IMT – The Swedish model of Mental training


Unestahl started the Swedish model of Mental Training – IMT – Integrated Mental Training in 1969, after 10 years of research around Alternative States of Consciousness and Mind-Body-issues at Uppsala University (see research).

Elite Sport

During the 70´s he developed the practical training programs together with the Swedish National and Olympic Teams. At the Oympics in Montreal 1976 he was the only Sport Psychologist and Mental trainer in the Olympic Village. In the 70´s and 80´s Unestahl was invited to introduce the swedish model to many countries around the world (Australia, Brasil, Canada, China, Japan, Korea, USA and many countries in Europe) .

Mental training in Swedish schools

A number of studies started 1975 to investigate the effect of Mental Training in the school area from preschool- to high school – level. After 6 years of research with surprisingly good results, it became part of the national curriculum. This created also international attention and Unestahl was for instance invited as a visiting professor to Flinders University to introduce the Swedish model in 80 southaustralian schools.

Most areas of society

During the 1980´s the application areas of Mental Training were enlarged to most areas of society, Work, Business, Relations etc. (Over 50% of the 100 biggest Swedish International companies have used Mental Training in some form).

Another important area of application became the Health area, with programs – for behavior change like Smokefreeness, Weightcontrol, Sleepimprovement, – for emotional control like Phobias, Anxiety disorders and various stress reactions. IMT was also used as a complementary medical method in areas like cancer, Preparation for delivery, Preparation for – and posteffects of – surgery, Recovery after Sport injuries, etc. IMT was also shown to be effective in the treatment of tinnitus and chronic pain.

University subject

Mental Training became a university subject at Örebro university in the middle of the 80´s. The course with the ”nickname” PUMT (Personal development through Mental Training), became quickly the most popular course at the university with over 2.000 participants between 1987 and 1990. When Uneståhl started his private university 1990, PUMT together with the next course Personel-, Team- and Leadership-development through Mental Training became the most popular courses also at the SLH/SIU.

Up to 2010 these two courses have been given to many thousands of participants, however only in Swedish. A translation to English of PUMT was made during 2010 and to Spanish during 2011.

Mental Training for all ages

As training programs for personal development and Health has been available (for instance through swedish pharmacies) also for people who did not take courses, several hundred of thousands swedish people have come in contact with mental training from preschool programs to special programs for seniors.