Sophrology, this therapeutic approach that saves the mind

Used in the treatment of depression, burnout, stress management, smoking cessation or sleep disorders, sophrology is a very popular personalized relaxation technique. We tested a session, we told you everything.

Increasingly considered as an alternative "medicine" and better reimbursed by mutuals, sophrology is a therapeutic approach resulting from personal development that focuses on individual consciousness, taking into account the history of each. Inspired by oriental disciplines such as yoga, this technique of relaxation and letting go is today used in the treatment of obesity, depression, addiction, stress management, smoking cessation, burnout , sleep disorders or tinnitus.

I tested a session via Skype with Soizick Fonteneau, sophrologist in the Paris region. "This type of remote session allows people who work or who do not have the time to come to my office to take a moment of relaxation during the day," she says. "Those who have a closed office sometimes even reserve 45 minutes of their work day sophrology", to empty, relax and refocus. The benefits for the company are many since by emptying their minds and evacuating their stress, employees have better productivity.

In their report "on the determination, measurement and monitoring of psychosocial risks at work", handed over in 2008 to the former health minister Xavier Bertrand, the magistrate Philippe Nasse and the psychiatrist Patrick Légeron recommend including sophrology to help employees to "more effectively manage the demands and constraints of work by improving their coping strategies to stressors or by increasing their stress-resistance by relieving the symptoms associated with stress".

An imaginary journey far from everything

The particularity of sophrology is the adaptability to the personal history, personality and goals of the person. At the beginning of the session, Soizick Fonteneau asks me questions: job, food, family situation, development at work, fitness, health, fitness ... The sophrologist identifies my needs and then invites me to close my eyes. Sitting comfortably, the back straight, feet anchored in the ground, I let myself be carried. After five minutes of deep breathing, I focus on every part of my body that she invites me to relax. The forehead, the eyelids, the cheeks, the neck, the shoulders, the back ... then to the toes.

Concentrated on his voice, I land in the imagination in a nice place, the one of my choice. "With this body a little more relaxed, you will let come to you the image of a place that you appreciate, a place in which you feel calm and in peace, in peace, a place which exists or which you invent" . During this "trip", I do not think of anything else, I disconnect. "You will wear your intention on all the colors around you, which is beautiful, pleasant, which makes you feel good". I see, I touch, I feel and during that time, I forget the time that passes, my imperatives, my responsibilities and everything that conditions my daily life.

"There are hundreds of techniques that adapt to each profile"

Soizick Fonteneau's voice is reassuring, his tone relaxing, his words positive. It is when people are in this state of consciousness and letting go, that the sophrologist begins cleaning. "To treat sleep disorders, for example, I invite the person to visualize a restful night by thinking of an ideal day that takes place from wake up to bed, step by step, so that falling asleep is a moment of calm, well-being, appeasement, not a moment of anguish ". And smoking serf? "We have about a dozen techniques for that, it all depends on people," she says, "for example, they reinstall the pleasure of breathing in their homes, projecting them into a moment without breathing problems. signal 'for the moments when they will be taken from a desire to smoke'.

To treat weight gain, "I start by having them accept their body, then invite them to discover the notion of tasting, rather than engulfing.We also do a job on the senses, the taste. to travel inside their belly to see what the food is causing (good or bad) ". But all this is done gradually, over the sessions. "There are hundreds of techniques that adapt to each profile".

In children, the sophrologist most often deals with relationship problems with parents, or siblings so that he finds his place in the family circle. But sophrology can also cure the stress and the anxiety in the child, even the traumatisms. "I use stories, I invite them to visualize a unicorn for example, to feel it, to touch it, then to climb on it, I make them fly in the sky, where they must blow to chase the clouds and arrive in a beautiful imaginary world full of flowers, that they will touch, smell, contemplate ". The details are important, they allow the person to project themselves.

Dynamic relaxation

In simple appearance, letting go, giving up and disconnecting from reality, even for a few minutes, can be difficult for some people. "There are some who are struggling to close their eyes, so we start with our eyes open, others do not yet manage to relax completely so I opt for dynamic relaxation", that is to say standing, in light movements. "Many people have a hard time focusing on their bodies," she adds, "in sophrology, the body diagram is important, you have to go to the conquest of the body to go to that of your mind. visualize, you touch it, it is not necessarily easy to start, the visualization is not very simple, so we go gradually ".

There is no judgment, sophrology respects the sufferings and blockages of each. "We are not in the analysis". Unlike psychology, which invites patients to focus on their problems and to talk about them, sophrology focuses on solutions, on the positive side. As if to distract the person from his problem, she presents him with a new perception. "In the child, letting go is easier because he does not have any mental conditioning yet". Some teens are more modest, intimidated, but end up playing the game to get rid of their anxieties, "often related to their future". However, sophrology can not replace current medical treatments, only accompany them. To specify it is essential.

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