Sophrology uses a number of techniques to help subjects attain a state of deep relaxation. In this state the mind is able to control and alter physical processes, with verbal expression - also called terpnos logos - acting as the intermediary between the two.
States of consciousness
We'll be taking a close look at one of the techniques used to induce this special state a little further on.
The main difference between sophrology and hypnosis lies in the relationship between therapist and subject. In sophrology, subjects play an active role in attaining the proper mental state by relaxing, both mentally and physically. They are then taught how to regulate their own organic functions, and correct imbalances. In classical hypnosis, on the other hand, subjects are completely passive. The hypnotist does all the work, first by relaxing a subject, and then by substituting his or her own thoughts for those of the subject through suggestion.
We could draw a comparison to teaching methods: hypnosis resembles the classical approach of instruction, which relies heavily on forced memorization and repetition, while sophrology is more akin to the modern approach of learning through participation and free inquiry.
The area designated by dotted lines corresponds to superior levels of awareness attained by skilled practitioners of yoga. States:
Pathological awareness Ordinary awareness Sophrological awareness
Qualitative changes Quantitative changes Example of sophronization
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Hypnosis is a capital instrument for relaxation and alleviating stress. It helps calm down both the brain and body, giving a useful rest. All the same it can be rather costly to hire a clinical hypnotherapist, and we might not always want one around when we would like to destress.