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Introduction to Autogenic Dynamics

For those who have completed the basic AT course with a therapist

This section on Autogenic Dynamics is intended primarily for those who have completed, or are nearing the completion, of the basic AT course with a therapist.  It may also be of interest to counsellors and therapists in general, and Autogenic Therapists in particular.

Research over the last couple of decades or so has revealed extra-ordinary inter-connections between Ancient Meditative type Practices, Mental Training (such as Autogenic Training and Positive Mental Training), and neuro-science.

I find these links both fascinating and deeply humbling – in that some of the current ideas and concepts in cutting edge neuro-science and research reveal the wisdom and insights of various millennia-old Eastern Meditative Traditions.

From the point of view of mental training and our own Well-Being, however, it is important that we keep our feet, as it were, firmly on the ground. That is to say, ideas and concepts of how meditative type practices work can interfere, if we are not careful, with the practice itself.  So when we are doing an AT session, for example, the essential practice is to be gently focusing on where we are in the sequence, such as “Arms and Legs are Heavy and Warm”: and not on the neuro-chemistry of what is going on in our brains!

In Autogenic Dynamics (Ross 2010) the term is used to convey in general terms the dynamics of Autogenic Training in physiological, psychological, and neuro-physiological domains.

In this web manifestation of Autogenic Dynamics, and particularly in sections C and D, the concept has been expanded to embrace fundamental aspects of Mindfulness and Mindsight which Mental Training facilitates. As these processes involve internal mental and brain processes, the term Autogenic (generated from within) seems to be increasingly apt.

The Autogenic Dynamics section of this website is the longest. It is divided into four sections.

A.     Physiological, Psychological and Research Matters

B.     Neuro-science and related matters

C.    Mindfulness & Mindsight – relating to the work of Daniel Siegel

D.    Autogenic Training, Meditation and Mindfulness

E.    Talks given by Ian Ross


Recent additions to the above four Autogenic Dynamics sections include:

November 2012:

Stephen Porges’ research has resulted in his “Polyvagal Theory”, which is introduced in A7 and A8. This theory helps us to understand the links between the autonomic nervous system and social engagement, crucial for our well being.

• A7: Porges and The Polyvagal Theory – Reflections on clinical and therapeutic significance

• A8: The Polyvagal Theory and a more sympathetic awareness of the ANS (after Porges et al)

The original B3 section on Affective Neuro-science and the work of Jaak Panksepp has now been expanded into two parts.

• B3: Part l: The Origins of Affect and Affective Neuroscience – and the misplacing of Affect in the


• B3: Part ll: Emotional Operating Neuro Circuits – a brief introduction to Panksepp’s model

April 2013:

• B13: Expressive Writing and Well-Being – the efficacy of intentionally Off Loading through writing

• B16: Antidotes to Threats our Minds Create – the Soothing and Contentment System

• C6-A: Integration and Well Being – original 3 page version (2011)

• C6-B: Integration and Well Being – expanded 17 page version (2013)

January 2014:

• C12: Presence in Mind – Autonomic Afferents and Well-Being

• B18: The Space to Choose – reflections on the gap between the stimulus and the response


• B5: Emotions, Frontal Lobe Dynamics, and Autogenic Training – in the context of autonomic afferent lateralisation

April 2014:

• B15: Towards a Growth Mindset – based on the work of Carol S Dweck

• B17: Windows of Affect Tolerance: Reflections on Childhood Distress, Procedural Learned Tendencies, and the Therapeutic Dyad [based on Ogden]

December 2015:

• A9: Emotions, Well Being and Immune Function: Awe and Shame as modulators of Being – for good or ill

• D10: Look at the Cypress Tree

May 2016:

This update involves a new category E. This relates to papers based on talks given by Ian Ross over the years.

We are starting with a talk given in London on 21st May 2016:

• Look at the Cypress Tree – Autonomic Afferents and Well-Being:  Background Research Paper for talk given to the British Autogenic Society Annual Lecture (London, 21st May 2016)


February 2017

Some years ago we looked at aspects of Autogenic Training specifically in the context of Buddhist Psychology in the article: D4: “Duhkha, Impermanence, and Inter-relatedness (Some Reflections on Sakyamuni, Inter-relatedness, and Well-Being)”.

In 2011 I started writing two further articles on this theme, which I then set aside for some years. During the last six months I have returned to these, re-written parts, and added a new third article (D11), making a series of four.  The three new articles are:

  • D8: Duhkha II  The Second Arrow and Sympathetic Afferents
  • D9: Duhkha lll  Reducing Duhkha: Experiential Modes, Mindfulness and Intuitive Working Memory
  • D11 Sukha: Paths of Well-Being, PSNS Afferents, and Inner Warmth: from Duhkha to Sukha

All three of these papers have a glossary covering some Buddhist psychology and neuro-physiological terms; the most extensive of these is in D11.

During the last few years I have also been working on two articles on the origins of Separation Distress and Grief. It is planned that these will be ready and available later this year:

  •   B19: Reflections on a Secure Base – Bowlby, Ainsworth, Attachment and Well-Being
  •  B20:  Separation Distress – Neuro-physiological reflections on developing a Secure Base


Please note:

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information given in on this website is accurate and up to date.

However, neither Ian Ross nor the British Autogenic Society will be liable for any loss or damage of any nature occasioned to or suffered by any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of reliance on the material contained on this site. If in doubt, please consult your Autogenic Therapist or your medical / therapeutic advisor.

Please also note that the ideas expressed here are those of Ian Ross, and not necessarily those of the British Autogenic Society.

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Get in Touch

Email: ross425@btinternet.com
Telephone: 01620 844 321

or write to Ian Ross at:
52 Hopetoun Terrace,
East Lothian,
EH31 2DD