The management of insomnia by Australian psychologists: a qualitative study

Jenny Haycock, Elizabeth Hoon, Alexander Sweetman, Leon Lack, Nicole Lovato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Although clinical guidelines recommend Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for insomnia (CBTi) as the first-line treatment for insomnia, many people with insomnia do not have access to CBTi and are prescribed sedative-hypnotic medicines by medical health professionals. Psychologists have training in CBT and may be well placed to deliver behavioural therapy for insomnia. However, the current treatment of insomnia, amount of sleep-specific training and knowledge of CBTi among Australian psychologists remains unknown. Method: This qualitative study conducted semi-structured interviews with Australian psychologists. Interviews included case study scenarios to provide an in-depth exploration of psychologists’ knowledge and skills in the management of insomnia. Interview transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis to identify themes. Results: Twenty-six psychologists participated in this study. Four themes were identified in the data: 1) Sleep is important but rarely a treatment priority; 2) Confusion about funding pathways discourages treatment of insomnia; 3) A variety of approaches are used in the management of insomnia; 4) Psychologists with experience in CBTi are rare. Conclusions: Most Australian psychologists are not well equipped to manage insomnia effectively with CBTi. Along with other primary health care professionals, psychologists need training in the delivery of evidence-based insomnia treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-300
Number of pages11
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Volume57
Issue number5
Early online date27 Jun 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • CBTi
  • cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia
  • Insomnia
  • psychologists
  • psychology
  • sleep

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