History of Sophrology

Sophrology has been described as a science of the human consciousness.  Created in 1960, by Professor Alfonso Caycedo, a neuro-psychiatrist from Colombia, to develop and improve physical and mental health, without the use of medication. It was initially created to help war veterans suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, to reach optimal health and happiness with no use of drugs. He termed the name Sophrology from the Greek words SOS, PHREN, LOGOS meaning the study of harmony and consciousness.  

Dr. Raymond Abrezol introduced Sophrology into sport. He was asked to train, in secret, four of the Swiss national skiers taking part in the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France. Three of the athletes ended up on the podium with Olympic medals and only then revealed their Sophrology training to the world press. This is the moment when Sophrology really took its place as a useful tool for everyone to to be able to use. It was introduced to schools too as a method to help students manage exam and study stress. French doctors today still recommend Sophrology as a first method to use before going to see a psychiatrist or take medication for stress-related matters. Swiss oncologists recommend cancer patients to do a course prior to doing any chemo or radiation therapies so that the body can respond in the best positive manner for treatment as well as recovery.  If the body is physically holding stress it is not in it's most relaxed state for healing. Sophrology helps to overcome this mental as well as physical stress.

Professor Alfonso Caycedo (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Professor Alfonso Caycedo (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

The creator of Sophrology

Professor Caycedo worked with the famous phenomenologist and founder of existential psychology, Professor Ludwig Binswanger, at the renowned Bellevue Clinic In Kreuzlingen, Switzerland and a group of top scientists representing psychology, neuroscience, hypnosis, philosophy, and phenomenological psychiatry.  He became familiar with the method of 'investigation of the consciousness' proposed by the Godfather of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl and the studies of philosopher Martin Heidegger. He studied consciousness and the different related existential possibilities. He discovered during his research that the East had practiced consciousness for centuries so he studied techniques such as Yoga Zazen, which is the heart of Zen Buddhist practice (the aim to sit, opening the land of thought), and Tummo, which is a meditation practice of intense sensations that allows one to reach different states of consciousness.


The International Sophrology Federation (ISF)

The International Sophrology Federation (ISF), is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the Sophrology profession throughout the world, setting high professional standards and building a network of English-speaking certified sophrologists.


ISF Logo

The ISF has compiled a list so that you can find a certified English speaking sophrologist near you. The ISF website is linked below.