What is sophrology?
The aim of sophrology is to reinforce the mind and body harmony and to help us in becoming fully present and conscious in our life by strengthening the balance between our emotions, our thoughts and our behaviour.
Sophrology combines breathing techniques, simple and conscious movements, positive visualization and meditation. Created in the 1960’s by neuropsychiatrist Prof. Alfonso Caycedo, the method is based on various relaxation techniques (Schultz’s autogenous training, Vittoz method, Jacobson’s progressive relaxation…) Eastern practices (Zen, yoga and meditation) and phenomenology as a philosophical approach.
Nowadays sophrology is widely used in France, Belgium and Switzerland, in schools, hospitals, companies and private practices. More recently it has expanded into English speaking countries as well.
How does a sophrology session unfold?
One-to-one sophrology sessions typically last approximately 60 minutes. The method was designed to blend into everyday life, therefore there’s no need of a specific clothing or any props.
To begin the session is a time of exchange and dialogue, to take stock together, define your goals and introduce the technique that will be used. During the first session this moment takes usually a bit longer so that you can present your background and explain what you expect from the sessions.
Then, guided by the sophrologist, sitting or standing, you learn how to relax your entire body. From that state of consciousness, specific techniques are chosen to address your specific needs. They can include positive visualisations, breathing techniques and/or gentle movements.
Next, to conclude, is a time for you to express what happened during the session if you wish to do so, and to be given tips about what to do and how to train by yourself until the next one.
What can I expect with regular practice?
Consisting of simple physical and mental exercises, it can (and should!) be practised regularly, ideally on a daily basis. Sophrology can be done anytime, anywhere, in sessions as short at 10 minutes or for as long as one hour, according to your daily availability. The more you practice, the more efficient sophrology becomes.
The immediate effects are usually a relaxed body and a calm, alert mind. With time most clients feel they experience less anxiety, less stress, more restful sleep, improved concentration, fewer worries, increased self-confidence, and a feeling of deep inner happiness.
Apart from general well-being and self-development, sophrology is known to be very helpful with:
- Stress related symptoms: sleep troubles, back pain, digestive problems, mood swings…
- Preparing for events: exams, interviews, sports or stage performance, childbirth, surgery…
- Anxiety and phobia: emotional and physical reactions management, reducing the frequency and intensity of crisis and attacks…
- Children: helping them to manage anxiety, lack of concentration, and improving confidence and motivation.
- Major life changes: dealing with stress and emotions related to grief, relationship breakup, career changes, expatriation, becoming a parent…