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Effectiveness of autogenic relaxation training on children and adolescents.

27 Oct

German researchers discover that simple, autogenic training helps children and adolescents with a variety of psychological symptoms, including depressive, aggressive, impulsive, or attention deficit complaints.

Researchers at The University Clinic of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry & Psychotherapy, in Ulm, Germany, investigated the effectiveness of autogenic relaxation training on children and adolescents in outpatient treatment for varied depressive, aggressive, impulsive, or attention deficit symptoms.

Fifty children and adolescents, ages 6-15, from southern Germany participated in a group intervention program. Fifteen patients were randomly assigned to a waiting-list control group.

The children were assessed on behavior symptoms (Child Behavior Checklist), psychosomatic complaints (Giessen Complaint List), and levels of stress before and after the intervention (or in the case of the controls, after the waiting phase). Individual goal attainment was evaluated at the end of the intervention and in a 3-month follow-up.

The parent report on the behavioral checklist reflected reduced symptoms as compared with the controls. The child report indicated reduced stress and psychosomatic complaints both in the intervention and control groups. Effect sizes of 0.49 in the CBCL and 0.36 in the complaint list indicated clinically relevant effects of the intervention as compared with the control group.

At the end of the intervention, 56% of the children and 55% of the parents reported partial goal attainment, 38% of the children and 30% of the parents reported complete goal attainment; 71% of the parents confirmed partial goal attainment by the 3 months postintervention assessment.

The study concludes that autogenic relaxation training is an effective broadband method for children and adolescents, useful for a wide spectrum of psychological symptoms.

Citation: Goldbeck L, Schmid K. Effectiveness of autogenic relaxation training on children and adolescents with behavioral and emotional problems. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2003 Sep;42(9):1046-54. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award