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Del Morrill, M.S. C.C.H


A Center for Counseling & Hypnosis
Tacoma, Washington, USA
(253) 752-1506

Dealing with Insomnia

QUESTION: How do you deal with people who have insomnia, or keep waking up?  I’ve tried various suggestions with this one client who can’t get to sleep for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, and once she does she wakes up several times in the night.  So far we haven’t made much headway.


There seem to be almost as many reasons for insomnia as there are clients who come about the problem.  So Ithe first thing, if you haven't already done it, is to do an intake that gives some background – type of family of origin, sleeping patterns when young, any traumas experienced and when, surgeries or accidents, current disruptions, etc.

In working with these kind of clients, I would ask the deeper mind, the Wise One, unconscious, subconscious - whatever one wishes to call it, to seek out the imprints that are causing the sleep problems and to change them into something that is helpful to the persons as they are now, at this point in their journey. (My problem seeking/solution script is available in the Great Escapes books or as an individual script on my web site.)  Also, I would ask such clients if they remember other times in their lives when it was hard to sleep, and what was going on then.  Do they remember scary TV movies or stories told to them prior to bedtime?  Did they ever have anyone abusing them, or trying to abuse them, especially at night?

One of my clients remembered her nanny telling her a story of a great bird that would fly into children's rooms at night and take them away.  It wasn’t hard to figure out why the insomnia – Although wanting to sleep at a conscious level, the child self is afraid to go to sleep.  Therefore, a good way to handle this is to call forth the child of whatever age experienced such a drama, and encourage its awareness that they have now become an adult who wasn’t carried away, and no longer has to fear because of being bigger than the bird. I would follow this with suggestions concerning sleeping well and awakening refreshed.

This is also effective with those who have experienced sexual abuse, where entering the bedroom, getting into bed, or just trying to sleep triggers the memories.  It’s important to find out the age when this began, and to talk to that particular age-child, as if it were your client for the moment.  That child is stuck in time and doesn’t know time has changed and that she has become an adult.  She needs to be told this, and encouraged to understand that she is now safe and cared for by the adult self. (A script I wrote about this, especially for adults who had been physically, mentally or sexually abused, called “Freeing the Adult Child”, and can also be obtained on my web site’s store.)

In my office, at the end of the first visit, I give each client a recording I made called New Beginnings.  It is designed to assist the SC mind to be unafraid of making changes, and to help the client enjoy the experience of hypnosis.  It also allows them to let go of the past, and sets them up for success. The ending of it gives the listener the choice of coming fully alert or sliding into sleep, so it can be used either daytime or night. If I become aware that my client is having trouble with sleep, then I suggest they use it nightly when they're ready for bed.

 The side benefit, I'm finding, is that my clients who come with sleep problems, either as the presenting issue, or a separate problem, find that, even before we get to our first hypnosis session, they're going to sleep faster and sleeping better It's as if using the recording from the first visit until the next one is an act of re-training the patterns of the body-mind from not sleeping well into sleeping well.  I couldn't have a better "convincer" of hypnosis for these people, and by the time we have our first hypnosis session, it's a "piece of cake."

I would imagine that creating a recording of any type of general, positive suggestions would do just as well, although I'm still convinced that it's worthwhile to include suggestions that encourage the deeper mind to be willing to make changes, to “dump” the past, and the usual suggestions regarding peace, success, having a wonderful sleep and awakening refreshed.  This type of recording should be generic, and not related to any specific issue.





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