WHAT IS AUTOGENIC THERAPY?
AT is widely taught and practised in Europe, and has seeded itself in countries as far flung as Canada, Russia, Sweden, Japan and the USA. Here in the UK, it is available through the out-patient departments of at least three NHS Hospitals, a trend that is growing to meet patient needs.
HOW DOES IT HELP AND WHO CAN BENEFIT ?
AT is a useful friend and a skill for life. The art of physical and mental relaxation should be learnt by everyone with an interest in keeping physically healthy and psychologically fit. AT provides a flexible approach to a wide variety of physical and psychological problems with surprisingly favourable results.
Clinical improvement has been shown in sleep problems, stress syndromes, asthma, phobias, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, mild hypertension, muscular pain and tension, migraine, fatigue, bladder disorders, sexual dysfunction, aggression, anxiety and unresolved grief, to name but a few.
Also in pregnancy, documented clinical trials show that AT brings significant benefit throughout (reducing nausea, vomiting, indigestion, irritability, anxiety, discomfort and breathlessness and insomnia); during labour (30% shorter labour, 20% fewer but stronger contractions with 70% of mothers reporting 'notable pain relief'); and in the postnatal period (boosting lactation and reducing postnatal depression). The best time to begin is in the early stages, before 6 months if possible.
CAN IT BE OF BENEFIT TO PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT ILL?
Certainly! Many people have learnt AT to improve work efficiency, mobilise creativity, improve performance or facilitate personal growth and development.
Autogenic Training has been used by many people in the fields of sports, education and industry where improvements in peak performance, creative output, intellectual work and interpersonal relationships have all been reported. AT has been used by NASA in-training for astronauts combating zero gravity problems; in-flight air cabin crews to overcome stress and jetlag; by Canadian and Japanese schoolchildren to improve classroom learning skills and behaviour; by the Police Force and Ambulance Service for stress reduction; and by the British Olympic Rifle Squad Team to reduce performance anxiety.
AT is suitable for most individuals or small group work, in age groups from 8 yrs upwards.
HOW DOES A TYPICAL SESSION GO?
You will be posted an autogenic questionnaire to fill out, to bring with you to an initial pre course interview, lasting one hour, where together we can examine the factors influencing your health and well being and how AT might help you.
The training itself is simple and can be learnt over eight weekly one-hour sessions, with home practice for 10 minutes three times a day, making it possible to relax at will by influencing the body's response to challenge and stress. The AT standard exercises are adapted to include personal, affirmational and healing formulae. In addition, a variety of complementary 'Intentional Exercises' are introduced to help deal with any unresolved emotional business, or to support calming in stressful situations.
SOME FEEDBACK FROM MY CLIENTS AFTER AN 8-WEEK AUTOGENIC COURSE
"I have developed focus and resilience, and tools to to deal with stress…If I stop and do AT, I don’t make mistakes."
"AT is much more powerful than meditation, enabling me to control my anxiety and feelings of anger."
"I think more clearly, make better decisions and deal with people and situations in a much more effective way. I have found AT very empowering."
"AT has helped me turn my life around and get things back in control. (I have now changed Company and provided constructive feedback to my previous Company to address issues which they are implementing!)"
"I am happy again; I sleep better; I am able to switch off after I leave work; I have greatly reduced symptoms and use AT every day to work on this and my stress levels are much lower. The changes I have made are inward."
"I practice AT twice a day and I am a calmer person overall. I also prioritise what I want out of life rather than putting work first all the time."
"I am able to really relax and enjoy life. I’ve achieved a kindness towards myself. I have learnt to take things in my stride, a day at a time and not to worry too much about the future. "
"I am more engaged with people with a sense of empathy and compassion. My perception has changed and I have a sense of calmness and healthy detachment, and feel more accepting, fulfilled and grateful for my existence. AT brings me back to my spiritual path. The quality of my sleep is much improved."
"I am able to relax, and to deal with feelings such as anger and tears that may otherwise have remained repressed, and my anxiety has much reduced."
"I can now relax and deal with frustration and anger. I am feeling inner strength and calmness and relationships within the family have improved."
"I am able to relax; with less stress and symptoms of stress with better coping ability. I have a much happier, positive attitude towards myself and others."
"I have learnt how to relax. I have greater peace of mind. I feel I can now live intentionally rather than compulsively."
"I have been able to come off sleeping tablets after 15 years..."
" I have regained my confidence and am now able to make the right choices for me..."
"I have learned to stop the clock, clear my mind, and feel refreshed to carry on in a more relaxed fashion..."
"I am sleeping better now than I have done for years, and am much more accepting..."
"Definite reduction in anxiety – smoothed out any aches and pains, and has significantly reduced my visual migraines..."
"The great majority of practitioners agree that at least 50% of patients visiting them suffer from problems either caused by stress or aggravated by it. Over the past 15 years I have found Autogenic Therapy to be extremely effective for releasing stress and helping patients recover from a wide range of chronic diseases. Along with a healthy diet and exercise, it is also one of the best things we can do to prevent illness and stay calm and healthy..." Dr Brian Kaplan