My name is Aleksandra Wysocka, but everyone calls me Ola. I have an MA degree in Psychology (2011) and was living and working around the globe before settling down in Amsterdam in 2013. I have worked with children for over 10 years, and frequently come across parents who struggle with the sleep patterns of their little ones. One of the babies I recently worked had trouble sleeping, and my task was to improve her nap time during the day. The results were amazing! Witnessing this progress and changes in her behavior during the day was truly rewarding. She was no longer tired and sleepy but full of life and energy. She is now a steady sleeper both during the night and in daytime. I then knew I had found my calling - to help other sleepless families gain an improved sleep and overall quality of life.
The Gentle Sleep Coach Program, which I started in April 2015, is the first and most extensive professional sleep coach training and certification program available. The program involves over 80 hours of training with a faculty panel that includes 2 medical doctors, a psychologist, an attorney, lactation counselor, postpartum doulas and a family therapist. Each coach must pass an exam and participate in case supervision with Kim West, LCSW-C (a.k.a. “the Sleep Lady”) who has been helping tired parents for over 17 years. Clinical supervision and ongoing advanced training are required to maintain certification as a Gentle Sleep Coach. Some of my training topics included:
- Basic counseling and child development.
- Sleep science and behavioral modification techniques to help parents of children age 0 to 6 years old.
- Secure attachment theory.
- Support for the breastfeeding mother.
The training also consisted of lectures from top specialists, including:
- Postpartum Depression from Dr Shoshana Bennett, author and leading specialist on Postpartum Depression
- Medical Conditions and Sleep Apnea in Children led by Dr Lewis Kass, Director of Children’s Sleep Center
- GURD and Sleep led by Dr Anthony Loizides, pediatric gastroentrologist
The GSC Program also includes an exclusive advanced training series specifically focused on how to gently work with babies 4 and 5 months of age. This program, which I have also completed, consists of over 40 hours of instruction and mentorship.
Some of the curriculum training topics include: -In depth knowledge of the delicate nature of infants under 6 months of age and how to consider all elements of their well-being. -Current evidence based guidelines and instruction on how to evaluate the 4-6 month old child and family and determine if the child is ready for sleep coaching. -Gentle sleep solutions and strategies that are effective and developmentally appropriate for the younger baby. This specialty training is designed to give coaches the knowledge, education and all the tools and resources they need to successfully work with families of babies 4-6 months of age in a safe, healthy and developmentally appropriate manner.
As a professional Gentle Sleep Coach I do not believe in the cry-it-out method and a one size fits all.