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Developing a training course: life skills for stress, health & wellbeing

Last Spring, I went walking and camping in Glen Affric.  Amongst other things, being away on my own in the hills gave me a chance to think creatively.  Once I was back I wrote a blog post about developing a next generation stress management course.  I said "I've known for some time that I wanted to "upgrade" the stress management/relaxation skills course that I've been teaching for many years.  I find the emerging research on mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) exciting and encouraging ...

Autogenic training: eighth session

Here are the handouts and recordings for the eighth and final session of this basic Autogenic Training course.  The initial "Autogenic relaxation training" page introduces the method and gives access to the previous seven lessons in the training sequence. 

There are two main themes for this last session.  One is to encourage course participants to review what they have learned over the previous weeks of the training, and to become clearer what feels right for them to do now.  The second theme is to introduce some ideas about the importance of relationships and how this can overlap into Autogenic Training.

Recent research: six studies on emotional & relationship ‘intelligence’ – placebo, warmth, mindfulness, & emotions

Here are half a dozen research papers that have recently interested me in the broad areas of emotional and relationship "intelligence" (all details & abstracts to these studies are given further down this blog posting).  Kelley et al report on "Patient and practitioner influences on the placebo effect" which in this study was " ... twice as large as the effect attributable to treatment group assignment."  Practitioners assigned to give warm, empathic consultations achieved considerably better outcomes than those assigned to neutral consultations, although the " ...

Autogenic training: seventh session

Here are handouts and recordings for the seventh Autogenic Training session.  The initial "Autogenic relaxation training" page gives introductory details of this method.  In the face-to-face trainings that I run, I would typically start the two hour class by practising last time's Autogenic Training exercise together - in this case it would be the sixth session's belly focus.  I would then collect the trainees' record sheets and go round the group looking at how each individual's practice had been going and trouble shooting/sharing experiences.  This group discussion time can be very valuable.  It brings up all kinds of interesting points, encourages people to interact and help each other, and reinforces the sense that we are all on this learning/exploring journey together.

Autogenic training: sixth session

Here are the handouts, recordings, and reflection/record sheets for the sixth Autogenic training session.  There are four overlapping themes to this 'lesson'.  Obviously a key issue is the next Autogenic Training step - the focus on the abdominal area.  I usually initially get trainees to put a hand or both hands on their abdomen when they are learning this exercise.  The hand(s) are positioned a little below the belly button, unless the trainee has specific abdominal symptoms - when positioning the hand(s) over the troublesome area may be more appropriate.  The hand(s) don't have to be in direct contact with the skin.  A sense of gentle, warm contact through clothing is fine.  This typically helps one focus on the abdominal area and the hand contact also merges easily with the feeling of belly relaxation and warmth that one begins to allow. 

Autogenic training, session 8

Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto.  I am human, I consider nothing human alien to me.

- Terence

Here are the handouts and recordings for the eighth and final session of this basic Autogenic Training course.  The initial "Autogenic relaxation training" page introduces the method and gives access to the previous seven lessons in the training sequence. 

There are two main themes for this last session.  One is to encourage course participants to review what they have learned over the previous weeks of the training, and to become clearer what feels right for them to do now.  The second theme is to introduce some ideas about the importance of relationships and how this can overlap into Autogenic Training.

Autogenic training, session 7

“ Only dead fish swim with the stream. ” - Anonymous

Here are handouts and recordings for the seventh Autogenic Training session.  The initial "Autogenic relaxation training" page gives introductory details of this method.  In the face-to-face trainings that I run, I would typically start the two hour class by practising last time's Autogenic Training exercise together - in this case it would be the sixth session's belly focus.  I would then collect the trainees' record sheets and go round the group looking at how each individual's practice had been going and trouble shooting/sharing experiences.  This group discussion time can be very valuable.  It brings up all kinds of interesting points, encourages people to interact and help each other, and reinforces the sense that we are all on this learning/exploring journey together.

Autogenic training, session 6

How many things, both just and unjust, are sanctioned by custom!

- Terence

Here are the handouts, recordings, and reflection/record sheets for the sixth Autogenic training session.  There are four overlapping themes to this 'lesson'.  Obviously a key issue is the next Autogenic Training step - the focus on the abdominal area.  I usually initially get trainees to put a hand or both hands on their abdomen when they are learning this exercise.  The hand(s) are positioned a little below the belly button, unless the trainee has specific abdominal symptoms - when positioning the hand(s) over the troublesome area may be more appropriate.  The hand(s) don't have to be in direct contact with the skin.  A sense of gentle, warm contact through clothing is fine.  This typically helps one focus on the abdominal area and the hand contact also merges easily with the feeling of belly relaxation and warmth that one begins to allow. 

Four aspects model & some associated evidence for relaxation, meditation & imagery

Relaxation, meditation, mindfulness, hypnosis, imagery and other associated methods form a complex, loosely interlinked field.  The "Four aspects of helpful inner focus" model, that I've put together to help me make more sense of this territory, looks like this: 

Four aspects model

For a downloadable copy of this diagram click here.  There is a fair amount of data supporting most of these methods.  To give some examples:

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