Samantha Langer has Anxiety Disorder but instead of letting anxiety rule her life, she has found a way to understand her anxiety more and take control over it. Samantha found us through a simple Google search and after her first visit to the BeSophro clinic, it was clear that she was meant to find us. Thank you, Samantha, for taking the time to speak with me.
D: How did you first find out about Sophrology?
S: I first heard about Sophrology 3-4 years ago when I was referred by a psychologist for my anxiety and hypochondria. I was then re-introduced to Sophrology again recently when I was close to burning out in January and was having heart palpitations and my hypochondria was heightened. It was really interesting that my cardiologists referred me to a Sophrologist instead of a psychologist to help me control and manage my anxiety.
D: What were you hoping Sophrology could help you with?
S: When I first heard about Sophrology I didn’t know what it was but when I started to read about it, I understood more and hoped the unique technique which focusses on the mind and body connection would help me to control and manage my anxiety.
I can go for long periods of time without any symptoms but when I do it is powerful to have a tool like Sophrology that I can rely on to help me manage that anxiety immediately and on my own without needing to rely on an external practitioner. It is also really helpful for me to know I have someone to talk to who understands what anxiety is and can put my feelings into words, like Sophie did during the Sophrology session. When we talked about anxiety, she really explained to me how the body reacts and why the body reacts which really really helped me so that when it happens, I understand that anxiety is normal, and I am not the only one who suffers from it.
D: How did you discover BeSophro?
S: Last January I was close to burning out and had really bad anxiety, panic attacks and insomnia – it was too much for me to handle. I hadn’t suffered with symptoms for a few months and needed to know what was going on as I thought it was all behind me. I now understand the symptoms happen if there are changes in my life, if I’m going through a stressful period, or I’m under a lot of pressure or just because I have anxiety disorder. I thought of Sophrology because I thought I didn’t need a psychologist, I just needed someone to help me to calm down when things spiral out of control. I just googled that I was looking for a French Sophrologist and found BeSophro!
The moment I booked an appointment I felt so reassured by the fact that I could see somebody, and I was really lucky because of a cancellation I was able to see Sophie the next day. The clinic was near my house and really good value, it’s more expensive than in France because we can refund it via our health insurance, but I didn’t really care about the money I just needed something to help me get through this and I needed to express myself in my mother tongue and it really helped me.
D: What attracted you to the practice of Sophrology?
S: I love the fact that it’s so natural. During the practice the focus is completely on the body and how the body is reacting as opposed to having to think and express my thoughts and feelings as I would in a psychology session or a session with a therapist. For me this method just feels really direct and immediate. When I had my first session with Sophie we didn’t have to talk about my childhood or my past I just expressed what I was feeling in the present moment and she understood my needs. I needed to calm down, relax and find a way to manage my anxiety and to help me sleep better again. In my experience when you are suffering from a panic attack you have an immediate need to have some kind of help to control it. For me seeing a sophrologist has been more effective than seeing a psychologist because talk therapy can take a long time to have a breakthrough whereas I saw results immediately after my first Sophrology session.
I know that when I come out of my Sophrology session, I will feel happy, relaxed and most importantly I know that I can get help and I have the tools to control my anxiety which is deeply empowering. I know that if I’m under pressure and I feel I am about to have another anxiety phase or another panic attack I can book a session and feel confident it is going to make me feel better about myself.
D: How long have you practised Sophrology for?
S: I’ve practised for a few years now but if I’m honest I don’t practise on a daily basis. I’m really bad at doing that because I always have a lot of things to do but during lockdown, I really tried to practise at least 3 or 4 times a week especially before going to bed because I really struggled to go to sleep during lockdown. I try to do a session online or use the recording I have with Sophie. I booked a session with Sophie recently before my final exam and it really helped me to talk with her, we had a long session and I felt so much better after it.
D: Do you think Sophrology has helped you and how?
S: It has helped me so so much. I can’t explain how much but it really improved the way I see my anxiety disorder. I know I have it and I’m not ashamed of saying it. I’m not scared anymore. A few years ago, I was really a hypochondriac but nowadays I feel much more in control and understand that the worst thing that can happen is for mind to run away with itself, but I have a toolkit to help me with that.
The worst thing about anxiety is the feeling that we can’t control how our mind and body react, so we are always scared about losing control. Just to know that I have a simple practice I can use to calm my mind and body whenever I need it and be in a peaceful and quiet moment just feels so good – it has changed my life!
I know I should force myself to practice more regularly and to have at least one session per month and not wait until it goes bad again.
D: What are the sensations you experience during a Sophrology session?
S: I really like the reassurance I get from the session. I don’t know anybody else who suffers with anxiety and when you have anxiety, the worst thing, apart from feeling that your mind and body are out of control, is to feel that you are the only one who has it. So, it feels really good to talk to someone who understands my feelings.
I love the feeling after a session when I am really calm, relaxed, feel understood, and know that I have that control over my body again. After a session I recognise that I love my body and I take care of myself and now everything is going to be ok.
D: What is your favourite exercise in Sophrology?
S: I don’t have a favourite exercise. I know that I love the body scan because it always makes me want to fall asleep which is quite something as I struggle to fall to sleep, so if I feel like that in the middle of the day then it must mean I am really very relaxed! I also like the breathing exercises combined with gentle stretching, tensing and relaxing as well as the positive visualisation around a happy place.
D: Anything else you want to share?
S: If I was relying on hypnosis or psychology, I would be dependent on someone else externally and every time I needed to manage my anxiety, I would feel the need to go to a session which would add to my anxiety if I wasn’t able to see someone exactly when I needed. Sophrology is different, the more Sophrology sessions I have the more I feel that I am able to manage and control my anxiety myself, I am not dependent on anyone else and I can do exactly what my mind and body need to regain a state of balance. This sense of independence helps to make me feel more in control too which is very empowering.
Sophrology gives me the reassurance I need, I know it helps me each time I practise, and I have complete confidence in it. For me I like the fact that during the session Sophie just asks me how I am and how my mind and body feel today, it doesn’t go deeper into feelings or having to talk about my past instead we stay in the present during the session. This is what I really like because sometimes you don’t need to dig too much to find an effective solution.
Suffering with anxiety can feel very lonely and it is not something that every therapist I have seen in the past really ‘gets’ especially when I layer in the effects of my hypochondria. For me it was such a breakthrough to meet with someone who completely understood the impact of anxiety on the body, for them to say ok just so you know when you have these thoughts your body is going to go into fight or flight mode and this response is completely normal. Once you understand this you can then start to look at solutions to control it. This was such a relief for me to hear, what I wasn’t looking for was for someone to say this is because of what happened in your past without offering solutions to manage it. I want to have solutions; I want to be able to live with anxiety and I want to try to overcome it. I feel I can do this with my Sophrology tool kit – the practice really has been life-changing for me.
Try Sophrology out for yourself with our online course, Relax, Reset and Overcome Stress.
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