Sleep counsellor training

Sleep counsellor training is a course aimed at professionals who work with children and young people with additional support needs. Such professionals include social workers, doctors, health visitors, psychologists, teachers and specialist nurses.

After completion of the training, professionals will be able to establish and run a sleep counselling service. Sleep Scotland expects professionals to commit to a minimum of 2.5 hours per fortnight to providing a sleep counselling service.

Training course objectives

During this training course we will deliver the following:

  • Give participants a comprehensive knowledge of sleep processes and the psychology and physiology of sleep
  • Give participants a good understanding of the range of problems children with additional support needs may experience
  • Introduce participants to applying cognitive and behavioural principles and techniques in order to manage the sleep problems of children and young people with additional support needs
  • Explain and demonstrate how to set up and run a sleep counselling service

Expected outcomes

At the end of the course, participants will be able to do the following:

  • Apply cognitive and behavioural principles to managing sleep problems in children with additional support needs
  • Set up a sleep counselling service in conjunction with Sleep Scotland to help families with children with additional support needs
  • Provide a sleep counselling service for which we would expect a commitment of 2.5 hours fortnightly

Two-tier training

We believe that the two-tier model is the best way of providing a sleep service. With this model a small number of the team will attend Sleep Counsellor Training and will provide intensive sleep counselling to families of children with additional support needs and complex sleep problems. These sleep counsellors will be supplemented by a larger number of sleep support workers who have attended Sleep Awareness Training. The sleep support workers will provide sleep interventions to families of mainstream children or those with less complex sleep problems with the support of the fully-trained sleep counsellors. In this way all families will be able to access the level of support they require.

The two-tier model can be implemented through commissioned training or, on a smaller scale, through individuals attending our open Sleep Counsellor and Sleep Awareness courses..

Further Information

View a sample programme of the Sleep Counsellor Training.

Please note, the following information is a sample programme and may vary to the exact structure to that used during the course.

Day 1

  • Initial clinic discussion
  • A parent’s perspective process
  • Factors affecting families with children with additional support needs
  • Psychological approaches to sleep problems
  • How the attachment process relates to sleep

Day 2

  • What is sleep? Sleep patterns and processes
  • An introduction to the sleep disorders of childhood
  • Sleep problems in children with physical and sensory disabilities
  • Sleep problems in children with learning disabilities

Day 3

  • Epilepsy and sleep
  • ADHD
  • Enuresis as a sleep disorder
  • Sleep-disordered breathing in children
  • The use of medication in sleep management

Day 4

  • Autism and sleep
  • Devising sleep programmes, strategies and stages
  • A cognitive counselling approach
  • Taking a sleep history: assessment questionnaire observation of video consultation
  • Clinic pack

Day 5

  • A sleep counsellor’s perspective — what is involved in being a sleep counsellor
  • Case workshops
  • Case discussion, evaluation and conclusion

You can also visit our Trainers page for a list of the experts who present these courses.

Course fees

The cost of attending a course is £790 for delegates working within Scotland and £990 for delegates working within the remainder of the UK. The difference in cost is due to statutory funding received for delegates working in Scotland.

Commissioning local training

As with all Sleep Scotland training, Sleep Counsellor Training is available for commission. This is suitable for any team in Health, Education, Social Work or the Voluntary Sector who wish to train between 14 and 24 members of staff. This will be the most cost-effective way of training a number of people and we would encourage you to invite other teams in your locality, where appropriate, to share the cost.

For more information, or to request a costing, please contact us at or on 0131 651 1392.

Future courses

Visit our Upcoming training dates page



To apply for a course, please complete the application form on the upcoming training dates. If no dates are suitable, contact our Training team to be added to our mailing list.