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Section 11
Track #11 - Using the ‘Drifting Downward’ Technique to help Induce Sleep

Question 11 | Answer Booklet | Table of Contents | Sleep Disorders CEU Courses
Counselor CEUs, Psychologist CEs, Social Worker CEUs, MFT CEUs

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On the last track we discussed treating narcolepsy.  We discussed methods for decreasing narcoleptic occurrences, tips for those who live with a narcoleptic, and sleep inertia.Float Along Technique Behavioral Interventions for Night Terrors mft CEU course  

On this track we will discuss four mental imagery techniques.  Four mental imagery techniques that we will discuss are the ‘Float Along,’ ‘Drifting Downward.’ ‘Count Down to Relaxation,’ and the ‘On Vacation’ techniques.  As you listen to this track, consider your sleep disorder client.  Whether he or she is suffering from insomnia, hyper-somnia, another primary sleep disorder, or even a secondary sleep disorder, how could your client benefit from one of these techniques?  Would playing part or all of this track in your next session be helpful?

Share on Facebook Mental Imagery
First, let’s discuss mental imagery.  Several mental imagery techniques can be used to help induce sleep.  Do you currently have a mental imagery technique that you have found to be effective?   Ben, who suffered from hyper-somnia benefited from mental imagery.  As Ben and I discussed his sleep problems it became apparent that his feelings of sleepiness throughout the day were a result of his lack of sleep at night. 

Ben didn’t have insomnia, but rather prevented himself from going to sleep because he said, "Sleep is boring and I want to do other stuff."  I found that Ben disliked lying in bed with nothing to do and therefore waited until late at night or early in the morning to go to bed.  Because Ben was so preoccupied, I used several mental imagery techniques with him. 

4 Mental Imagery Techniques

Share on Facebook Technique #1: The ‘Float Along’ Technique
First, Ben tried the ‘Float Along’ technique.  Ben would lie in bed and imagine a scene in which he was floating, surrounded and supported by a soft surface.  Ben visualized feeling himself lying on a billowy cloud with warm breezes all around.  Your client may prefer to imagine drifting in a gentle sea.  However, Ben later stated, "This is hard.  I keep imagining myself floating along, but then I think of something that distracts me."  Would you agree that Ben required more work regarding relaxation, perhaps through breathing exercises? 

Share on Facebook Technique #2: The ‘Drifting Downward’ Technique
Next, Ben tried the ‘Drifting Downward’ technique.  In the ‘Drifting Downward’ technique, Ben again used deep breathing to relax.  Next Ben imagined himself walking slowly down a staircase.  Ben stated, "I like to imagine the stairs covered with real soft, plush carpet.  That way it’s more relaxing.  When I reach the bottom, I imagine a dark room with lots of soft couches and pillows.  I lie down and start slowly sinking into the couch."  Your client may prefer the image of an escalator or an elevator.  Perhaps your sleep disorder client may want to add a second downward conveyance. 

Share on Facebook Technique #3: The ‘Count Down to Relaxation’ Technique
Mariah, age 46, was another sleep disorder client of mine.  Mariah used the ‘Count Down to Relaxation’ technique.  First Mariah began to count down slowly from one hundred.  Mariah stated, "I try to picture each number as I count down.  Each time I count down I imagine the preceding number slowly floating away."  How might your sleep disorder benefit from changing the ‘Count Down to Relaxation’ technique?

Share on Facebook Technique #4:  The ‘On Vacation’ Technique
At a later session, Mariah stated, "At first counting down was helping me get to sleep.  But now, it doesn’t seem to be working for me."  Have you treated a sleep disorder client who has gotten so used to a mental imagery technique that he or she no longer benefits from it?  I suggested Mariah try the ‘On Vacation’ technique. 

For this technique Mariah imagined her ideal vacation She visualized packing, boarding a plane, take-off and each subsequent detail of the vacation.  Mariah stated, "I’m usually asleep before I get to the really good stuff!"  What other mental imagery techniques do you use with your sleep disorder clients?  Would it be helpful to play this track in one of your sessions?

On this track we discussed four mental imagery techniques.  Four mental imagery techniques that we will discuss are the ‘Float Along,’ ‘Drifting Downward.’ ‘Count Down to Relaxation,’ and the ‘On Vacation’ techniques. 

On the next track we will discuss behavioral interventions for breathing related sleep disorders.  There are several types of breathing related sleep disorders for which exist a limited number of treatment options.

What are four mental imagery techniques for sleep disorders? To select and enter your answer go to Answer Booklet.

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