Frequently Asked Questions
What is the basis of Autogenics?
The essence of the practice is homeostasis. Homeostasis means keeping an aspect of our body in a comfortable range. There are systems present in our physiology which allow us to keep balance. For example, when there is not enough thyroid hormone circulating in the body, there is a sensor in the brain (like a thermostat in a home heating system) which signals a release of thyroid stimulating hormone. This signals the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormone. In the same way, Autogenic Therapy taps into pro-homeostatic mechanisms in our brain. Rather than allowing our emotions to spiral out of control, AT provides a mechanism to adjust our mental environment so that our mind can be comfortable.
Autogenics emphasizes “letting be”, allowing the changes that your mind and body require to occur. Most people feel constrained by expectations from other people, whether it is pushy parents, coworkers or other people in their life. The constraints block psychological homeostasis, by keeping our mental state outside the range that represents safety and comfort for us as individuals.
Is Autogenic Therapy the same as Mindfulness or Meditation?
I sometimes think that AT is almost the opposite of mindfulness. Mindfulness helps you to develop focus on something intensely, in the present moment. Mindfulness can really help to break the cycle of negative thoughts, by focusing your mind on the present and distract you away from the thoughts have been worrying you. Autogenics is different because it develops passive concentration. The experience is trusting, allowing and letting-be. You are aware of your body and your circumstances, but you do not expend intentional effort to maintain your focus on your breath or an object in front of you.
How can Autogenic Therapy help me?
Most people never feel completely safe. We have an ancient nervous system, that is not adapted to the fast pace and cultural restrictions of modern living. Your body is likely in a constant state of mild flight or fight response, which means your sympathetic nervous system is activated and cortisol is being released, causing inflammation and impacting your health and longevity. Using Autogenics, you can enter a state of deep relaxation at will, wherever you are, even in a stressful situation. You will learn to down-regulate your sympathetic nervous system, and turn off the excess epinephrine. By entering a state where you feel safe at a deep level, you can let go chronic pain and fully engage your mind on tasks.
Is it religious?
Definitely not. People often ask this because Eastern cultures have mental training exercises as part of their religion. Most people who grow up in a Western culture have not received any education about their emotional health, mental health. This includes acknowledgement and safe expression of emotions. Autogenics is a contemplative practice, but it is based in scientific study and is independent of any religious belief.
I have tried Mindfulness and it didn’t work for me. How is Autogenic Therapy any different?
Most mindfulness programs develop a skill of focused attention in the here and now. When we spend long periods of time in the present moment, unconscious thoughts may become conscious. What should people do with all the material that comes up during this quiet time? Sometimes movement is encouraged in mindfulness and other meditation practices, but this doesn’t deal with repressed thoughts, feelings and trauma. Autogenics allows completion of the process, making use of the pro-homeostatic mechanisms that we have in our mind and body. Dr Lucy will teach you intentional and safe offloading of emotions such as anger, grief and anxiety.
Why learn with Dr Lucy?
Learning Autogenic Therapy will allow you to enter the Autogenic state. This is an amplified state of consciousness. It allows a rebalancing of the brain and body. As part of this process, unconscious material can come into conscious awareness. Dr Lucy is a medical doctor, with psychiatric experience and has taught Autogenics for 15 years.
Can I just learn Autogenic Training from a CD or a YouTube video?
I have seen many videos that use the name Autogenic Training or Autogenic Therapy. I have not found any that are created by a medical doctor or approved by the British Autogenic Society or ISATAP. Many of these videos are just general relaxation techniques. This is nothing like the real Autogenic Therapy which was created by psychiatrists and developed over the last 100 years. If you have watched some of these videos, please don’t give up. Working through the journey with a trained therapist will help you to your self-actualization.
Can AT help me at school?
All the time that your stress response is activated, you revert to a mode of thinking that is more like that of a teenager. The prefrontal cortex behaves as it did when it was not fully developed, you are less capable of making rational decisions and less capable of assimilating information from an adult perspective.