This relaxation method will ultimately be applicable to most of your patients, but will be particularly effective on your patients who are chronically stressed, in other words, who have a generalized anxiety disorder, but also on those who have a panic disorder or who have agoraphobia.
For the small historical point; this method of relaxation was written by Doctor Schultz, psychiatrist of the German Göring Institute. He applied this method of relaxation with veterans of the first world war.
Which relaxation method to choose?
Schultz autogenic training may be the relaxation method of choice if your patient complains of unpleasant sensations that bother them. These feelings, related to anxiety, often present themselves as feelings of heat, tingling and paresthesias. On the other hand, if your patient tells you that he or she is tense and has muscle pain, then it is more likely to be Jacobson’s relaxation which is recommended.
This method can be considered as self-hypnosis, but is not hypnosis. The idea is to recreate, in your patient, the same bodily sensations that we experience when we are hypnotized.
As with all methods of relaxation and meditation, your patient should be sitting or lying down, relaxed, without his or her jacket or purse: at ease. Once this is done, you can start the session.
The feeling of heaviness
Schultz’s autogenic training is based on different sensations (heaviness, warmth…) that you will induce in your patient through speech. With a deep, warm voice and a slow flow, you will be able to say to your patient :
“Now you are going to focus on your right arm and imagine that it is made of lead. Your right arm is very heavy. Concentrate on this feeling of heaviness. [after a moment] Now let this feeling of heaviness spread throughout your body. Your whole body is heavy. Say to yourself in your head, twice: my arm is heavy, heavier and heavier, very heavy. [after a moment] Say to yourself in your head, twice: my body is made of lead, my body is heavy, more and more heavy, very heavy”
The feeling of warmth
Once the heavy feeling is done with your patient, you can start with the warm feeling. Your patient should feel that their right arm is warm as if they were standing at a window sill and feeling the gentle warmth of the sun streaming down their arm. Your patient should focus on this warm feeling.
If you ever do this session in the summer, you should do this exercise with a cold feeling. It is not pleasant to concentrate on a warm feeling when you are already very hot. In this case, you can tell your patient to imagine that he is lying by a lake and that his right arm is immersed in the water of this lake. That his arm is immersed in the cool, pleasant water of a clear lake.
Let’s go back to our explanation with the example of heat. Ask your patient to say to himself twice and in his head: “my arm is hot, hotter and hotter, very hot”. Guide your patient to let this feeling of warmth spread throughout his or her body as if he or she were fully exposed to the sun on a beautiful beach. Then ask your patient to say to himself twice in his head: “my body is hot, hotter and hotter, very hot”.
Now your patient should repeat the following phrase twice: “I feel relaxed, more and more relaxed, very relaxed. Ask your patient to imagine themselves in a place that calms them, such as a tropical beach. C2Hypno can accompany patients who have difficulty projecting themselves into an imaginary place. The wide choice of environments offered by C2Hypno can make this software your new ally in relaxation sessions. Your patient must concentrate on the sounds, the smells and move around in this place. Then, again, ask your patient to repeat to himself twice: “I feel relaxed, more and more relaxed, very relaxed”.
The heart rate
Now ask your patient to focus on his or her heartbeat. All his concentration and his mind should be focused on his heartbeat, the sensations of beating, slight movements of the torso, the sensations of pulsations in the wrists. And he has to say twice in his head: “my heart is beating slowly, more and more slowly, very slowly”.
Here, your patient will have to concentrate on his breathing but without controlling it. He will have to pay attention to his breathing, observe and feel the movements of the respiratory cycle. That is to say, the torso expands on inhalation and retracts on exhalation.
Your patient should repeat the following sentence twice: “my breathing is becoming calm, more and more calm, very calm”. Then ask your patient to repeat twice: “I feel relaxed, more and more relaxed, very relaxed”. Then ask your patient to concentrate on the solar plexus (at the top of the abdomen) and he/she should have a feeling of warmth as if this part of his/her body was diffusing a soft light, a soft warmth. Then he should say to himself twice: “my belly is hot, hotter and hotter, very hot”.
Then, your patient will be able to concentrate on the cool sensation on the forehead. It is as if a kind person had placed a cloth soaked in cool water on the forehead. Feeling these sensations through images is the key to a successful Schultz relaxation.
Your patient should now say twice: “my forehead is getting cooler, cooler, very cool”. Then once again: “I am relaxed, more and more relaxed, very relaxed”. Slowly your patient will be able to open his eyes, look around, make stretching movements. The method is thus completed.
Good to know
During the application of the Schultz relaxation method, it is not uncommon for the patient to fall asleep. This is normal and not serious. However, consider providing recordings so that he or she can listen or re-listen to the steps of the relaxation.
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