- What is Sophrology?
- How does it work?
- Who created Sophrology?
- What are the principles of Sophrology?
- Where does it come from?
- What can I expect from an individual session?
- What can I expect from a group session?
- Regular practice?
- What should I wear
- Can I eat/drink during a Sophrology session?
- Can I use my phone/ smoke during a session?
- What if I have a disability?
- What about medication?
- Can I keep my eyes open during a session?
- Can I sit for part of the session?
- Do I need to share my experiences?
- Do I need to practise Sophrology in between sessions?
- How many sessions do I need to attend?
- What is the difference between Sophrology and Yoga?
- What is the difference between Sophrology and Mindfulness?
- What is the difference between Sophrology and Counselling?
- What is the difference between Sophrology and Hypnosis?
- Is Sophrology based on a spiritual practice?
- Where is Sophrology currently being used?
What is Sophrology?
SOS means harmony, PHREN means consciousness, LOGOS means study or science. In essence, Sophrology is the study of consciousness in harmony. In practice it is a set of practical physical and mental techniques which aims to create an alert mind in a relaxed body. It uses simple and easy to use techniques that you can apply to everyday life. These are deep breathing, concentration, easy movement postures and visualisations.
How does it work?
This is a holistic practice. By relaxing the body, you relax the mind. You begin with a body scan which focuses on the whole body. Starting from your head you move down, systematically, to the feet. You become aware of the different parts of your body as tension is released and relaxation is gained.
In order for different techniques to have a greater impact, the mind needs to quieten down. A state of consciousness between being awake and asleep but alert needs to be attained. When the “mind chatter” has been reduced or is not there at all, it allows you to get in touch with your deeper, wiser intuitive mind.
Who created Sophrology?
Sophrology was created by Dr Caycedo, a Columbian neuro psychiatrist in 1960. He wanted to create an alternative treatment to drugs and surgery, to help his patients who were experiencing trauma, depression or anxiety.
What are the principles of Sophrology:
A) Positive Action
Sophrology is about focusing on the positive in our lives, however small, large, insignificant or poignant that is. This can by focusing on our past, present or future to help us to move forward. We cannot eliminate the negative elements in our lives but we can bring in the positive elements to create a more balanced life.
B) Objective Reality
Phenomenology has had a great impact on Sophrology. This looks at the conscious experience of the phenomena, from a subjective or personal point of view. The techniques used in Sophrology ask us to look at things “for the first time,” through the eyes of a child. That means letting go of the influence of your culture, your parents, your peers and education. Letting go of what you trained to do in terms of your profession and your values and beliefs. Experiencing the phenomena is the key to this.
C) Body Consciousness
This is about being fully aware of what your body can or can’t do. You can do this by experiencing the sensations, boundaries and volume of your own body. It is about getting to know yourself again, not just in your mind but also in your body. Feeling fully alive in the here and now and building that connection and awareness between your mind and body.
Where does it come from?
Dr Caycedo was very interested in the varying states and levels of human consciousness. He became interested in clinical hypnosis, phenomenology and western relaxation techniques. For example Jacobson’s progressive relaxation and Schulz’s autogenic training. He was also inspired by eastern techniques such as Tibetan Buddhist meditation, Japanese Zen and Yoga. Dr Caycedo created Sophrology as he was inspired by western and eastern techniques. But left out the philosophy and spiritual/religious frameworks of both eastern and western approaches .
What can I expect when I come to an individual session?
You can expect a relaxing and comfortable environment to work in and a warm smile from me. On your first session, I ask you a series of questions. Such as getting a picture of who you are and what you would like to work on. Also,what your needs/goals are. I then create a specific programme to help you work on your goals/needs. We then do a series of sessions that involve some easy movement postures, breathing techniques and visualisations.
As a participant, you may be asked to either sit or stand for a short while. With your eyes closed, you remain quiet and silent during the session. I guide you using my voice and you listening to my instructions, through a series of techniques. At the end of each session you will be asked to share what you have experienced. You can either do this by talking, writing or drawing. This is to help you consolidate and remember what you have experienced and develop an awareness of yourself. The number of sessions may vary from person to person depending on what they want to achieve and/or explore.
What can I expect when I come to a group session?
You can expect between 8 – 12 people to attend working in a comfortable, relaxed environment and a warm friendly smile from me as usual. As you will be part of a group, you will not need to complete an initial consultation in the first session. The sessions will run over a period of time for example 6 sessions, once a week. These group sessions will have a theme for example, body consciousness. We will be working on this theme together, throughout the sessions. As with 1:1 sessions, they will involve some easy movement postures, breathing techniques and visualisations.
As a participant, you may be asked to either sit or stand for a short while. With your eyes closed, you remain quiet and silent during the session. I then guide you using my voice and you listening to my instructions, through a series of techniques. At the end of each session you will be asked to share what you have experienced. You can either do this by talking, writing or drawing. This will help you consolidate and remember what you have experienced and develop an awareness of yourself.
Sophrology needs to be practiced regularly for the benefits to be established in the mind and body. Regular practice and repetition is the key for Sophrology to work. That means committing time to do the techniques outside of the sessions with the Sophrologist.
What should I wear?
Sophrology can be used anywhere whether at home or at work. Or out in a green landscape somewhere. Wear what you wear when you are at home, work or in a green landscape. You will discover what feels comfortable for you.
Can I eat/drink during a Sophrology session?
For Sophrology to work well, it would be helpful to leave 30 minutes between eating and the start of the session. It is probably best not to have a full stomach immediately before the session starts. Due to the nature of the session, it would not be helpful, to eat during the session. You may find that this can interrupt your concentration on what you are doing and experiencing. It can also disturb other people if you are attending a group session.
Can I use my phone/ smoke during a session?
Whether you are in a 1:1 or a group session, turning your mobile off and refraining from smoking is important. It can be distracting and disrupting for you and others. It can stop you from experiencing the techniques profoundly Also, any other distractions need to be avoided or stopped. Such as family members coming into the session or pets waiting outside while the group is in session.
What if I have a disability?
If you have mobility issues, this should not stop you from attending a session. If you need to sit or are a wheelchair user, you can adapt the techniques to meet your needs.
If you have sight or hearing issues, you can sit either directly in front of me or to the side of me so that you can see or hear me more clearly.
Any form of disability should not impede you from attending any Sophrology session with me.
What about medication?
Sophrology can help you along your healing path. It is not a substitute for prescribed medication if this has been recommended by your doctor.
Can I keep my eyes open during a session?
Some people find that they need to keep their eyes open for various reasons. This is not an issue. You may find however that Sophrology works better when you have your eyes closed. You can focus on yourself more and are not watching or being distracted by the people and things around you during the session.
Can I sit for part of the session?
During a Sophrology session there will be times when you stand and other times when you sit down. If you find that you need to sit before the “sitting part” of the session, sit down. Some people from my experience regularly sit down and stand up as and when they need to.
Do I need to share my experiences?
At the end of each session, you will be asked to share your experiences, how you do this is up to you. Some people like to share verbally and others like to write. Some may like to draw what they have experienced. Do what feels comfortable for you. This part of the session is important. It helps you to discover yourself through what you have learned and experienced from the techniques in each session.
Do I need to practise Sophrology in between sessions?
As a participant, you will find that in order to really gain the benefits of the Sophrology session quickly, you need to practice the techniques daily. Particularly if you have a specific need/goal that you want to deal with. From my experience anything that you do in life whether it is learning to drive a car, learning to paint or do a marathon run, you need to practise and repeat the techniques to gain the benefits. In order to change the nature of how you do things, you need to work at it.
How many sessions do I need to attend?
This depends on what the need/goal you want to deal with. But in general, you may do a series of up to 6 sessions for 1:1 sessions. Up to 12 sessions for group sessions. At the 6th session we will review how you are doing. This will be in terms of what you have consolidated or what further changes may need to be put into practice, or not. Like with most things in life, it can take time to alter habits, integrate new ways of doing things and establish what you are doing. The intention of Sophrology is to use it as a tool that can help you throughout your life.
What is the difference between Sophrology and Yoga?
Many of the practical and breathing techniques of Sophrology find their roots in meditation and yoga. However Sophrology is not based on a spiritual framework and does not require you to adopt yoga postures. The easy movement postures and other techniques in Sophrology can be done anywhere, at home or work and can be adapted to where you are, in your environment.
What is the difference between Sophrology and Mindfulness?
There are similarities between Sophrology and Mindfulness such as being in the present, the here and now without any judgement and having no expectations. Sophrology uses these principles to create a relaxed body as well as an alert mind.
Sophrology is also about releasing tensions. Building up and installing positive qualities while you are in this state. This maybe through breathing techniques, easy movement postures and visualisations.
What is the difference between Sophrology and Counselling?
Sophrology does not need to analyse the in depth history of different aspects of your life from session to session.
During the Sophrology session, you will be listening to my voice and doing various techniques. Your eyes will be shut and you will remain quiet and silent. At the end of the session, you will be asked to share what you have experienced from the session. This does not require you to give information regarding your medical, family, social or work history. Only what you have experienced during the session.
What is the difference between Sophrology and Hypnosis?
Sophrology does allow a person to reach a deep relaxed state in a very conscious and alert way. This state is called the sophro – liminal state, a state between being awake and asleep. While you are in this state, you are being quiet and silent, listening to the voice of the Sophrologist. You are also moving your body from standing to sitting or vice versa. You need to be fully conscious and alert to do this and in control of what you do. During this process you will release tensions and build up and install positive qualities while you are in this state.
Is Sophrology based on a spiritual practice?
Sophrology is not based on a spiritual framework. It is not based on a religion or spiritual practice. Sophrology can be accessed by all people, of all ages, from all walks of life and spiritual practises.
Where is Sophrology currently being used?
Sophrology is used in France, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland. It can be used to help people in many areas of their life, such as:
- Physical and mental health – anxiety, panic attacks, depression, phobias, addictions, pain management, palliative care, obstetrics – pre-natal, sleep disorders, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, repetitive strain injuries, burn out issues.
- Sports – self-confidence, performance, energy levels, concentration/focus, nerves, technical difficulties.
- Education – exam preparation, memory, attention span, anxiety, motivation.
- Arts – stage fright, creativity, performance, memory, self-expression, self- confidence.
- Corporate – stress management, self-confidence, managing change, interpersonal skills, preparing for events such as interviews, public speaking, presentations and performance issues.