How to select a ‘CBT-I Provider’

Summary

Many people with different specialties - even computer programs - provide Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). It's not easy to find the right provider and to prevent wasting time, money, and effort on the wrong one.

This CBT-I Directory offers a growing number of profiles of therapists who list themselves as CBT-I providers. As well, we suggest videos (developed by specialists) that actually show CBT-I best practices and explain the basics about Insomnia so that you're armed with the necessary knowledge to make your best treatment choices.

(1) Know the basics

Understand the basics about sleep, insomnia, medications and behavior therapy. The below 2 videos, interviews with sleep specialists associated with the University of California, can provide you the foundation you need to feel knowledgeable enough to seek treatment.

 

 

(2) Know what CBT-I should look like

This video, produced CBT-I specialists, realistically explains (and shows) the most essential parts of what to expect in CBT-I treatment.

 

 

(3) What to ask a CBT-I Provider

Now that you’re more familiar with the basics about sleep problems and possible treatments, you’re ready to look for help. If you don’t want to try using self help first (like trying a CBT-I App), your next step is to find a CBT-I provider.

A very small group of providers are ‘board certified’ in behavioral sleep medicine. They have ‘CBSM’ after their names. However, there are many excellent CBT-I providers who are not certified. In addition, if you select someone who is undergoing formal CBT-I training – and they record your sessions – you will have the added benefit of getting help from their supervisor as well.

Here are suggested questions to ask (before the initial consult) when selecting a CBT-I provider:

  1. How much formal CBT-I training do you have?  (The best training involves having supervised cases, using audio or videotaped sessions. More commonly, providers get continuing education credits, measured in hours. Generally, more hours are better. Three to six hours is quite low; 30+ hours is best.)
  2. How many patients have you used CBT-I with?  (roughly 5 – 10+ complete cases)
  3. Will you be able to inform me if I may need treatment for other sleep related problems (like Circadian problems, Sleep Apnea, or Restless Legs)?  (Yes)
  4. About how many sessions will this take?  (about 4 – 7)
  5. Will we use sleep diaries, sleep restriction, stimulus control, cognitive restructuring?  (Yes, depending on the nature of your particular insomnia issues.)

 

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