Hello, my name is Dominique Antiglio and I am a sophrologist and author. Before I start, I am aware you may never have heard of Sophrology before so let me briefly explain. Sophrology is a simple and guided practice for mind and body based on breathing, relaxation, visualisation and movement. The aim of the practice is to allow us to tap into our inner resources (things like confidence, strength, calm, patience or self love) to better deal with a situation, reach a goal or heal from a traumatic experience.
Over the years I have supported many clients to rebuild their lives after stressful or traumatic episodes using the mind body connection. I strongly believe that we all have the ability to connect to a place of healing inside us and with the right tools and guidance we can cultivate and access a state of calm and balance, transform our beliefs and build towards a positive future.
Those who have lived through traumatic times may suffer from flashbacks, insomnia, nightmares, anxiety, irritability, high levels of stress and depression. They often feel they have lost their sense of control over their mind and body. This is where a technique such as Sophrology, alongside other therapeutic/medical treatment, can offer comfort and a sense of release from pent up emotions, breaking the pattern of anxious thoughts and feelings. Some find they can just about cope with daily life through strategies such as avoiding certain places or certain triggers that block or upset them. This, however, is an alteration in their cognition, which means the way they experience life is different, from seeing everything in a negative light and becoming withdrawn to feeling overwhelmed by negative emotions.
Sophrology is a technique that helps us to know ourselves better and to understand who we are and what resources we have within us. It can be very beneficial with post-traumatic stress issues. In Continental Europe it’s an extremely popular practice that is even reimbursed by Swiss insurance, it’s used alongside medication, psychiatric and psychotherapy work to help people who have been going through trauma.
Sophrology which stands for “the science of consciousness in harmony” is now gaining in popularity in the UK and has been widely acclaimed by the media and quoted as “the new mindfulness” by the Guardian and “the key to unlocking your mind’s potential” by The Independent. It was created in 1960 by Professor Alfonso Caycedo, a neuropsychiatrist in Spain. Sophrology studies consciousness and uses simple mind/body relaxation practices to create a positive state of consciousness by balancing and activating mind, body, emotions and behaviour. Back in the 60’s Professor Caycedo saw the limitations of psychiatric treatment and he really wanted to dive deeper into how Eastern philosophies and practices such as yoga and meditation combined with Western approaches like relaxation and hypnosis to come up with a unique method to bring about healing of the mind and create a new way of being.
How Sophrology works
We all have amazing resilience and an ability to feel more positive and we can learn or re-learn to tap into it. Sophrology teaches us to accept and create space for what we feel, and to journey towards another way of feeling, behaving and connecting. This does not happen overnight but it can be achieved through regular practice: it’s a journey based on relaxation, breathing, movement and visualisation.
Psychological approaches tend to address issues through the mind; Sophrology encourages us to connect to the body and use body sensations to feed back positive feelings to the mind. It’s different from teaching people to relax or imposing a specific technique; the body becomes the portal to bring a sense of balance and well-being. The Sophrologist works with clients by listening closely to what they are going through and building a set of tools that are tailored to develop their resources.
Each individual is unique and Sophrology gives him/her the tools to transform themselves at their own pace or simply to better cope with their present state.
The aspects we look at in Sophrology are:
Some people may experience a sense of disconnection from their body, whether they have experienced trauma or not. Sophrology will help them to positively reconnect with their body supporting the mind to recognise positive sensations again. It will help them recognise all the hyper vigilance symptoms that they have and how they can manage their hyper vigilance through breathing, movement and body awareness to feel more in control. The body slowly becomes a safe anchor for their experience of life.
Working on the mind aspect is about learning to re-establish a positive relationship with the mind. When you recognise tensions and have many negative beliefs and irrational thoughts, you can choose to detach from these negative beliefs or thoughts and cultivate a moment of calm to live more in the here and now. It’s about feeling more in control again, observing the current situation without judgement and being gentle with yourself. You are no longer driven by your thoughts.
After experiencing trauma the difficult memories and shock often blocks our ability to experience positive emotions like joy or serenity. Through practising Sophrology, you are experiencing a small moment of peace or calm and over time, with repetition, other pleasant states will emerge from listening to your body as you move, visualising a happy image or relaxing through the breath. It’s like you are rewiring your emotional map.
People who have been through traumatic experiences can be or feel hostage to their past. The past is the past and can’t be changed but we can work on our direct relationship with our past so that it no longer weighs so heavily within us. Through the simple tools of Sophrology and looking for other happier stories from our past we can build a sense of hope for the future, gain more freedom and feel more in control again. Over time this will help you feel that you are in the driving seat of your life again.
Sophrology helps people to cultivate their purpose and their values. Through the practice we reconnect to who we are and what we would like to do with our lives, to find meaning again.
When you have been through difficult times you can become the object of your past and your trauma. The shift that Sophrology allows in you is for to become the subject again, learning to take control of your emotions, of your body, of your mind and of your life, and create a fulfilling existence. Being in the driving seat of your life and accessing a sense of choice is such a relief for so many through the practice of Sophrology. You can then start to rebuild your life knowing you have a set of tools you can lean on anytime, anywhere.
If you would like to learn more about Sophrology please connect to us on firstname.lastname@example.org , via our website www.be-sophro.com , Instagram or Facebook. Or alternatively through my book “The Life-changing Power of Sophrology” which includes downloadable audio exercises so you can start practising straight away!