About the British Autogenic Society

BAS, registered charity 1092448, was founded in 1984.

We are the professional body for autogenic therapists in the UK.  Autogenic Training was first used in the National Health Service (NHS) in the late 1950s and since the founding of our Society, AT’s use has expanded in the UK.  Our members actively work to encourage Patient Choice amongst stress management therapies and to ensure the continued availability of AT as a widely-used form of treatment across the UK – available on recommendation from doctors, health centres, primary care centres and schools.

Our Roots

Autogenic Training was developed in the early 20th century by the neuro-psychiatrist Dr Johannes Schultz (1884 – 1970) from the reports given him by patients describing their experience of relaxation during hypnosis.

Between 1894 and 1904 Schultz studied with Oscar Vogt, a physician and hypnotherapist. It was Vogt’s, his colleague Brodmann’s, and Schultz’s research into hypnosis, in particular, that formed the basis for Schultz’s development of Autogenic methods, which were his lifelong work.

Schultz developed AT with the goal of eliminating people’s reliance on a therapist in favour of teaching people to actively regulate their own experience by entering and coming out of deep relaxation by themselves.  Schultz carried out a large number of studies on the effects of AT and whilst most of these involved taking measurements from individuals, such as heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate, Schultz also did some studies with groups of people who were learning AT. Given its effectiveness, its ease of learning, ease of use, and the low cost of teaching it in groups, AT quickly spread throughout Europe and to North America and the Far East by the 1940s.

Dr Wolfgang Luthe became one of Schultz’ students in the 1940s, studying psychosomatic medicine and Autogenic Therapy. Then in the late 1940s, Luthe emigrated to Montreal, Canada where he continued to develop Autogenic Therapy as Assistant Professor of Psychophysiology at the University of Montreal. Schultz and Luthe collaborated in writing and collating research into all aspects of Autogenic Therapy and in 1969, a year before Schultz’s death, they published the first three of the six volumes on Autogenic Therapy.  These volumes now constitute the seminal work on the subject in English.

In 1978 Dr. Malcolm Carruthers and psychotherapist Vera Diamond studied Autogenic Therapy with Dr. Luthe in Montreal and brought his cathartic version of the Schultz method to Britain. The first Autogenic Training courses were held in Queen Anne Street in London in 1979. Later, Dr Luthe contributed to the therapist training courses of 1982 and 1983, introducing his innovations of the cathartic Intentional Off-loading Exercises. In addition, British AT therapists experienced Luthe’s methods in Autogenic Neutralisation and Creativity Mobilisation Technique.

The British Association for Autogenic Training and Therapy was founded in 1984.  In that same year, Medlik and Fursland, clinical psychologists in the NHS, reported in Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice (v57, issue 2, pp. 181-185) on AT’s use as a cost effective treatment for stress and anxiety.  In 1999 BAFATT became the British Autogenic Society (BAS) and in 2001 obtained charitable status.

As a charity, our Society’s activities are:

  • Educating the public about Autogenic Therapies
  • Setting the educational and qualification standards for Autogenic Therapists and providing for their professional training
  • Setting the professional codes of ethics and practice for Autogenic Therapists and responding to public concerns about BAS member therapists
  • Encouraging and supporting the carrying out of quality research on AT
  • Continuing dialogue with allied colleagues and organisations including NICE, the NHS, BPS, Universities and Hospitals, and Autogenic Societies around the world

Equality and diversity

Our Society actively promotes equality and diversity within our membership.  We have no political affiliations and we welcome, respect and value people from all nationalities, races, gender identities and orientations, ages, social classes, disabilities, and political, religious, non-religious and spiritual persuasions.

Our Patrons
Dr Roger Neighbour OBE, MA, DSc, FRCGP, FRCP, FRACGP Past President of the Royal College of General Practitioners and author of standard GP training works.

Our Board of Trustees
The British Autogenic Society is a charity with volunteer Trustees.  All the Trustees at present are Full Members of the Society who have chosen to dedicate their time and energies to ensure Autogenic Therapists receive the support they need to continue practising AT and to train others so that more people learn and gain from the benefits of this effective non-drug, self-help approach to reducing the symptoms of stress and other conditions.

Chairperson & Treasurer,  Judith Wren, BA, DipAT
Vice Chair, Anne Whybrow, RMN, RNT, DipAP
Trustee, Sr Treasa Ridge, DipAT
Trustee, Ruth T Naylor, MBA, DipAT, DipCBH, PhD
Trustee, Jane Morris, BEd(Hons), LAMSC, PGC-AT

Our Memberships
Many of our therapists belong to various groups such as the International Stress Management Association (ISMA), the British Psychological Society (BPS), the European Flow Researchers’ Network (EFRN), the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), the General Medical Council (GMC), and the British Association of Counseling & Psychotherapy (BACP).

Our Society is listed in the Therapy Directory (www.therapy-directory.org.uk) and is a member of the International Society of Autogenic Training and Psychotherapy (ISATAP) and of its predecessor organisation, the International Committee on Autogenic Therapy (ICAT).