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Prof Dr Nikola Atanassov (1955-2020) was one of the key figures of the psychotherapeutic and psychoanalytic movement in Bulgaria. He was one of the founders and first presidents of the Bulgarian Psychoanalytic Society, of the Masters programme in Clinical Psychology - Psychoanalytic Perspective in the New Bulgarian University, former president of the Bulgarian Association for Psychotherapy, a training and supervising analyst who was fully devoted to the clinical practice and the organisational and scientific life of the analytic community as well as a close colleague, mentor and collaborator of so many. This web page is devoted to his life and work.
Ass. Prof. Nikola Atanassov

Autogenic Training

Following the original method of Johannes Heinrich Schultz

Autogenic training (AT) is a method for influencing psychic tension in a different way compared to psychoanalysis.

I learned AT in its homeland – in Berlin, Germany – and I have been practicing it since 1978.

АТ is probably the most influential method of psychophysical relaxation; it was created by the German neurologist J. H. Schultz in the 1920-ies, and has been since then practiced by many people in Europe, especially in the German speaking countries. It consists of 6 exercises involving concentration on bodily sensations and autosuggestion via imagery; imagery can influence the processes in the body and in this way regulate the balance between the two parts of the autonomous nervous system. The notion of “self-relaxation through concentration” was borrowed partly from the east-Asian meditation practices, and partly from Western science.

Why can the regular practicing of AT be useful?

  • Because you may learn to monitor your individual optimal level of bodily and emotional arousal;
  • You may learn to identify the optimal psycho-physiological state of your body and to regulate the deviations;
  • In this way you may expand your self-knowledge, improve your self-control, and acquire a liable defense against distress and fatigue.

AT may be used, of course, for psychotherapeutic purposes as well, provided you are a qualified psychotherapist. There is a bulk of literature concerning the application of this method to different kinds of disorders.

To learn AT, you have to follow the instructions of an experienced teacher. The most important thing you need to learn is motivation: it usually takes two to three months to learn the method, and you need to practice it an average of 10 minutes everyday. But after having mastered the method, you will be able to practice it whenever you like.  

The AT course consists of 10 meetings once a week. It takes place in Sofia. For additional information or to express interest, please contact me at n.atanassov@gmx.net.

To learn more about AT you can read Relieve Tension the Autogenic Way by H. Lindemann; P. H. Wyden Press published it in 1973 in New York. 

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