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Stengel, E. (1951). Das Autogene Training (Konzentrative Selbstent-Spannung): [Autogenic Training (Concentrative Self-relaxation).] By I. H. Schultz. (Stuttgart: Georg Thieme Verlag, 1950. Pp. 328. Price DM. 27.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 32:256.

(1951). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 32:256

Das Autogene Training (Konzentrative Selbstent-Spannung): [Autogenic Training (Concentrative Self-relaxation).] By I. H. Schultz. (Stuttgart: Georg Thieme Verlag, 1950. Pp. 328. Price DM. 27.)

Review by:
E. Stengel

The principle of this method is the use of muscular relaxation for the purpose of emotional reconditioning. It aims at helping the individual towards acquiring the capacity for regulating autonomous organic functions by muscular exercises carried out in a state of active withdrawal from external stimuli. A sleep-like condition is produced, at first by the therapist and later by the subject himself, which brings about a 'lowering of affective resonance'. In this state certain changes in the peripheral vascular system take place, the pain threshold is raised, and cataleptic phenomena may appear. The author has found his method helpful in the so-called psychosomatic disorders, in insomnia, and in neurotic conditions associated with muscular tension. In other neuroses autogenic training had to be preceded by psycho-analytic treatment. Autogenic training, which the author has practised for the last thirty years, is the therapeutic application of the principles underlying Yoga, and was evolved from O. Vogt's observations on autohypnosis which had been inspired by Bernheim. The author discusses E. Jacobson's 'progressive relaxation', which is based on similar ideas. Professor Schultz considers the physiological and psychological aspects of his method in the light of present-day knowledge of psycho-physical relations. He also attempts to integrate them with observations on the effects of nervous tension on the muscular apparatus reported by psycho-analysts. He suggests that his method could be beneficial as a means of prophylaxis against the development of nervous tension states.

There is a great deal in Professor Schultz's observations that is of interest for psycho-analysts, especially for those interested in psycho-physical relations and in the body image. Others may find that the author has not made sufficient use of the opportunity for exploring the patient's phantasies during the state of relaxation.

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