The GeMSS Sleep Training practice certificate for health professionals.

Approved by the Australian Psychological Society and reviewed by the Australian Sleep Health Foundation.

Up to 40 % of families with young infants and children report problems with sleep. Poor sleep increases the likelihood of family and household stress, parental depression and anxiety, and even poor developmental outcomes for children in the long term.

Doctors, paediatricians, community health nurses, psychologists and other allied health professionals are often sought out by these families who seek help to improve their children’s sleep. This is one of the first evidence-based practice certificates for professionals who wish to assist families with responsive sleep intervention methods.

The GeMSS has been manualised into a comprehensive practice certificate developed and utilised by Professor Sarah Blunden during her years as the Founder and Director of the Paediatric Sleep Clinic in Australia. The GeMSS method is a recognized, published and evidence-based treatment for Behavioural Insomnia of Childhood as described by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

In published research studies, The GeMSS method is shown to be a successful and gentle method of teaching infants and young children to sleep alone and to re-settle themselves when they wake overnight. The method does not involve leaving a child to cry, (often called cry-it-out, controlled crying or controlled comforting) but is based on “responsive” strategies rather than “ignoring” or “extinction” strategies. There are many families who do not wish to use ignoring strategies. The responsive method is based more on the psychological theories of attachment and learned behaviour rather than extinction theory. GeMSS training is for health professionals to assist families of sleepless children in a responsive way.

This training requires a graduate level of knowledge with a level of clinical expertise in delivering health care to families. Hence the GeMSS training is for any health, medical and/or allied health professional with at least an undergraduate degree. It therefore assumes an ability of the learner to integrate and adapt theories and practices into previous basic knowledge and skill acquisitions. Health professionals undertaking this practice certificate should be cognate of any need to supplement their learning when a gap is identified.

Those who wish to undertake the training will be asked to supply details of their professional qualifications. Practitioners need to learn detailed information about the physiology and psychology of sleep before learning the step by step behavioral approach to helping parents to teach their infants, toddlers and young children to sleep independently. Once practitioners have completed the training and assessments and have been certified and registered as a practitioner of the GeMSS method, they will have access to ongoing professional development opportunities through the SENSIBLE SLEEP and GeMSS websites. Yearly updates to keep abreast of new research developments in the areas of children’s sleep will be a reflection of registered practitioner’s ongoing commitment to quality delivery of sleep training using the GeMSS method

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