I have many insomniac clients, many of them by phone. I often make recordings for them in our sessions, so that they have access to the material special to them.

This next case shows just how important it is to gather very detailed data, rather than applying an “across the board” approach:

Emma was in the grip of M.E. and had been told by her GP that she would not progress until she managed to establish a regular sleep pattern. She had no energy, found the slight tasks exhausting and couldn’t sleep. He wanted to put her on sleeping pills, but she was most resistant and said she would seek alternative help first. That’s when I first saw her.

The usual very detailed data gathering and pattern construction revealed that she was someone very used to getting things done. A manic list maker and achiever, it transpired that it seemed very much like she had also put “going to sleep” on her list. This was tested, and found to be true, and from her initial demeanour of sadness and fatigue, her face had transformed as she started to laugh at the realisation of the strange truth of it. After that one session, during which she reported having experienced a wonderful relaxing trance, enjoying the new behaviour choices she was receiving, she slept through the night and kept awake during the day. Some weeks later, she asked me to move her sleep pattern by 25 minutes in line with going back to work.