CBT-I

About Allison

As a mother of two young children, Allison Briggs understands the value of sleep, and has firsthand experience with the effects that sleep habits have on children and their family. For more than a decade, Allison served the community as a child and family counsellor. Her training and certification in the Gentle Sleep Coaching Program under the supervision of the Sleep Lady (Kim West, LCSW-C), coupled with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Victoria, allowed Allison to make the successful transition into becoming a GentleSleep Coach.

Allison has been a sleep consultant since 2007. The Gentle Sleep Coach Program is the first and most extensive professional sleep coach training and certification available. The program involves over four months of training with a faculty panel that includes two medical doctors, a psychologist, an attorney, lactation counsellor, postpartum doulas and a family therapist. Each coach must pass an exam and participate in case supervision with Kim West, LCSW-C (a.k.a “The Sleep Lady”) who has been helping tired parents for over 17 years. Clinical supervision and ongoing advanced training are required to maintain certification as a Gentle Sleep Coach. Some of Allison’s training requirements have included:

• Child development
• Sleep science and behavioural modification techniques
• Secure Attachment Theory
• Supporting the breastfeeding mom

Allison has also attended lectures from top specialists:

• Postpartum Depression by Dr. Shoshana Bennett, author and leading specialist on Postpartum Depression
• Medical Conditions and Sleep Apnea in Children by Dr. Lewis Kass, Director of the Children’s Sleep Centre
• Sensory Processing Disorders and Sleep by Jodi Jennings, OTLR
• Pediatric Sleep by Dr. Anthony Loizides

Allison’s empathy for parents struggling with their child’s sleep issues comes in large part from her experience with her first child’s inability to sleep through the night and take restorative naps. Her exploration, treatment, and ultimate resolution of her child’s condition has made Allison a passionate, knowledgeable, and empathetic sleep coach.
Allison’s goal is simple — to help families thrive by empowering parents to teach their children how to attain and
maintain healthy sleep habits.

Allison lives with her family in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.

Philosophy

Many parents ask “Are you a cry-it-out proponent or family bed advocate? Do I have to stop breastfeeding to sleep coach my child, do I have to choose between two camps: cosleeping/no crying or crib/cry-it-out?”

You do not have to pick a camp; this isn’t about right or wrong. It’s about what is working for you and your family.

It is true that the CIO method and the starker extinction methods can work well and a bit faster than gentler methods IF you as the parent can follow through consistently and for long enough.

The Gentle Sleep Coach philosophy was developed by Kim West LCSW-C, The Sleep Lady® because she found so many parents had difficulty following through with a sleep coaching program that they feared will damage their child emotionally or filled them with so much guilt they couldn’t follow through.

The Gentle Sleep Coach approach is a gentler alternative for families who emotionally or philosophically resist letting their babies cry it out: for families who tried “Ferber” (controlled crying) and it didn’t work, and for families who let their baby cry-it-out earlier but now find it doesn’t help. It is also for families who believe in co-sleeping but find that their children aren’t really sleeping all that well, even nestled snugly with their parents. Or for families who did co-sleep for a few months to a few years and now want the family bed to revert back to the marital one.

Can you guarantee “no crying” you might ask? No, no one really can. For example, if you as the parent have taught your child that the way to fall asleep is to be held to sleep for all naps, bedtime and wakings and you decide that you want to change this; your child will naturally protest or resist this change. After all, they don’t know why you have changed your approach. If your child is pre-verbal then they will cry. My goal is to have as little crying as possible. I encourage parents to be loving and responsive but to allow the child the room to learn this vital life skill of putting themselves to sleep. The parent responds and stays with their child and offers physical and verbal reassurance without putting the child to sleep. This supports the development of a secure attachment between parent and child.

I will work with you to create an individualized, step-by-step sleep plan that will factor in your parenting philosophy, your child’s age, health and temperament, mother’s well-being and the related family dynamics. And most importantly I will support and coach you through the process from beginning to end – for night sleep and naps!

If you have any questions about the Gentle Sleep philosophy, please don’t hesitate to ask. I can be reached by email at
allison@sweet-dreams.ca or by telephone at 778-887-0999
Allison Briggs

Answers to a few other commonly asked questions:

– Breastfeeding is best and it is never necessary to end breastfeeding in order to successfully sleep coach your child.

– You can continue to room share while sleep coaching.

– I work with parents of children ages 6 months to 6 years old. Babies under 6 months I will consult with parents on how to set up healthy sleep habits from the start and if appropriate how to gently shape their sleep.

The art of putting yourself to sleep is a priceless gift you can give to your child and your entire family.

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