Autogenic training can be defined as a technique of medical therapy designed to exert a normalising influence upon mental and bodily functions.
By the late 1920s, Schulz had evolved the six standard psycho-physiological exercises of autogenic training which he called the autogenic standard series. These exercises involve a series of verbal formulae upon which subjects passively concentrate, while lying with their eyes closed in a quiet room. Each exercise is practised several times under the supervision of a trained therapist, until the subject is able to shift voluntarily from a high arousal state to a wakeful low arousal state.
Another important, but more advanced type of autogenic training which can be practised after the standard exercises have been learned, is meditative training. A substantial advance on autogenic training, this begins with passive concentration on a number of visual phenomena and proceeds through a series of personal interrogatory exercises which lead to deep personal insights.
Students who seek to use their new-found skills in gainful employment in a private capacity will find that the opportunities are wide-ranging. Currently, management of the large number of persons whose psychological disorder causes only mild or intermittent disturbance to their lives often presents a dilemma for doctors and psychiatric services that are overstretched in dealing with the more serious depressions and psychoses. Such minor disorders, if unchecked over a long period, could lead to serious depression and possibly suicide.
So many people can benefit from help in resolving personal difficulties that there is clearly a role for non medically qualified personnel who have carefully trained to assist in this area.
The problems that the techniques of autogenic training and meditative training can deal with particularly effectively include -
- chronic stress
- drug withdrawals
- executive stress
- examination nerves
- guilt feelings
- irritable bowel
- memory problems
- nail biting
- over eating
- rejection feelings
- stage fright
- weight control