Dr Johannes H Schultz, was a neurologist and psychiatrist who eventually settled in Berlin. In 1907 he went to Lausanne in Switzerland to study medicine (having decided not to pursue a career as a professional violinist), and began his specialisation in psychiatry in 1909. In the same year, he wrote a review of Freud’s Psychoanalysis. The influence and support which Schultz received from Freud is evident in his account of their first meeting:
“Freud looked at me, sizing me up and said: ‘Surely you do not believe that you could heal?’ whereupon I replied: ‘By no means, but I think that, like a gardener, I could remove obstacles hindering a person’s true development.’ ‘Then we will understand each other,’ answered Freud, ending our conversation with a charming smile.”
From Dr Karl Wongstchowski’s article ‘Schultz the Man’, Newsletter June 1987, British Association for Autogenic Training and Therapy
In 1912 Otto Binswanger, whom he succeeded as Professor of Psychiatry in 1915, invited Schultz to Jena.
Schultz was deeply influenced by the pioneering research of Professor Oscar Vogt (1870-1959), a psychiatrist and neuro-physiologist who had dedicated his life to psychosomatic medicine, or what he called the ‘Mind-Body problem’. In his research, Vogt had noted that patients practising simple verbal exercises to induce hypnosis reported a state of well-being. Complaints such as headache, fatigue and anxiety tended to disappear. In addition, many patients reported feelings of heaviness and agreeable sensations of warmth.
Schultz had systematically pursued the question of whether patients could achieve a similar state without hypnosis, by simply directing attention to sensations of heaviness and warmth in the limbs. He found that they could, under certain circumstances, by using passive concentration combined with simple verbal formulae that implied heaviness and warmth. Schultz published his early research findings on what he called Autogenic Organ Exercises in 1912.
In 1924 Schultz moved to Berlin and was in close contact with Vogt, who was conducting his research at the Neuro-Biological Institute for Brain Research. Schultz continued his research, as well as practising as a psychiatrist and undergoing his own Training Analysis. In 1932, Schultz published the first edition of Autogenic Therapy, which detailed the clinical application of the six Standard Autogenic Formulae, which still form the core of AT today.