The term comes from the Greek: self-acting training. It is classified as a self-hypnotic technique.

Clinical dictionary by Pschyrembel: „Concentrative self-relaxation, an activating therapy within the framework of so-called minor psychotherapy, particularly suitable for group therapy.“

Professor Peters defines autogenic training as follows: „A method of concentrative self-relaxation that can be learned under medical supervision. By means of relaxation exercises that can be learnt in stages, an increasing autosuggestive influence on involuntary bodily functions is achieved. The method is used to balance internal tension, improve performance and strengthen memory, pain control and self-control.“

According to Professor Kretschmer, autogenic training is a further development of hypnosis. Following Prof. J. H. Schultz, he describes this therapy technique as follows: „Prof. J. H. Schultz developed a completely independent method which he called autogenic training, based partly on hypnosis experience and partly on Indian traditions. It consists of a series of carefully thought-out and biologically meaningful exercises, the aim of which is to gradually improve the control of the organism and the related psychological attitude of the personality, working from the outside inwards, and to differentiate this healing influence down to the individual organs and functions of the body.”

In autogenic training, the path of therapy goes from the mental, or from the imagination, to the feeling, to the realisation in the organic. The best example of this is the experiment with gravity. The process takes the following path:

  1. 1. mental concentration on the experiment
  2. 2. imagination: the right arm is heavy, very heavy.
  3. 3. the patient then actually experiences the feeling of heaviness

Conversely, of course, the sensation of warmth or heat can also be produced. Dr Senn gives the example of a patient who had a cold hairpin placed on the back of his hand. Then the doctor gave the signal: the needle is red-hot. This caused a burn on the hand, even though the needle remained completely cold.

There is another problem behind this process. If the patient’s psyche gives the command: „The needle is hot“, where do these units of heat come from? Without knowing it, the doctor is leading the patient into the realm of magic. That is why Schultz called the process of autohypnosis „fakirism“. The references to shamanism and yoga show that we are dealing with Eastern mysticism and magical practices.

At the end of his booklet, Dr Senn’s answer to the question of whether one should do autogenic training is no, because autogenic training is an occult practice. It is parallel and related to the magical rites of the shamans, the meditation cures of the Jogi and the ritual healing ceremonies of the African medicine men. The artificial production of passivity through self-submersion is an open door into which unknown powers flow.


Dr. med. U. Senn „Was ist autogenes Training?“

Prof. Dr. med. E. Kretschmer „Medizinische Psychologie“

Prof. Dr. med. J. H. Schultz „Das autogene Training“

Prof. Dr. med. Uwe H. Peters „Wörterbuch der Psychiatrie und medizinischen Psychologie“

Dr. Kurt E. Koch „Okkultes ABC“