Get the FAQs! Welcome to SleepTalk Frequently Asked Questions page.
By reading these comprehensive questions that have been answered by SleepTalk® Founder, Joane Goulding, you will find a lot of information about SleepTalk® the Goulding Process, and best practice tips when you implement the SleepTalk® program with your children. Scroll down the screen, select a question to see the answer. To return to the top, look for the "Return to the Top" arrows in the bottom right corner of your screen.
1. What is the Goulding SleepTalk® Process?
The Goulding Process is an alternative and substance-free, self-help process for parents coping with a challenging child. Sometimes a lack of knowledge or support can cause parents to doubt their parenting abilities, feel misunderstood and go on a merry-go-round of endless professional consultations and dead ends. SleepTalk® For Children is a simple, ethical, non-intrusive process that parents can use in the safety and comfort of their own home while their child or children are asleep. It only takes parents a few moments to present – it’s been called ‘the two minute gift with changes that last a lifetime’ – and helps children to develop a positive and confident sense of self and greater emotional resilience. The child feels less anxious and better able to deal with their world. The Goulding Process creates changes in the child’s mindset and behaviour that are reflected in actual changes in the wiring and structure of the brain, a phenomenon that Dr. Norman Doidge calls ‘Neuroplasticity.
The Goulding Process is an alternative and substance-free, self-help process for parents coping with a challenging child. Sometimes a lack of knowledge or support can cause parents to doubt their parenting abilities, feel misunderstood and go on a merry-go-round of endless professional consultations and dead ends.
SleepTalk® For Children is a simple, ethical, non-intrusive process that parents can use in the safety and comfort of their own home while their child or children are asleep. It only takes parents a few moments to present – it’s been called ‘the two minute gift with changes that last a lifetime’ – and helps children to develop a positive and confident sense of self and greater emotional resilience. The child feels less anxious and better able to deal with their world. The Goulding Process creates changes in the child’s mindset and behaviour that are reflected in actual changes in the wiring and structure of the brain, a phenomenon that Dr. Norman Doidge calls ‘Neuroplasticity.
2. How did you come up with the SleepTalk® Process?
My personal story will answer this question! In 1966 my first born, Michelle, was everything I had ever wanted. She seemed well and gurgled happily like most babies do. When her sister arrived 13 months later, I started to realise that Michelle had not hit the milestones that her sister passed with ease, and she was becoming agitated, frustrated and angry about her limitations. She was learning from her younger sister's development rather than leading the way.
My heart skipped a beat the day it dawned on me that there was something wrong with my firstborn. My dear baby girl was increasingly upset and I didn't know what on earth to do about it. I was gripped with guilt and fear.
So that's where my journey started. I consulted professionals, doctors, psychologists and educationists. The overwhelming feedback was that there was something wrong with ME: I was not parenting her effectively. I was inflamed, outraged and stigmatised. I was doing my best, for goodness’ sake, but I was dismissed with little to no support.
I'll always remember what the doctors told me – one said there was nothing going on that good parenting couldn't fix; another doctor proclaimed that if she grew up to be functional, the best she could hope to achieve was to be a dishwasher and even then, she wouldn’t be much good at that. I was devastated by their comments and the disturbing ‘life sentence’ these doctors had imposed on Michelle. I knew in my gut that their assessments were wrong but I didn't know where to go for help. Young Michelle’s fine motor skills were clumsy and she lacked the ability to express herself clearly, so she remained angry, agitated, sad, aggressive, and very difficult to manage.
Sadly this all placed a lot of strain on my marriage as her father failed to cope with the demands of this little girl, and within five years we had separated. Now I had the complications of divorce, sole-parenting, and a challenging situation with Michelle's father, and was left to face this situation alone.
Michelle had been assigned to a new school and by a stroke of good fortune the local authorities had lost all the papers relating to her past so she was admitted to this school with a clean slate. There she underwent a new assessment by an independent educational psychologist, who concluded that my treasured baby had cerebral palsy, very likely caused by the birth process; and dyspraxia; was dyslexic; and had an emotional and intellectual IQ of around 45. I was exonerated, but it had cost me many years of heartache and agony and great financial strain as I’d spent a huge amount of money seeking answers to her problems.
When I met Jim Goulding, my second husband, he and I embarked on a journey of exploration together to try and work out how we could reach and help heal little Michelle’s battered heart and soul. I realised that no matter how much I loved her and how much Jim adopted her as his own, she was still left with this feeling of not quite belonging, of being inadequate, sad, lost, and annoyed at the world because of her disability.
Jim was a Clinical Hypnotherapist and his curiosity about how the unconscious mind worked was infectious. It was the mid to late 70s and together we explored the power of the unconscious and how the unconscious registers our experiences. We were fascinated by reports that patients under anaesthetic could recall the conversations their surgeons were having during surgery, a phenomenon that is still little understood or explored. And we started to understand that children absorbed everything they heard, regardless of their conscious beliefs – they had no way of defending themselves against stray comments or unintended slights. Their unconscious was registering everything that had ever happened.
The turning point in our understanding came when we were driving past an empty paddock one day with Michelle in the back of the car and as we did, she became very excited. We couldn't work out why she was so enthusiastic. It was an empty paddock, after all! Later that evening when we reflected on it, we realised that just a few weeks before there had been a big, bright and colourful circus on that same spot, and our intellectually challenged daughter had accessed a memory that had been stored in her unconscious at the moment that she saw the paddock, and had tried to talk about what she was remembering. Michelle’s speech was very limited but we realised that her unconscious knew more than we had recognised. And we were humbled.
So that was when I began to develop the Process – because I refused to believe that there was no help for Michelle and started to ask, “what if?” I rejected the negative suggestions of the professionals as I planned and investigated alternatives. I activated the oldest law of the mind “IF YOU CAN IMAGINE IT… YOU CAN BECOME IT.” The process we developed as a result was made possible because my need was so great, my determination was mighty, and I had wonderful help from two mentors.
One was Michelle’s stepfather, my late husband Jim, who believed passionately in the power of the mind and its creative mechanism. The other was Emile Coué, the author of a slim little book simply called How to Practise Suggestion and Autosuggestion.
The realisation that it might be possible for my dreams to come true was one of the most profound experiences of my life. Dreams and imagination are the first steps towards realisation of any outcome.
The procedure that we now call the Goulding SleepTalk® Process was so simple yet so dynamic that it changed our entire world. Yes, we made mistakes and sometimes became fearful of failure, but as we learned from the mistakes and refined the procedure, we were rewarded with a miracle.
3. When did you realise that the Process was helping your daughter?
It was one morning after we had used the Process for about 3 months. Michelle was coming downstairs for breakfast and I found myself anticipating another angry and disconnected outburst when she walked into the room. All the same, I asked her “How are you today, darling?” I will never forget what happened next.
She stopped walking towards me, cocked her head to one side, and, with a quizzical frown on her face, one word escaped her lips: “Happy?” She said it with just a touch of a question, as if she was trying to work something out. My heart sang. It was an emotional moment because this one word proved that all of our struggles had been worthwhile.
Michelle’s unconscious mind was processing the instructions we had been giving her in SleepTalk® that she was loved and “today is a happy day”.
It took several years of dead ends and false starts until we discovered the process that worked with Michelle, a process that would subsequently facilitate breakthroughs for many thousands of children with all kinds of mental, emotional or behavioural issues all over the world.
4. How is Michelle now?
I’m delighted to tell you the end result. Although Michelle still has an intellectual and emotional IQ of around 45 and still has to deal with the physical impairments of cerebral palsy and dyspraxia, she has been happily married since 1990, lives independently with her husband, travels independently and can cook you a mean breakfast as long as you like eggs – if not, you’re on your own!
Michelle now has the most precious gift I could ever give her: the belief that she is loved unconditionally, that she is lovable, that she can walk and talk, and that life is happy. Her deep unconscious default belief that she was inadequate and “faulty” was changed to: “I am OK”, and that is now the foundation of Michelle’s world.
5. Would all children benefit from this Process?
Most children have problems so my answer is yes. Some parents say, “But my child doesn’t have any problems”; however, children often don’t share their problems with others, especially not their parents. I know I didn’t share my problems with my parents and I think many children today are the same.
Also, one of the bonuses for a family in applying this Process is the education that the parents gain about the use of positive language. The down line ramifications that occur within a family unit can be quite profound as parents use more encouraging and constructive language and reduce the hurtful or negative comments they have been unconsciously making.
6. What are some of the worst things that parents sometimes say to their children?
Most parents I’ve talked to admit that sometimes they say things to their child that they don’t mean or later regret saying. According to American Psychotherapist Antonia Van Der Meer, a parent’s temporary loss of control may, unfortunately, mean permanent heartache for the child if nothing is done to correct that impression.
For example, when parents come home tired and irritable and discover their daughter or son has again left their books for homework at school, even the most understanding parent may find themselves blurting: “How can you be so stupid?” or “When are you going to learn to think?” When taking the children on holiday and all they do is fight with each other, even the most patient parent might ask aloud: “Why did I ever have children?”
Van der Meer suggests that all parents are bound to lose control occasionally – and lose sight of the fact that their words can make a child feel wounded, rejected or unloved. Whether menacing, negative or hostile statements are said intentionally or just slip out, the result is always the same: the parent feels temporarily relieved, perhaps, but real damage may be done to their little one’s self-esteem and to the bond of trust between them.
It’s important to recognise – and resist – saying hurtful things. Parents must learn to handle their own anger and frustration in order to teach a child how to behave. We have all made mistakes when communicating with our children. We need to learn from those mistakes, forgive ourselves, take the learning, leave the negative memory behind, and move on. It’s never too late to learn.
7. So SleepTalk® empowers parents to rectify those negative suggestions or situations?
Absolutely. From the moment of birth – and even before birth, professionals now believe – thoughts, feelings, reactions and memories are registered in the deep unconscious mind, and those memories, with the accompanying thoughts, feelings, emotions and reactions, will last for life. Suggestions are very powerful, especially when made to a child by someone in authority over them, so parents have a major role (and responsibility) in ensuring that their child develops a positive mindset during their early years.
8. What about a very young child – how early can you start SleepTalk®?
When does a child understand language? Very young children may understand a message by the tone of voice rather than the words. They will feel the love even if they do not understand the words. Even very small children can discern the difference between love and fear.
9. Does the unconscious mind of a foetus pick up on the mother’s emotions?
That depends on your personal philosophy as to whether or not you believe there’s a connection of minds prior to a child’s birth. I personally think that the SleepTalk® Process can be used with a child of a very young age. Evidence is now available that proves hearing is the first sense to develop in the womb.
10. Is SleepTalk® the same as hypnosis?
No. The only thing SleepTalk® and hypnosis have in common is that they both use suggestions. Hypnosis is conducted while the subject is awake and has a conscious memory of the process. SleepTalk® is conducted whilst the child is asleep with no conscious memory of the process.
11. Does SleepTalk® work for children who don’t have concerns or problems? What benefits would they gain, if any?
Absolutely. SleepTalk® is for all children. I would include absolutely everybody. The recipients of SleepTalk® do not necessarily have to have a problem. Five or six year old children may be happy and well-adjusted but are you absolutely assured that they are as positive and self-confident as they could be? That they are using their full potential? Just because children don’t share their concerns, does that mean they don’t have any? A belief that they are loved and their world is a happy place will ensure that everything they do is done with a sense of self-confidence and self-worth.
SleepTalk® is a guard against negative suggestions and stops the thieves of self esteem!
It enables children grow up with a positive, healthy self-image, without anxiety, and to utilise their individual talents as well. What a marvellous opportunity parents now have to assist their children to fully realise their potential.
12. My child is always happy, so how do I know if the Process is working?
You need to be very sensitive to the changes within your child. If your child is always happy then allow at least three months to ensure that the basic Process has been accepted before you start working on any Primary Area of Need. Subtle feedback will be available if you tune into it. The feedback may be increased calmness, less anxiety, more confidence or just a change of attitude. Watch your child! Observe! All children have issues; they just may not share these issues with their parents. Consider when you were growing up – did you share your thoughts and fears? It’s possible that even the happy child has hidden issues.
13. Is there any difference in the basic process when working with a “normal” child to that with working when a child who is intellectually, physically or emotionally impaired?
I’ve never met a “normal” child. All children experience conflict and all children have the potential for improvement, for creating empowering change. Remember, the difference between what is considered normal or abnormal behaviour is a matter of perception and belief, and is socially and culturally determined. “Normal” reflects what the majority consider to be acceptable behaviour or standards. These can change, such as the acceptance of smoking, which used to be widely accepted and practised and is now banned from public places.
A minimum of twelve weeks are needed to complete the basic SleepTalk® for a socalled “normal” child, though sometimes you can see a result within two or three days. However, when working with a physically or intellectually impaired child, you may be waiting as long as six months for positive feedback that the suggestions are being accepted. The child must in some way express a change of behaviour, indicating acceptance of the suggestions. Be attuned to your child – the changes may initially be very subtle and can manifest in a number of ways.
Feedback is important to establish whether or not the Foundation of new belief structures have “set” hard. You have poured the foundation for the house and have to wait for the “concrete foundation of belief” to be accepted before attempting to build on it. As with all things, it takes a little time to set. You will need to keep motivated to do the Process each night. If the child is physically, intellectually or emotionally impaired, it may take much longer than 12 weeks for change to occur, which is why you must work closely with your clients and keep them motivated.
14. There are some children who live very regimented orderly lives. Do they need SleepTalk® or is it mainly for children experiencing challenges?
Yes. Some children who relate well to their organised, structured lives have more difficulty adapting to a crisis or major changes than those from apparently dysfunctional environments. When children require everything to be structured they are sometimes unable to cope with unpredictability. Their parents may not be aware of their (unrealistic) expectations and perceptions of failure. With SleepTalk® we are able to give these children a foundation of security so that, regardless of the disruption to their routine or orderly timetable, they will cope with their world. They will find 8 that their parents’ or primary carers’ love is not conditional upon success or performance.
15. What sorts of positive results are being achieved with the Goulding SleepTalk® Process for issues dealing with education, stress and anxiety?
Some of the positive feedback we have received since 1974 has been posted on the home website. You’ll find case histories about children/families dealing with a wide range of behaviour disorders, including aggression, poor behaviour management, stress, fear, anxiety and trauma. SleepTalk® also assists families dealing with sibling rivalry and destructive communication patterns.
The Process is particularly helpful when dealing with issues around education and study, co-operation and concentration. Health issues also respond in a positive manner, such as asthma, bed-wetting, nail-biting and speech difficulties. Professor Ian E Brighthope, a very prominent expert based in Australia, believes that the Goulding SleepTalk® For Children Process should be adopted by all parents. He has described it as a sensible, practical and easy-to-follow method of communicating important messages to the unconscious mind. He considers it especially useful for effecting changes in children’s behaviour. He suggests that educators and health professionals consider SleepTalk® in the management of all disorders in which the mind plays a significant role.
The Process has been described as “the two minute gift with changes that lasts a life time”. Parents talk – children listen – creating happiness while they sleep.
SleepTalk® is a profound gift because it’s important for parents to realise that it’s not what we leave to our children that matters; it's what we leave within their minds.
16. What about asthma? Can SleepTalk® assist?
Asthma indicates and/or creates major anxiety, and sometimes even a fear of life or death. Asthma can be a physiological reaction to a psychological state of fear, and if so, the fear component of the asthma may have to be addressed and a referral made to an appropriate therapist. Simple suggestions such as those included in the Primary Area of Need may assist.
17. How would you describe the child who awakens very easily, has difficulty going to sleep, or is often awake throughout the night?
Very anxious. SleepTalk® should be able to help but it may be difficult the first week or so to actually access the deep unconscious mind. If you persist in your SleepTalk® Process the child will begin to relax. The anxiety will be reduced each time you use the SleepTalk® Process because you will be reinforcing a positive self-image and the belief that “it’s okay”. A quiet and anxiety-free state of mind will develop and gradually the child will become more and more able to accept the suggestions – and hopefully soon get a good night’s sleep! Remember, you can never eliminate a memory, but you can add to it, alter or change the “energy” of that memory. As you persist with a positive suggestion it will compound and eventually become more powerful than the original “I’m not okay” belief structure.
18. What areas of behaviour management can this Process assist children with? For example, can it assist Autism or the controversial Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)?
A. Yes indeed. The Autism spectrum is actually very wide because there are many variations in symptomatology; for example, some children experience difficulties with speech, some won’t look at you, some have temper tantrums… However Registered SleepTalk® Consultants around the world are indicating positive results with a wide range of behaviour disorders from health issues, learning issues, stress and anxiety, to Autism/the Autism Spectrum disorders. The labels “Asperger’s” and “Autism” seem to be very prevalent at the moment, and some of the case histories I’m receiving report major changes in the children’s social skills and behaviour, which is very rewarding. [Some of these results have been reported on the SleepTalk® website.] Another area that responds well to SleepTalk® is “an ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behaviour toward authority figures that goes beyond the bounds of normal childhood behaviour”. This type of behaviour is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as “Oppositional Defiant Disorder” (ODD), a diagnosis that is considered controversial by some professionals. (It’s important to remember that labels don’t necessarily reflect causes; often the labels given to children are descriptions of their behaviour, which is the effect rather than the cause.)
Common features of ODD include excessive, often persistent anger, frequent temper tantrums or angry outbursts, and disregard for authority. Children and adolescents with this disorder may appear very stubborn and often annoy others on purpose and blame others for their mistakes. Parents observe more rigid and defiant behaviours than in siblings. These ODD children may appear resentful of others and even take revenge when someone does something they don't like. In order for a child or adolescent to qualify for a diagnosis of ODD these behaviours must cause considerable distress for the family and/or interfere significantly with academic or social functioning.
We are delighted that SleepTalk® does appear to be able to assist with both of these “disorders”. Certainly the parents I’ve had the pleasure of working with have reported very positive changes in their children, and often for the entire family. Calmness replaces anger and frustration; co-operation replaces “Oppositional Defiance”.
19. What happens if children have a fear of someone?
A very difficult question but a very important one. Never say, “You will not be frightened of your teacher”. It may be appropriate for that child to be frightened or wary of a teacher or some other confronting person or situation in the future. With SleepTalk® it is not necessary to identify the possible cause behind a fear.
SleepTalk® is not a therapy but simply introduces and/or reinforces empowering beliefs. These beliefs will often enable the child to deal effectively with that cause.
Always be aware of what you are saying and how you are saying it because children take what they hear literally; jokes and subtlety are not always registered. If you are creating any Specific Suggestions in order to deal with a persistent Primary Area of Need, make sure they will apply “for all time”.
20. Can you work with multiple issues at the same time?
The first priority is to establish acceptance of the Foundation Statements and consolidate the feelings and belief of being loved and secure. Once you receive positive feedback that the Foundation Statements (which create the basic beliefs) have been accepted, then identify any ongoing “Primary Area of Need” and develop the Specific Suggestions for that issue, but only one at a time – don’t demand too much of the unconscious mind. However, if there is more than one really important area that needs addressing, the suggestion, “It’s okay – remaining calm” is a great way of covering a range of issues with one simple statement.
Initially it’s important to establish what the ‘Primary Area of Need’ is rather than giving energy or attention to the effect or presenting issues. Are they fearful of the weather? Perhaps they are fearful of going to school? Do they want to excel in maths or sport, perhaps? Determine the main issues, not the minor, such as not being able to do up their shoelaces or not keeping their bedroom tidy or not eating meals properly.
These are secondary issues that will change as they gradually develop their basic selfconfidence and self-image. Remember, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, “I’m not okay”, “life’s a bit suspect”, “I’m anxious”… these basic beliefs will change with the acceptance of the “I’m okay” structure from the basic SleepTalk® Process.
21. Is there a specific “Primary Area of Need” suggestion you would use if there were a general anxiety or conflict or concern about going to school?
Yes, there is. Concerns about going to school indicate a lack of confidence and a very anxious state of mind. Which statement you use depends on the individual child and circumstances. However it’s important to develop suggestions that address the possible CAUSE. For additional and specific information read the SleepTalk book (not the workbook) or watch the SleepTalk video program.
22. What happens if my child is fine except for nail-biting?
There are a number of issues needing to be addressed here. Is the nail-biting just a habit, a learned behaviour, or is it a symptom of anxiety? A detailed discussion might be required to establish the possible cause of the nail-biting. You need to be very careful not to remove the actual biting of the nail without at least becoming aware of the possible cause. Removing the effect of nail-biting without dealing with the cause may result in the child developing another symptom. However the basic concrete Foundation belief, “I’m okay, I’m loved, I can handle this”, will address the cause, whether it is anxiety, distress, a poor self-image or something else, and as a consequence, the reaction will be reduced. The nail-biting (or asthma as dealt with before), may have been there because they didn’t feel okay about themselves. Now they do, and as a result the attitude and mindset are changed but the nail-biting might remain if it has become a habit/learned behaviour pattern. In that case, the Specific Suggestion after the Foundation SleepTalk® Process will assist the child in changing that habit. It’s as simple as that.
23. If a child has a basic negative structure and a feeling of “I’m not okay, I can’t do something”, or “I’m not as good as someone else”, won’t the SleepTalk® Process create confusion?
Possibly yes, it might cause confusion; however, this confusion is desirable because it means that change is occurring. This type of healing crisis is called “abreaction” and it shouldn’t last too long. Maxwell Maltz, author of Psycho-Cybernetics, states that it takes up to 21 days for a new thought to be accepted by the unconscious mind.
SleepTalk® is very similar. Over a period of time, the new process of thinking starts to build against the “I’m not okay” idea.
The information accepted into the computer (the unconscious mind) will initially be stored as fact alongside the negative belief. So if we place the positive suggestion “I’m okay, Mummy loves me, Daddy loves me, it will be a happy day today,” alongside the negative “I’m not okay” in the child’s belief structure, and it is going straight in without conscious critical analysis, without negative analysis, without any alterations, then the belief structure within that child will start to change. Yes, the new suggestions may cause initial confusion but gradually the new ideas become the primary beliefs.
The “Top Hat” (conscious brain) is now put to one side during the Process and the positive suggestions lodged within the unconscious mind will naturally express themselves as positive thoughts into consciousness. Remember, when you press a button on a computer and it sends a message to the screen, it doesn’t matter whether it is true or not; the computer will still relay that message word for word. The process of acceptance into the unconscious mind is no different. With SleepTalk® we don’t deny a belief; we simply work alongside negative beliefs until the positive one has been accepted. Keep the positive suggestions going each night and you get a compounding effect. It’s like putting money into a bank. One dollar adds onto the next dollar and before long accumulates into something worthwhile, much like compound interest.
24. The SleepTalk® Process includes the phrase “Today is a happy day”. What happens if it is a bad day or a sad day for the child? Won’t that cause conflict?
No, not really. Whatever the events of the day, it is our response that matters. We can respond to an issue with frustration, anger or fear, or we can deal with it with discernment and calmness – it all depends on our individual state of mind.
SleepTalk® helps children to develop constructive attitudes and hence constructive ways of dealing with those issues. It allows them to have a positive self-image rather than a defeatist negative attitude. If you give a child the belief structure of confidence, calmness and a positive self-image, the child will be able to deal with issues of a negative nature from that positive self-image. Remember, there are basically only two energies in this world: we either deal with issues from fear energy or love energy.
25. You have said that it is not appropriate to use persuasion with SleepTalk®. Why not?
Using persuasive language such as “I love you because you were good today” may activate the conscious, critical, analytic function of the brain and cause the child to 12 conclude that he or she is only loved if s/he behaves in a particular way. This is conditional love, whereas SleepTalk® conveys unconditional love. Persuasion causes practical problems if, for example, you said, “you will be happy today because it is school holidays”. What happens when the child needs to go to school? Conflict and disharmony. You have created a situation and a belief that the child will only be happy if it is school holidays. [For more about Persuasion see the Note on the Criteria for Specific Suggestions pages.]
26. Does it matter if only one parent does SleepTalk®?
It’s better for both parents to be involved since children develop their sense of selfworth and self-acceptance from both parents/primary carers which creates a balance component within the child’s perception. However it is only slightly less effective if only one parent delivers the statement.
27. What happens if Dad or Mum feels uncomfortable working with the Process?
Mums tend to be more in favour or perhaps more comfortable with the Process, and some Dads tend to be reluctant, especially the older generation who may still hold the belief that males shouldn’t cry or show emotions. The ’70s-’80s and certainly the ’90s generations now accept that it’s okay for a guy to go to his son and give him a hug and kiss and say “I love you”, especially in most western societies; however, in some cultures or countries it is inappropriate to hug another male even if that male is a child.
Men also have feelings and experience vulnerability, although they will express their feelings differently to women and can sometimes take longer to overcome personal barriers to expressing love via the SleepTalk® Process. It’s important to remember that children receive their self-image from both parents, which is why we want both primary carers involved and alternating nights if possible. In sole parent families “We all love you” will cover any other imagined or missing carers.
The SleepTalk® Process allows for parents to share or display their feelings, thoughts and emotions in a safe environment without fear of rejection and without having to deal with limiting self-image, perceived difficulties relating to interpersonal relationships, or communication concerns.
28. Would you tell the child that you are practising SleepTalk®?
No, never. The conscious critical analysis would interfere and might negate your efforts. I would, however, encourage repetition of the basic suggestions during the day (waking hours) to reinforce the process. It’s one thing for Dad to say “I love you” or “Daddy loves you” whilst sitting on the end of the bed where no-one can hear or see, but it’s also very important during the day for the child to hear that message consciously, while awake. For some parents, expressing their feelings might not be quite so easy out in the big wide world. Parents who have interpersonal difficulties and expression or communication fears will probably find it easier to express their feelings secretly at night while conducting the SleepTalk® Process, and openly after some time.
29. What happens if more than one child is sleeping in the room?
This is not a problem because the SleepTalk® Process must, in fact, be conducted with both/all children. Remember, all children gain from utilising their full potential.
Is there any limit to the number of times it’s appropriate to tell someone you love them!
Children usually gain the most assistance if they are between the ages of about 18 months/two years to about 13-15 years of age although this depends on the individual child’s development, both emotional and intellectual. As a rule, by puberty it can be very difficult to get past the conscious critical analysis, which is very protective and well formed by the teen years. The younger child’s openness to the messages is determined only by the child’s ability to understand language; however, even if children don’t comprehend all the words being used, they will understand the feeling tone in the parent’s voice.
Positive suggestions prior to birth are also essential since children absorb what is being said around them even from within the womb. Read this comment from a parent who started SleepTalk® while she was pregnant.
30. Why do I have to whisper – will it wake them up?
Instead of whispering, speak softly. Whispering may cause the child to awaken and wonder what is occurring. There is always a level of awareness during the sleeping cycle – it’s called the Reticulating Activating System (R.A.S.) and it is always switched on, regardless of the brainwave frequency.
31. What happens if the child awakens whilst doing the basic SleepTalk®?
That is not a problem; just continue with the Process. Children might even sit up, the whites of their eyes may be looking at you or they may say to you in a sleepy voice, “Go away” or “What are you doing?” or “I love you Mum”. They may even agree with you, perhaps even nod their head as you work through the Process – don’t let that deter you. Just continue with the script; you are still accessing the deep unconscious area.
32. Does it matter if the radio or the TV is on while conducting SleepTalk®? Or perhaps people talking in another room?
Yes it does. It is very important that television, radio, conversation, or communication of any type is not occurring while you implement SleepTalk®.
Remember, you are accessing the deep unconscious area of the child’s mind, and any voices from radio, television, perhaps arguments or details of discussions within hearing, may be confused with the suggestions that you are making. These sounds constitute “interference”. In fact, it’s always important that your child does not fall asleep in front of a television or radio, and is not subjected to the violence of arguments or negative discussions and comments about them while they are asleep (or even awake for that matter!). It’s one of the most important factors to be aware of.
33. Should I repeat the script during the day?
34. Would you explain in more detail what you mean by “feedback”?
“Feedback” means “changes in behaviour or communication”.
After about four weeks of conducting basic SleepTalk®, determine the child’s acceptance of the suggestions by asking a direct question during the day such as, “How are you today?” Little Johnny might say “happy” or simply indicate by his behaviour that he is feeling more optimistic. His words and his behaviour together comprise what we call “feedback”.
For example, the child may come up and give you a sly little hug; you will observe changes in the way s/he speaks, acts, responds; your child may even be calmer, happier, less anxious or shy. Sometimes you can’t put your finger on it but she or he is different. This all classifies as feedback. Sometimes the changes are subtle, sometimes within as few as seven days a major change of emotional response or attitude occurs.
Remember, though, that there may initially be conflict within the child as the process of change occurs. Also note that children may thoroughly enjoy being unhappy because it’s giving them the attention they need, especially if they have difficulty showing emotions or accepting touch or hugs. If you persist each night with the Process you will gradually see a subtle change.
35. When there is a stepmother or stepfather, what happens to the basic script regarding the absent partner?
Since the child’s basic self-image comes from both parents it is important that the child is comfortable loving both parents without guilt. Children can sometimes feel or gain the impression that to love the parent who is not the primary carer is to be disloyal. If this issue is inappropriately dealt with (eg. if they are given an image of fear or hate from one parent, or they are subjected to negative comments about the other parent), the result is likely to be confusion and disharmony and even guilt and helplessness, which may, in turn, develop into aggression and anger. How can they love one parent without being disloyal to the other? This is why the Foundation Script acknowledges both parents equally and includes the phrase, “We all love you” – to cover all bases!
36. What happens if the non-custodial parent is restricted in terms of access? Doesn’t that cause conflict with SleepTalk®?
Initially it’s possible that confusion may occur but the Process itself will assist the child to manage the situation. It’s not SleepTalk® that is causing the conflict; the cause of the disharmony is the influences within the family home, such as the tone of voice used when speaking about the absent parent. It is very very important that children believe they are unconditionally loved by both parents, whether it is true or not, even if the other parent has died or established another family unit. The needs of the child are paramount, so even if there is great disharmony between the parents, the 15 “SleepTalk® parent” is urged to include the other parent in the Statement.
SleepTalk® is about reinforcing the sense of self-worth and self-confidence and a positive self-esteem of the child, the knowledge that “I AM UNCONDITIONALLY LOVED”, and since children develop their self-image from both parents, the SleepTalk® parent is urged to overcome his or her own biases for the sake of the child.
37. What happens if one parent doesn’t love the child? Aren’t you lying to the child?
Firstly, what right does one person have to assume that the ex-partner or absent partner doesn’t love that child?
What right has one parent to say to the child that the other parent doesn’t love them? Whether the other has left the family unit, died or run off with Joe or Joan, Bill or Mary… what right has the primary parent to tell their child that the other parent doesn’t love them?
On the contrary, I feel it would be more appropriate for the parent who has the custodianship of the child to reinforce the fact that of course the other parent loves the child, whether it is true or not.
The noncustodial parent may not be paying maintenance, may not be seeing the child, may even appear to be ignoring the child, may not acknowledge birthdays or Christmas, but that doesn’t automatically mean he or she doesn’t love the child.
However even if the parent has lost interest or doesn’t love the child, what is the benefit to the child of saying so? If children have the self-image of being loved by both parents and later on find out that, in fact, one parent didn’t love them, at least they will be able to deal with that information with a positive self-image. To me, that’s better than telling a child that he or she is not loved.
38. What about when the child is old enough to comprehend the death of one parent. Does that parent still get named?
Just because the parent has died, does that mean that the child needs to feel loss of the parent’s love? Of course not. It is most important that the child still believes and grows up with the knowledge of the love of that parent. Again we come back to the issue: it’s not important whether it is true or not; it’s not important what our personal beliefs are; it’s important that the child believes the parent still loves them.
39. You say the Process helps create emotional health. Would you share more about that?
Emotional health in childhood, in my opinion, is the key to future happiness.
Australian national paper, ‘The Observer’, reported that Lord Richard Layard, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics (LSE) and his colleagues at the Wellbeing Research Program at the LSE, conclude that a child’s emotional health is far more important to their satisfaction levels as an adult than other factors. He says: “Emotional health in childhood is the key to future happiness”.
The LSE study states: “Money, success and good grades are less important”. Society tells us that education is important; however, emotional intelligence and resilience are essential for our children. Babies in the womb are listening and feeling everything that the mother feels; the feelings and ideas they pick up on impact on healthy brain 16 and body development. How can we have peace in the world without having peaceful, happy children? A substance/drug-free process taking only two minutes a night can help not only the child but also the parents, who are the catalyst to ensure children develop a positive mindset, by educating patents to be more aware of the messages they are giving their children and to therefore communicate in more constructive ways.
The Goulding Process introduces an alternative substance-free ‘remedy’ that promotes behaviour modification and assists with communication and family dynamics. New behavioural strategies are developed by the child during sleep and without contraindications! SleepTalk® For Children takes advantage of the fact that “physiological change from a state of deep sleep to wakefulness is reversible and mediated by the Reticular Activating System (RAS)”. Research published in ‘Current Biology’ reveals “that complex stimuli can not only be processed while we sleep but that this information can be used to make decisions, similarly as when we’re awake.” * Quotes from an article published in The Conversation and The Washington Post, September 2014 from the research of Thomas Andrillon and Sid Kouider.
40. You spoke earlier about Dr. Norman Doidge’s work in the area of Neuroplasticity. Would you tell me more about that?
Neuroplasticity is a subject that greatly interests me.
I came across Dr. Norman Doidge’s book The Brain That Changes Itself in 2010. Dr. Doidge has a very impressive background: he is a Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst and Researcher on the faculty at the Columbia University Centre for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, which is based in New York, and he is also a member of the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychiatry. So he has quite an impressive background.
Last year when I read his book and considered his explanations, I gained a deeper understanding of what we had developed with SleepTalk®. He was talking about the incredible ability of the brain to adjust to challenges and literally “rewire” or redesign itself in order to function at its best. In other words, our brains are not “fixed” from birth but continue to evolve and change throughout our lives (the brain’s “neuroplasticity”), and if one part of the brain is damaged, another part will be “recruited” to do that part’s work.
The light bulb moment for us was when we realised that it was Michelle’s brain that was damaged, not her unconscious mind, and that even though her brain had been damaged, there were other ways she could access information. When Michelle’s memory of the circus was stimulated, the information stored in her deep, unconscious mind became available and the memory found its own pathway into her conscious brain without distortion. Dr Doidge’s book helped me to understand the science behind this phenomenon.