This is my view of learning autogenic training (AT)

Relaxing

When learning any new skill in life, it is always wise to have a teacher. The experienced teachers know that you cannot learn dancing by starting with the choreography of Swan Lake. First, you need to learn the basic steps. Then you need time for your body and brain connections to adapt to these basic steps, moves, and feelings. After that, you also need time to sleep on these new skills. The progress is gradual and slow.

Interestingly the same applies to autogenic training, however, the progress is somewhat faster. We need 9 consecutive weeks of practice 2-4 times per day to get to the level, where we achieve deep relaxation. After 4 weeks we already feel profound relaxation and after that, the relaxation only deepens.

This powerful technique brings about deep relaxation in just 10 minutes. To experience such relaxation in such a short period of time, you need to start by learning the most basic exercises first. The execution of the exercises has to be done in a correct manner. This is a so-called passive concentration. It usually takes 3-5 five lessons (weeks) with a trained tutor to achieve passive concentration. Learning AT by yourself or via youtube is like learning to speak a foreign language, by not talking to anyone. During the process of learning AT you need a trainer who listens to your own unique way of practicing autogenic training. Then he/she can correct your practice and guides you in the right direction. This happens many times during one lesson and during the whole course. Learning AT in a therapist setting should always take at least 7 weeks. However, once you learn AT, the process of achieving deep relaxation is automated and the time, effort, and money invested is more than worth the struggle. Using an AT course with a trainer who follows your practice is crucial for several reasons:

  1. You need to practice autogenic training the right way. To get to full effectiveness and deep relaxation in minutes you need to practice AT in passive concentration. Those who try it on their own and don’t get to a passive state mostly experience only 30-40% of its strength. Since the effect is low, many stop practicing altogether. On average it takes several lessons of trial and error during the course to get it the right way.
  2. During the learning phase, problems always arise. Problems arise from the second session on and if you do not know how to overcome them the right way, you may stop practicing AT or practice it in the wrong way. For example. How would you solve these basic problems:
      • What do I do if I am even more nervous after the practice of AT?
      • What do I do with my breathing during AT?
      • What to do with intruding thoughts?
      • What to do if I do not feel my arms and legs heavy?
      • What to do if I feel them too heavy?
      • What is the right duration of my practice?
      • Is it too short or too long? …and many more…
  3. You need to progress with practice gradually. You need to progress weekly and not daily. Even if you think you are doing it the right way and it feels that you can move on. You need 9-week gradual individual building formulas for the best outcome. People on their own usually progress much faster and again do not reach ATs full potential. You need to adjust the proper time length of exercises to reach their full potential.
  4. You need to choose the proper time of the day when to practice AT.
  5. You need tons of motivation to persist in the practice of AT and the trainer is also here for that. To practice autogenic training regularly you will stumble upon many daily obstacles. For any relaxation technique to work, you need to practice it 3 times a day for full effectiveness. That takes a lot of preparing, adjusting your daily schedule, motivation, and persistence. During the course, a trainer teaches you many tricks and shows you tweaks how to go over them. BTW: The live course is light years more motivating than any relaxation application on the market. Nevertheless, you must show up.
  6. You get lifetime support (at my course, I cannot speak for everybody else).
  7. You talk about your AT practice and your fears with someone who understands you and supports you. It is crucial to talk to somebody about AT at your learning phase. Not everyone is open-minded about AT. The trainer understands you and your problems regarding AT in your life. AT is not psychotherapy, but we do address the issues at hand. Who understands your improved sleep better than your AT trainer?
  8. AT is not for everybody. A small number of people, unfortunately, cannot practice relaxation techniques since they can worsen their health and endanger their safety. These situations are really rare and the contraindications are on my page. Some just need psychotherapy first, others need AT first, and then psychotherapy. I will always put clients' safety and health priorities ahead of the AT course. Someone must say: “No, try this first. It’s better for you!”. That is also the reason for an interview, where we see what is best for you. Some just need a push in the right direction
  9. When you invest a certain amount of money this also motivates you. My live course is surely more expensive than any automated application. You literary get 10 appointments with your personal trainer. In the past, I tried to do pro bono. NOBODY got to the end of the course. Then I tried low prices, NOBODY applied. After that, I tried higher prices. This time many people applied and finished the course.

Learning AT over the course is just the beginning. It is much like learning how to drive a car. At the start, you must learn it the proper way and most experiences and advantages of it lay in the future. You can drive your car (and practice AT) your entire life. Luckily most people enjoy doing both. Why walk every time to the faraway store in the rain if you can take the car? Why be stressed if you can be calm and assertive? Stress is a fact; relaxation is a choice.