Ever wondered what happens during a one-to-one sophrology session? (or just: “u-ejja, what’s this all about?”) Read on, you will find a lot of answers in the article below.
A first consultation with a sophrologist is an important moment when the clients explain their reasons for coming and describe their symptoms of feeling unwell or “burdened” or “pressured”. This particular consultation is also called an “anamnesis” and involves the development of a process of trust between client and sophrologist. In Sophrology this trust is called an “alliance” and is created during the course of the dialogue between sophrologist and client. Although the word alliance may be reminiscent of terms such as “rapport” or “transfer” used in other approaches to health, in Sophrology “alliance” is strictly one to one, on the conscious level as opposed to the subconscious level, type of communication.
By creating an “alliance” with the clients, the sophrologist listens rather than advocates and does not have authority over them. Both client and sophrologist are equals in the anamnesis and will be so in the following sessions too. The sophrologist merely listens and guides.
The sophrologist is not allowed to give a diagnosis and therefore will not ask the same questions as a GP or a psychologist would. The sophrologist’s work consists of accompanying the clients to improve their wellbeing, to provide them with extra tools on their path towards recovery without delving into past history or experiences.
If clients are new to sophrology, they will receive explanations and general information on how it works, what is involved in the sessions and how to use it their in daily lives. Typically, clients may suffer from stress and anxiety at work or because of exams coming up, or because of minor or major changes in their personal life or the life of their relatives or the work place. Sleeping problems may be a consequence, relationships and communication may be flawed leading to misunderstandings, or there might be a feeling of inadequacy or lack of focus on work and general tiredness. At a deeper level, which the client is not necessarily aware of at first, there may be a need to improve general confidence and self esteem. The sophrologist will assist the client in a way that does not interact with or replace any medical treatment. Practising within these boundaries, the sophrologist can safely work in the fields of birth preparation and pain management for cancer patients as well as mental preparation for sports, dealing with phobias, post traumatic stress, weight loss and major resistance to change.
The sophrologist will typically ask questions such as :
- How does this particular situation make you feel?
- How long have you experienced that feeling?
- What happens when you have these symptoms (in your body, in your mind)?
- How often and when in the day?
- But also and importantly about the positives in your life, about what makes you tick, what you like to do in your spare time…
The sophrologist is not looking for the cause of any symptoms in order to eliminate them, but is seeking some general ideas about how clients can improve their current state. Following the initial session, and according to the wishes of the client, the sophrologist will offer a programme of sessions deemed most appropriate to the nature of the condition or circumstances. The effectiveness of these sessions will be greatly enhanced by the client’s commitment to practice of the techniques on their own in their daily lives.
The initial session may last an hour or longer if needed because it is the most important session and allows the client to try and test some of the techniques. It may be shorter for children and teenagers. Generally the consultation time can be divided into three parts: the dialogue between sophrologist and client, the explanation of sophrology techniques and experiencing them, and lastly, the exchange following the experience. Each consultation is specific to the client in question and following sessions are tailor-made to best suit their unique individual situation.