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Autogenic Training (AT) is a technique offered by the Psychological Therapy Services Team at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, which receives referrals for chronic physical health problems. Patients, families or carers may be referred. Please contact Patient Services for further information.

Originating in Germany and developed by doctors, AT is a well-established method, over 100 years old and used in many parts of the world. Self-administered exercises help people to help themselves. ‘Autogenic’ means self-generating. Practice brings about spontaneous change from within.

AT is a structured meditative-style practice, consisting of a sequence of simple ‘mental exercises’ (thought-repetitions linked with relaxation) which have an easy-to-follow structure. Over time, the method helps to quieten down an overactive stress response (fight-flight) and can help balance the activity of body and mind. With practice people report they can make a mental and physical switch into a calm state easily and at will.

Stress can play a significant part in contributing to ill-health, often creating a stress-symptom cycle. AT is particularly recommended for conditions where stress is identified as resulting in or maintaining health-related problems, and it can also be used to support other therapies.

Through bringing about deep relaxation, AT exercises can reduce the effects of the ‘fight-flight’ stress response. In time this may help tension, improve general well-being, mood, energy and sleep.

AT is about natural self-adjustment and helps to deal with the emotional difficulties of chronic illness and can support other therapies as the mind-body becomes receptive.

Autogenic Training may be suitable if you are experiencing stress or anxiety and are living with a chronic physical health problem, to enable you to cope with your condition and to reduce the associated emotional distress.

AT is part of the RLHIM Psychological Therapy Service, which receives referrals for chronic physical health problems. Please see our “Psychological Services” webpage for more details.

AT is versatile. Exercises can be practised almost anywhere (travelling, in bed, in the garden), wearing ordinary clothes. You can use AT according to the time available: 20 seconds or 20 minutes can be highly effective. AT is a skill for life.

Many people report it feels like a ‘tool-kit’ for coping:

  • improved confidence and efficiency
  • significantly reduced stress and worry
  • managing chronic problems more effectively
  • improved sleep.

The autogenic programme is one of self-help, inducing a spontaneous process of change which can enable you to manage health and other problems more effectively.

An initial assessment is made with a British Autogenic Society (BAS)-trained AT therapist. If appropriate an AT course will be recommended. AT is typically taught in groups of six to eight patients.

The eight weekly sessions last for two hours and it is important to attend them all. AT is not group psychotherapy; however other group members support your process as you support theirs.

Home practice is essential for a few minutes three times a day, so that by the end of the course the techniques have become a regular part of your life and an everyday resource for health and well-being.

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There is no planned or promised outcome. Autogenic exercises feel much like meditation to practise, following an easy structure. There is no expectation. You learn to become the passive observer, quietly watching the process of change and the reactions to the exercises.

There is no right or wrong response to an exercise: simply your response.

If you are unable to attend your assessment appointment please let us know at least 48 hours beforehand so we can offer it to someone else.

If you have to cancel or change the booked 8-session course please give as much notice as you can so we can offer your course place to someone else before the start date. Your place on the course is valuable, and cannot be filled if you vacate it.

If you do not attend your appointments without telling us we will refer you back to your GP.

Following your treatment you will be referred back to your GP.

The RLHIM is a teaching hospital and from time to time other healthcare professionals may observe in outpatient clinics as part of a training course. We will always ask your permission for students to sit in during your consultation. You do not have to have students present if you would prefer not to.

Patient Services
The Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine
60 Great Ormond Street
London WC1N 3HR
Tel: 020 3448 2000
Fax: 020 3448 2004
Switchboard: 020 3456 7890
Email: (not for referrals)

The Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (RLHIM) is part of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and accepts GP referrals via NHS e-Referrals (formerly Choose and Book).

Patients can also be referred by their NHS hospital consultant.

Page last updated: 02 May 2024

Review due: 30 June 2024