulas of Coué the formulas in the autogenic training (ie words like " not " or "no") never contain negative and no hints of coercion, for example, the word "must ".

The figures before and after autogenic training

This part of autogenic training method was developed by H. Wallnoefer in the 1970s, with colleagues from the psychotherapeutic seminar of the Vienna Psychiatric Clinic. It is that the practitioner (the classic example in which eight colors of the psychologist Max Lüscher ) make before training with color pencils, water colors, colored plasticine something. The practitioner should be uninhibited hands to work, according to the instructions used by Marianne Martin: ". What make yuor Hands " These design exercises are a good transition to college because the practitioners quite often pass through the design process to psychoanalytic insights.

The exercises of the upper

Development of the upper

JH Schultz has published in 1929 a research paper entitled " Upscale task levels in autogenic training " the fourth " Congress for Psychotherapy " in Bad Nauheim. He mentioned in this work, the possibility of an auto - psychoanalysis " often to a surprising depth ." He has also developed a valid today advanced level technique that brought Wolfgang Luthe in the sequence in the Anglo- Saxon world ( Autogenic meditation).

JH Schultz asked for coaches who wanted to work with the advanced level - yet he thought at the time primarily to physicians - a thorough analytical training.

Exercises the advanced level in different schools

The exercises of the upper level are as follows:

Klaus Thomas has developed a practice set for the advanced level, which offers a lot of tools and extensive auto-suggestions, while JH Schultz always worked with absolutely identical, short formulas, because he attaches great importance to the constant conditioning. Thomas has called "travel" built into the practice set the advanced level, for example, the "journey to the ocean floor " or the "journey to the mountain ." These trips were taken over by some other students of JH Schultz.

The first two upper forms of JH Schultz and Klaus Thomas more individual forms the upper level have evolved at different trainers.

Autogenous Imagination

The so-called autogenous Imagination (also absolute abstinent analytic form ) is a form of advanced level of autogenic training, which was developed by Hartmut power and works without any formulas. The trainees first paint a mood, and then write on the back of a mood text. Other requirements do not exist. So daydreams are recorded and presented to the other trainees. Students practice in it, " autogen ", ie its own strength to deal with the material.

The analytical upper

The analytical upper stage was developed by Heinrich Wallnoefer mainly from the batches of JH Schultz, Klaus Thomas and Wolfgang Luthe. The essence is the incorporation of psychoanalytic techniques to the process. The main concern is that the trainees themselves against the so-called floating attention learned as demanded by the analyst Sigmund Freud.

The techniques of the analytical upper stage are:

  • The silence
  • The silent, " attentive " listening
  • The "neutral ", " abstinent " questions
  • The cautious notes
  • The exact repetition of a sentence or passage
  • The ( tentative ) interpretation
  • The handling of the regression
  • Editing symbols occurring
  • Uncovering negative occupations
  • The editing of " slips of the tongue " in the formulas ( even basic )
  • The Carte - blanche method of Luthe
  • The " secretive " group
  • The analytic group dynamic events

The formulas of the analytical upper stage are:

  • Free color ( with this formula, the analytical upper is always started )
  • Self- selected color
  • Emergence can be a lemon from a deep, rich blue
  • Emergence can be of Cube, Circle, Triangle
  • Dive into the sea and upward movement on a mountain
  • Free and self-chosen abstract concept
  • Free and self-chosen another person
  • Free and elected feeling
  • Question to the unconscious.
  • View themselves: After continuous practicing

Shown here is the technique of choice of the "Free Color " and " finding the intrinsic color ":

Second Color


Beginners can achieve good results in the first few hours with autogenic training. Courses are typically offered in the amount of about 3 to 14 hours.

In contrast, the certification requires as AT trainer thorough training. Training durations ranging from about 24 to 168 hours.