What is sophrology?

Please note: while sophrology can be used to great effect in support of medical treatment (a recent study in Switzerland showed a reduction of 30% in medication-taking while practising sophrology regularly), it is not a cure, and does not replace medical consultation, diagnosis and treatment where required or recommended.  I also recommend that you advise your doctor that you are having sophrology sessions.

Please always follow your GP's advice.

Also: the benefits of sophrology are cumulative with practice and repetition, so the more you put into it, the better the outcomes are likely to be.

The science of consciousness in harmony

In 1950s' Madrid, a Colombian-born neuropsychiatrist, Professor Alfonso Caycedo, was treating traumatised soldiers returning from the war.  He wanted to develop ways of peacefully restoring the minds and bodies of these men to wellbeing, and he began to research methods that were as gentle and powerful as possible.  His search led him across the world to explore practices that for centuries have promoted healthful, balanced living in body and mind. 

From yoga, Tibetan Buddhist meditation and mindfulness, Japanese Zen, hypnosis, phenomenology, relaxation, and modern psychology and neurology, he extracted the essence of what he felt made them transformational and blended his findings into a practical, secular method he called "sophrology" - a Greek word meaning "the science of consciousness in harmony".  

For two decades, sophrology was only delivered by doctors in hospitals, but it soon spread throughout Europe and is now widely used in schools, prisons, hospices, workplaces, health centres, and many other settings.  If you went to your doctor in France, for example, with any number of physical or mental ill-health symptoms, sophrology would likely be a key part of their recommended programme of care alongside any drug treatment you might need.  

For more details of sophrology sessions with me, including my "WELLBEING IN THE TIME OF COVID" online package, please click on the button.

So how does it work?

Sophrology - or "Dynamic Relaxation" - uses the mind-body connection to strengthen, balance, harmonise and build resilience.  It combines gentle movements with breathing, visualisation, relaxation and meditation to build joy and wellbeing back into your life.  

It is not a talking therapy - you will not be required to analyse or dive deep into the whys.  Rather it is a practical therapy that is tailored precisely to your needs and that you can take at just the right pace for you. 

It operates under three main principles:

  • It is accessible to everyone, in any state of health and any circumstances - you can practise it in a hospital bed, on a crowded tube train or on a mountainside (the picture above shows my sister-in-law and I practising on the beach);
  • It relies on no belief system - you do not have to be spiritual or religous (but if you are, that's fine too);
  • It does not take much time to practise in daily life - it is easy to use.

What is possible with sophrology?


What happens in a sophrology session?

Well, essentially we paddle together and I give you tools to cope with the waves of life!

A session can be experienced in a group or individually (either in person or online).  You don't have to wear anything special or bring anything with you

Sophrology can be done seated, standing or even lying down, usually with eyes closed - but you can keep them open if you want to.  There are no 'rights' or 'wrongs', so you cannot get anything wrong.  I will encourage you to feel totally in control of of your own experience, and you will be able to choose whether to do an exercise or not.    

In a group, we will practise together on a specific theme - say, confidence-building, or relaxation; and I will teach you simple techniques to use in your daily life. 

In an individual session, we will first discuss what's going on for you and what you would like to work on, and then I will guide you through a series of exercises.  If in person, I don't touch you at all - I just use my voice to guide you, and we explore the exercises together.  Afterwards we talk through how it was for you and how you felt.  

Then to support you in between sessions, I will give you exercises to practise in daily living (a few minutes a day - nothing too time-consuming) and an audio recording of our session.  Over the course of our sessions we gently work on allowing the innate wisdom of the body and mind to work together to increase your wellbeing.

Please click the button below to get in touch if you would like to know more.  I am very much looking forward to meeting you!

Is it suitable for everyone?

  • It is not suitable for those with psychotic disorders
  • It is not suitable for those with epilepsy or other conditions involving fits or loss of consciousness
  • It is not suitable for those under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Would you like to read more?

I kept a blog while I was studying, exploring sophrology and its benefits in more depth.  If you are interested to read more, please see the blog.