Auto-training was proposed by the German neurologist Schultz back in the 30s of the last century, but was recognized and widely used in medicine only by the mid-50s. In fact, the method is a combination of meditation and self-hypnosis, Schultz took the most essential, in his opinion, elements of Indian yoga and adapted them for European perception, completely abandoning the religious and mystical component.

Auto-training is quite successfully used outside of medicine; for example, at one time it was part of the Arsenal of psychological training of many athletes. The use of the method allows you to quickly restore strength and overcome psychological barriers and achieve maximum efficiency from the physical capabilities of the body.

In psychiatry and neurology, auto-training is used for the treatment of various phobias and neuroses, in practice, this technique is an alternative to hypnotic effects, with the difference that the role of the hypnotist is the patient himself.

Like most other psychotechnical techniques, it is necessary to learn auto-training under the supervision of a specialist. The matter is not only that at wrong application of a method it is possible to worsen the condition (though small, but such risk really is present), but also in complexity of independent development, especially if there is no experience of similar practices in the past.

The whole process is divided into three stages: entering into a trance, pronouncing affirmations (suggestions) and exiting a trance. Perhaps the most important stage in the development of auto-training is the first, the depth of trance is usually less than the external suggestion carried out by a hypnotist. To enter into a trance, concentration is applied on the physical sensations of the body, alternately causing a feeling of heaviness and heat in the limbs, slowing breathing and heartbeat, coolness in the forehead, heat in the abdomen.

The development of auto-training takes time, rarely anyone can achieve tangible results from the first time. It is important not to force the process, to allow it to proceed naturally, with the manifestation of some perseverance and the correct use of technology the result is sure to be. We will not go into the details of the process now, they are described in detail in the relevant literature, and in any case, as I said, self-development of the method is not recommended, and an experienced coach in live communication will explain everything better than I can do it from the pages of the book.

After reaching the trance state, a mental repetition of the so-called affirmations, self-hypnosis formulas is carried out. In their preparation, too, it is desirable to consult with a specialist, there are a number of rules that should be followed. So, for example, it is not recommended to pronounce affirmations with a negative value, the prefix “not“. That is, instead of “I’m not worried“, it is better to repeat to myself “I’m calm.” In depression, affirmations are formulated in the appropriate direction: “ I’m calm“,” I’m good“,” I’m happy“,” good mood” and so on.

Out of the autogenous state should be gradually, positive affirmations are replaced by pronouncing the formulas of rest: “I rested“, “I am calm“, “I am full of strength“, “I will stand on the count of 3“; start a mental countdown and on the count of 3 or 5 open your eyes and exit the accepted posture for the process.

Conduct anger management ought to be sitting, when lying is a good chance to sleep and disrupt the process. The classic in auto-training is considered to be “the pose of the coachman”: the practitioner sits on the edge of the chair, the forearms of the hands are located on the knees, the hands hang down, the head is lowered. In such pose good relaxation, half-sleep is reached, but it is usually not possible to fall asleep at the same time. To do better in a darkened room, but not in complete darkness, as in the absence of vision, other senses become aggravated, which distracts and does not allow to achieve the necessary concentration. Complete silence is also undesirable for the same reasons, as long as there were no sharp stimuli.

Experts recommend to study three times a day, for 20-40 minutes. With the acquisition of experience, entering into a trance will take less time and, accordingly, the total time of each process will decrease. In addition, auto-training sessions contribute to high-quality rest of the body, as a result, the time allotted for sleep can be reduced, due to which the necessary time for training will be released.

The effectiveness of self-training is individual and largely depends on the suggestibility of a person. Good results can be obtained to overcome various phobias, including social, fear of unusual situation, public speaking. By relaxing you can achieve a temporary reduction in the level of internal tension, anxiety, insomnia. As for the treatment of depression, I am more skeptical.

In the initial period of training I received tangible progress in terms of overall improvement of health, reduce anxiety, increase activity, greater energy. But these phenomena were temporary. First, it is of course symptomatic treatment, the effectiveness of suggestion must be constantly maintained, and, stopping classes, you can quickly return to the previous state. Secondly, in fact, auto-training is the process of suppressing negative emotions by layering the inspired positive, problems and conflicts are not resolved, but only overlap with the constant repetition of affirmations. That is, there is neither a vacuum of suppressed energy, nor the cessation of its further accumulation, it is obvious that this can not be the best method to combat depression.

In order to achieve a sustainable result, positive affirmations alone are not enough, first of all, it is necessary to clear the consciousness, to give an exit to the accumulated tension. But even this does not guarantee getting rid of the problem, a conscious negative, although it loses a significant part of its negative charge, still remains in memory as a negative. In order to finally get rid of it, it is necessary to carry out the practice of replacing the negative state with a positive one, to create a positive emotional anchor to a traumatic situation. In this case, mental or verbal affirmations are not effective enough. Much better results can be achieved by using modern techniques of neurolinguistic programming, which we will discuss in the appropriate Chapter.

In my case, the rise from auto-training was observed for two months, after which the reality took its toll. In addition to short-term rest, I have not received any benefits from classes, too strong were my internal conflicts in order to be able to suppress them in this way. However, the skills obtained as a result of a variety of auditory training, extremely useful in the development of other similar techniques, which requires entering into a trance, such as qigong and transcendental meditation.

Summing up, we can say that, despite the presence of a certain positive effect associated with the training techniques of relaxation and deep rest, as well as a temporary reduction of disturbing symptoms, auto-training can not be a radical means to get out of depression. Too narrow focus of this method and the obvious limitations of the results have led to the gradual oblivion of auto-training as a means of Arsenal of modern psychiatrists and psychotherapists.