What is Sophrology?
Many people ask if Sophrology is like mindfulness. There are similarities in that it begins with shifting focus from the mind stream to the body. Sophrology however, goes further and engages a scientifically structured regime of positivity training that slowly and subtly changes the consciousness to a more harmonious way of being.
Whilst the mind can project itself from the present into the past or the future, the body is always in the present.
To enact change in the mind, a deep and authentic connection to the body is the first priority of the practice.
By connecting to the breath and the 5 senses, Sophrology enables us to visualise with a vividness that convinces the mind that the experience, whether invented or re-lived, is really happening. In this way, we are able to build positivity into the neural pathways.
In time, we develop an awareness of what we are prioritising in our thoughts, we can then make a conscious choice about whether we wish to continue in the same vein or make changes. The daily exercises give us the tools to do this.
Sophrology is a journey of self-awareness which gives us the power to choose what we think about and therefore, what we manifest in our lives.
The practice of Sophrology is not a substitute for conventional medicine but a complement.
Illness or injury should be attended to by an appropriate health care professional.
Sophrology has 3 ‘Cycles’, the 2nd and 3rd make up the ‘Master Sophrology Courses’ (Levels 5-12).
The First Cycle is most commonly undertaken and covers Levels 1-4.
1 engages the present – connecting the mind and body
2 is focussed on the future – engendering confidence in positive outcomes ahead
3 works with the past – de-sensitising negative memories and reinforcing positive ones
4 unites the three previous levels, combining and compounding the outcomes of those before
Levels 1-4 each take 8 weeks to complete, with a break in between so that the First Cycle generally takes about 20 months in all.
There is no obligation to complete more than one level, but many people find they want to continue with the journey after Level 1.
Small classes run weekly for about an hour, depending on how many are in the group.
Experiences from the prior week’s exercise are shared, any theory discussed, then the exercise runs for 15-20 minutes.
A short debrief ends the session and a recording of the exercise is emailed to participants so that they might repeat it daily until the following session.
The more often the exercises are repeated throughout the week, the more positive changes will be experienced.
A typical exercise goes for about 15 minutes and starts with breath and body awareness, a tension release and gentle physical activation gestures. The middle section is a visualisation directed toward a specific purpose, then a few minutes are spent writing down the sensations experienced, in order to consolidate them in the mind.
Individually-tailored short courses to address a specific issue (an up-coming stressful event for example), can be delivered as one-to-one sessions.
Sophrology is well-respected and widely used for stress management and self-development throughout Continental Europe.
It is applied in education, corporate and social environments throughout France, Switzerland, Belgium and Spain and 90% of the top sports people in Switzerland work with a sophrologist. Many Swiss hospitals use Sophrology to prepare patients for surgical interventions, EMR scans and stress-free childbirth and it is also one of the top methods for pre and post-natal care in Japan, Korea and France.
There are many Sophrology schools, federations and associations throughout French-speaking countries where the method has been practised for decades. It is now recognized in the UK and United States and the International Sophrology Federation promotes awareness of the practice and provides evidence of its effectiveness in increasing health, wellbeing and performance. It also maintains the integrity of the method as it expands around the world and encourages the ongoing professional development of its members.
In Switzerland, Sophrology is reimbursed by the Swiss National Insurance as it has been proven that people who practise Sophrology regularly, reduce their medication intake by 30%.
The word ‘Sophrology’ is derived from the Greek:
‘Sos’ which means harmony, ‘phren’ meaning consciousness and ‘logos’ meaning ‘study of’.
The literal translation: The Study of Harmonising the Consciousness.
The practice is a blend of Western and Eastern mental health techniques, created in Spain by neuropsychiatrist, Professor Alfonso Caycedo in 1960. Seeking alternatives to drugs and shock therapy, he travelled in the East, studying Yoga, Zen and Buddhism, searching for core practices to add to his own that would speedily and effectively produce positive results.
For many years, the work was taught mostly in French-speaking countries but is now becoming more broadly known in the English-speaking world.
Sophro-ki® Sophrology was created by Dorna Revie, Master Sophrologist, who studied for many years with Professor Caycedo.
This version of Sophrology incorporates Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Cognitive Psychology and Energy Medicine.