The term comes from the Greek and means self-effective training. Pschyrembel Clinical Dictionary: „Concentrative self-relaxation, an activating therapy as part 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. Through relaxation exercises that can be learnt step by step, an increasing autosuggestive influence on involuntary bodily functions is achieved. The method is used to balance inner tension, improve performance, strengthen memory, influence pain and achieve self-control.”

According to Professor Kretschmer, autogenic training is a further development of hypnosis. Referring to 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 designed to progressively improve, relax and deepen the control of the organism and the associated mental attitude of the personality from the outside to the inside, and to differentiate this healing influence down to the individual organs and functions of the body“.

In autogenic training, the therapeutic path leads from thinking or imagining through feeling to realisation in the organic. The best example is weightlessness. The process is as follows

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

Conversely, the sensation of warmth or heat can also be created. Dr Senn cites the example of a patient who had a cold hairpin placed on the back of his hand. The doctor then signalled that the needle was red-hot. This caused a burn on the hand, even though the needle remained completely cold. There is another problem. When the patient’s psyche gives the command: Needle red-hot, where does this heat come from? Without realising it, the doctor is leading the patient into the realm of magic. Schultz therefore called the process of self-hypnosis „fakirism“. The references to shamanism and yoga show that we are dealing with Eastern mysticism and magical practices. To the question of whether autogenic training should be practised, Dr Senn replies at the end of his booklet: „No, because autogenic training is an occult practice. It is parallel and related to the magical rites of the shamans, the meditative cures of the yogis and the ritual healing ceremonies of the African medicine men. The artificial creation of passivity through self-absorption is a gateway to unknown powers.


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“