I have been working in the cognitive-behavioral therapy field for 25 years now, doing psychotherapy or supervision or teaching, so my approach is always first to get good data about the nature of a client's problems as well as their strengths. This helps me understand the most relevant patterns of thought and behavior that we need to examine and possibly modify.
This often involves uncovering various cognitive, behavioral, or contextual life patterns that the client may be unaware of that are (oops!) keeping the insomnia going or, even more ironically, making it worse. With the client as partner we then explore alternatives that are more likely to get clients that better sleep that they'd like.
Strongly encouraging clients to notice things about themselves without judging themselves, I often use humor and metaphor to help clients better understand themselves and where they might want to make changes. I explain why I'm doing or asking certain things, so that the process of therapy is never a mystery to clients. I also encourage clients to give me feedback as we go along so we can make sure we're addressing well the questions, concerns, and issues you may have.
In many cases where clients are having difficulties sleeping due to anxiety, depression, and/or bad dreams, I've also helped them address those issues more successfully.
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