The History of Sophrology
The Science of Consciousness in Harmony
This is the literal meaning of Sophrology… but how did the practice develop?
Professor Alfonso Caycedo was a Spanish psychiatrist and neurologist. He was born in 1932 in Columbia. Whilst at work, Caycedo noted the physical and mental stresses of daily life and sought a gentle practice to ease them – a method that would develop the harmony of body and mind.
Journey to Discovery
Of course, Alfonso Caycedo was not the first to recognise the importance of the body and mind connection.
Over two thousand years ago, Plato also commented on the ‘error’ of physicians separating the soul from the body!
Caycedo’s journey to discovery led him across the world to study and consider different approaches towards a therapeutic benefit.
- Caycedo worked with mentally ill patients in Madrid, and noted that their treatment was often violent.
- He realised that the medical world knew very little about consciousness awareness.
- He believed it was essential to understand more about this connection in order to develop new, kinder and more effective therapeutic processes.
- He studied the work of the psychotherapist, Johannes Heinrich Schultz, who devised a form of self-hypnosis called autogenic training, and also the philosopher Edmund Husserl, who founded the study of phenomenology.
Eastern Philosophy, Western Science
After meeting Professor Ludwig Binswanger, a leading Swiss psychiatrist, Caycedo travelled east to India. He studied how ancient yogic techniques accessed higher states of consciousness, and understood more about the power of breathing and body work to affect consciousness.
He met the Dalai Lama and learned about Tibetan Buddhism, and then went to Japan to study Zen meditation.
Returning to Spain, Professor Alfonso Caycedo developed the first levels of Sophrology practice, expanding and refining his method until the 1990s to become what it is today.
It spread first through the medical world, and then became a well-established method in France, Switzerland, Spain and Belgium.
Sophrology sessions have been reimbursed by Swiss and French health insurance companies for several decades, and well implanted in medical, professional sport, education and wellbeing sectors in Continental Europe.
Over 60 years ago, after years of global study and practical research, Sophrology as a modern, effective and popular therapy began.