FAQs SleepTalk®

Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about The Goulding SleepTalk® Process. We would love you to purchase your own copy of SleepTalk® for Children, or contact us to discover the answers to other questions that may arise as you visit our site.

How can I become a Goulding SleepTalk® Parent?

SleepTalk® can be taught to parents via Skype – please see this information. You can also purchase the book and audio to teach yourself.
We now have Video Tutorials available for parents.

How can I become a Goulding SleepTalk® Consultant?

As SleepTalk® Consultant, you will be able to teach parents how to use this process. Please read this information.

What is SleepTalk® for Children?

SleepTalk® for Children is a process that only takes two minutes of your time and lasts a lifetime for your child. It is a process that is easy to learn and it is a gift to give when your child is in a light sleep.

Read more about SleepTalk®

Is it safe?

The process is safe, ethical and positive. It builds on the underlying self-esteem of the child resulting in behaviour changes and the process is non-intrusive.

What kind of results can I expect?

Your child will have more emotional confidence, resilience against negative suggestions and will be happier thus leading to happier families.

How can I get more information about the process?

I’ve bought the book so why contact a SleepTalk® consultant?

Great that you have bought the book, however a private consultation with a SleepTalk® consultant will assist with the continued application of the process. It’s important to realise that following the specific directions and consistency in facilitating the process is very important. The assistance of a consultant helps the family with the ongoing development and selection of the primary areas of need, developing specific statements and the continued commitment to the process each evening – even when holidays or life gets in the way! 

Does it matter if only one parent does SleepTalk®?

The Goulding SleepTalk® Process is less effective if only one parent is involved but only marginally. It would be more efficient if both parents were involved as that balances the energy of the male/female, Mum and Dad component within your child’s perception. Your child receives their basic self-image, self-worth and sense of balance from both parents and it is most important for the well being of that child to have a sense of acceptance and love from both.

Because it’s important for both parents to be involved with the consistent presentation of the SleepTalk® suggestions, your child may have some concerns when one parent is absent for a short while. The absent parent may consider recording the process to be played once the transference has occurred. Your child will then have the benefit of the parent’s voice until they return.

When there is a stepmother or stepfather, what happens then to the basic script regarding the other absent partner?

This can be a very emotive issue. In some cases it’s appropriate to just say “Mummy loves you, Daddy loves you, and we all love you”. Remember your the child’s basic self-image comes from both parents and it is important that your child is comfortable loving both parents without guilt. Where there is a mother and a step-father for example, your child can feel anxious, guilty, disloyal or even believe he/she doesn’t have the primary carer’s permission to love the father. This could lead to feelings of helplessness, of “It’s my fault Daddy’s not here”, or “It’s my fault Mummy’s not here”. If this issue is inappropriately dealt with then great confusion can occur within your child and guilt may become a component of their emotions. How can they love one parent without being disloyal to the other? 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 only result will be confusion and disharmony and sometimes an enormous degree of guilt and helplessness, which may, in turn, develop into aggression and anger.

What happens if a non-custodial parent is restricted in terms of access? Doesn’t that cause conflict with SleepTalk®?

No, the Goulding SleepTalk® process will in fact assist your child to manage the situation. The cause of the disharmony is the family structure and the influences within the family home. SleepTalk® for Children provides examples of how to effectively deal with the issues, which may depend on the individual counselling technique the family may be receiving and the distress that may be occurring. The result of using the Goulding SleepTalk® process would be to allow or establish a sense of security and confidence. If it is introduced correctly, there will be no problems. The Goulding SleepTalk® process provides a sense of self-worth and self-confidence as a consequence of the knowledge that your child is unconditionally loved.

In SleepTalk® for Children it is said that it is not appropriate to use persuasion with SleepTalk®. Why?

Using persuasion such as “I love you because you were good today” may activate the “conscious critical analysis”. In other words it could awaken the awareness of the child. Also using persuasion causes 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? You have created a situation and a belief that they will only be happy if it is school holidays.

How would you describe the child who awakens very easily, has difficulty going to sleep, or is often awake throughout the night?

Very anxious. The Goulding SleepTalk® Process should be able to help but it may be difficult the first week or so, to actually access the deep subconscious mind. Your child may be fitful or have difficulty going to sleep, possibly wakes up easily. If you persist in your SleepTalk® process your child will gain a sense of confidence, the anxiety will be reduced each time you use The Goulding SleepTalk® Process because you will be reinforcing their basic self-image and a belief that “it’s OK” and hopefully get a good night’s sleep eventually! By reducing the state of anxiety you compound the amount of suggestion given and accepted by that child. Very gradually, creating a new positive belief system and self-image. A distressed or anxious child will gradually accept the positive suggestions. A quietness and anxiety-free state of mind will develop and gradually they will become more and more able to accept the suggestions. Remember, you can never eliminate a memory, but you can add to it, alter or change the energy of that memory. As you create a compounding effect with a positive suggestion it will eventually become more powerful than the “negative” effect of the “I’m not OK” belief structure.

If a child has a basic negative structure and a feeling of “I’m not OK, I can’t do something, or I’m not as good as someone else”, won’t The Goulding SleepTalk® Process create confusion?

Possibly yes. Initially, it’s possible that confusion would be a result of The Goulding SleepTalk® Process. You may be aware of the process called psycho-cybernetics, which discusses the fact that it takes up to 21 days for the acceptance of a change of thought. This is very similar. Over a period of time, the new process of thinking starts to build against the “I’m not OK”.

The information accepted into the computer (the subconscious section of the mind) would be stored as fact alongside the negative belief. So if we say to the mind memory bank of belief “I’m OK. Mummy loves me. Daddy loves me, it will be a happy day today” and we place that positive suggestion alongside the negative “I’m not OK” directly into the child’s belief structure without conscious critical analysis, without negative analysis, without any alterations, then the belief structure within that child will start to change. Yes, it may cause initial confusion, but very gradually becomes the primary accepted suggestions.

In other words, we are able to bombard the subconscious belief structure with the positive fact “I am loved, I’m OK, It’s OK”. Suddenly, the suggestions of “I’m OK” will become stronger than the “I’m not OK” previously accepted belief. The top hat (consciousness) is now replaced and the positive suggestions lodged within the subconscious mind can only 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 truth or not, the computer will still relay that message word for word. The process of acceptance into the subconscious mind is no different. With The Goulding SleepTalk® Process, we don’t deny a belief or try and get the subconscious mind to forget a belief.

If you compound a suggestion of “I’m OK, I’m loved”, clearly and without distortion, through and into the belief structure of that child’s mind (the subconscious) in the process of SleepTalk®, then eventually that child will start to believe “I’m OK” and will have an acceptance of a positive self image and a positive self esteem. Gradually creating a new belief structure and with that new belief structure, your child will develop the ability to become more discerning about issues. 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. The positive suggestions will eventually take over and have more power than the (negative accepted) belief.

What is The Goulding SleepTalk® Process?

The Goulding SleepTalk® Process is an alternative and substance-free self-help process for parents coping with a challenging child.  Sometimes a lack of knowledge, assistance and/or family support can cause parents to doubt their parenting abilities, feel misunderstood and on a merry-go-round of endless consultations and dead ends. This process is about presenting a substance-free, safe, non- intrusive and ethical process for parents to use in the safety and comfort of their own home while their child or children are asleep and it’s easy to apply.

The process helps to develop your child’s emotional resilience because all children benefit from developing a positive and confident sense of self. This occurs without disturbing the sleeping child, and allows them to awaken in the morning with a more positive mindset. It only takes the parents a few moments to present and it’s been called a 2 minute gift with changes that last a life time. Anxiety levels reduce which offers your child the ability to deal with their world. Positive change can start to become apparent after only a few weeks of implementing the process. The Goulding SleepTalk® Process I think has some similarities to the work that Dr. Norman Doidge developed over the past few years which he called ‘Neuroplasticity’.

You say the process helps create emotional health. Tell me more about that.

Emotional health in childhood in my opinion ‘is the key to future happiness’. In Australia a 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 Centre conclude that a child’s emotional health is far more important to their satisfaction levels as an adult than other factors. He further states that: “Emotional health in childhood is the key to future happiness.” The LSE study suggests that: “ money, success and good grades are less important.”

Society tells us that education is important; however emotional intelligence and resilience is equally essential for our children. This education and intelligence really starts with babies in the womb who are listening and feeling everything that the mother feels and this can impact healthy brain and body development. How can we have peace in the world without having peaceful happy children? A substance/drug free process taking only 2 minutes a night can help not only your child but also educate parents, who are the catalyst to ensure children develop with a positive mind set.

The process introduces an alternative substance-free model (without contraindications) and educates parents as well as assisting children. Behaviour modification and the development of alternative strategies are developed during sleep, assisting with communication and family dynamics. During sleep the 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’ studies show: “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.”

This 2 minute per night process that parents can offer, reduces anxiety, helps communication and develops positive behaviour modification.

So how does SleepTalk® assist the family?

Perhaps sharing my personal story will explain and answer this question. 47 years ago, my first born, Michelle, was everything I had ever wanted. She seemed well and happy 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 did with ease and she was actually learning more from her younger sister’s development.

My heart skipped a beat the day it dawned on me that there was something wrong with my first born. My dear baby girl was learning to become agitated, frustrated and angry with her limitations 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.  And I was dismissed with little to no support. I was inflamed, outraged and stigmatised. I was doing my best, for God’s sake! And I knew in my gut that their assessments were wrong. But I didn’t know where to go to get help.

I’ll always remember what the doctors told me: one said that there was nothing there 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 with these, what were essentially, life sentences.

Young Michelle remained angry, agitated, sad, aggressive and very difficult to manage. Her fine motor skills were clumsy and she lacked the ability to express herself clearly.

Sadly it placed a lot of strain on my marriage as her father failed to cope with the demands of this little girl and within 5 years we had separated. This of course, added insult to injury. Now I had the complications of divorce, separation and a challenging situation with Michelle’s father and was left to face this situation alone.

That must have been very distressing for you so what did you do – what was the turning point?

It was only by an episode of great good fortune, that in Michelle’s new school, where she underwent an assessment by an educational psychologist, the local authorities had lost all the papers relating to Michelle’s past and she was admitted to this school with a clean slate.

Now the diagnosis came through with independent assessment. My treasured baby had cerebral palsy very likely caused by the birth process and was dyslexic and had dyspraxia, with an emotional and intellectual IQ of around 45. I was exonerated. But in the meantime it had cost me many years of heartache and agony, untold financial impact as I’d spent a huge amount of money seeking for 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 Michelle’s little 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.

So what did you do?

It was the mid to late 70’s and Jim’s curiosity about how the unconscious mind worked was infectious. Jim was a Clinical Hypnotherapist and we explored together the phenomenon of recall of the conversations of surgeons by their patients under anaesthetic, a phenomenon that is still little understood or explored. We were taken on a journey of exploration of the power of the unconscious and how the unconscious registers our experiences in life.  We started to understand that children had no developed way of defending themselves against stray comments or unintended slights. They absorbed it all and regardless of their conscious reality, the unconscious was registering everything that had ever happened.

The turning point 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 excited and upbeat. We couldn’t work out why she was so excited. 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 been able to access a well of unconscious memory at the moment that she saw the paddock and 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.

Was that the commencement and development of the Process?

Yes because I refused to believe that there was no help for Michelle and started to say “what if?” I rejected the negative suggestions of the professionals as I planned and investigated alternatives. In my opinion, I activated the oldest law of the mind:


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 it’s creative mechanism. The other was the author of a slim little book simply called ‘How to Practice Suggestion and Auto Suggestion’ by Emile Coué.   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 always the first steps towards realisation.

The procedure that we now call the Goulding SleepTalk® process was so simple, yet so dynamic, 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’. But it did take several years of dead ends and false starts until we discovered by 1978 the process that worked with Michelle, which would subsequently signpost breakthroughs for many thousands of children with all kinds of mental, emotional or behavioural issues all over the world.

When did you realise that the process was helping your daughter?

It was one morning, as Michelle was coming downstairs, having used the process for a few weeks, I found myself anticipating another angry and disconnected outburst. But I asked her all the same: “How are you today darling?” 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. My heart sang. It was emotional recognising that all of our struggles had been worth just this one word.

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 she still has to deal with the physical impairments of cerebral palsy and dyspraxia, however she has been happily married for the past 27 years, lives independently with her husband, travels independently and can cook you a mean breakfast – but if you like eggs – 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 could walk, she could talk, and that life is happy. Her deep subconscious default belief was now changed to: “I am OK”, which is now the foundation of Michelle’s world.

You spoke earlier about the ‘term’ Neuroplasticity which was developed by Dr. Norman Doidge. Tell me more about that.

Neuroplasticity is a subject that greatly interests me. I came across the book written by Dr: Norman Doidge in 2010. It was published in Australia by Scribe in 2007. Its title is: “The Brain that Changes Itself”. 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 actually 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, it gave me a deeper awareness of what we had developed. The process he was explaining seemed to be so similar to SleepTalk® that we developed way back in the early 70’s. It really was a Dahhhh moment for us when we realised what we were actually dealing with back then, that it was Michelle’s brain that was damaged not the sub-conscious mind. It enabled us to appreciate that when Michelle’s memory of the circus was stimulated (without critical analyses) the information stored in the deep sub-conscious mind become available and the memory found its own pathway into her conscious brain without distortion.

Doidge talks about a fundamental brain property that he calls ‘Neuroplasticity’ which is about redesigning the brain. He considers the idea that the brain can change its own structure and function through thought and activity which he believes is the most important alteration of the brain. Sometimes I wish that this information had been available in the 70’s when we were searching for assistance for my daughter. It would have made such a difference to us all, mind you perhaps SleepTalk® wouldn’t have been developed if this was so.

Would all children benefit from this process?

Most children have problems so yes would be my answer; some parents often say, but my child doesn’t have any problems, however sometimes children don’t share them with anyone, especially not with their parents. I know I didn’t share my problems with my parents and I think many children in this day and age are the same. One of the main advantages or additional aspects about applying this process is the education that the parents gain about the use of positive language. The down line ramifications of change that occurs within the family unit can be quite profound as the process commences to be taken on board.

You talk about negative statements that parents sometimes say. What would you say are some of the worst examples that parents sometimes say to their children?

Most parents that I’ve talked to, admit that sometimes they say things to their child that they don’t mean, or later regret saying. And according to American psychotherapist Antonia Van Der Meer, a parent’s temporary loss of control may, unfortunately mean permanent heartache for the child.

Van Der Meer, states that sometimes 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?” “When are you going to learn to think?”

Or perhaps 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”.

He 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: you feel temporarily relieved perhaps, but real damage may be done to your little ones self-esteem and the bond of trust between you both.

It’s important to recognize – and resist – saying hurtful things. A parent must learn to handle their own anger and frustration in order to teach a child how to behave.

You know as parents we have all made mistakes when communicating especially to our children. We all need to learn from those mistakes, forgive ourselves, take the learning, leave the negative memory behind, and just move on. I always explain that it’s never too late to learn and that this process gives parents a second chance to redefine the basic self-image of their child and create if you like, a positive believe in place of previously accepted negative ones.

It sounds to me that this process empowers parents to rectify some of those negative suggestions or situations. Would this be correct?

Absolutely and from the moment of birth and now professionals believe before birth, thoughts, feelings, reactions and memories are registered in the deep sub-conscious mind and those memories, with the accompanying thoughts, feelings, emotions and reactions will last for life. Suggestions and auto suggestions are very powerful when given to a child especially by someone in authority over them, so parents have a major role in ensuring that their child develops during their early years a positive mindset.

What areas of behavior management can this process assist children with? For example, can it assist Autism or the controversial Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)?

Absolutely, the spectrum is actually very wide and registered SleepTalk® consultants around the world are indicating positive results with a wide range of behavior disorders. Health issues, dealing with education, stress or anxiety are just some of them. Especially children diagnosed with Autism or the Autism Spectrum disorders actually do appear to be responding well to the process. The label ‘Asperger’s’ and ‘Autism’ seem to be very prevalent at the moment and some of the case histories that I’m receiving are reporting major changes in the children’s social skills and behavioral management which is very rewarding.

Another area that is sometimes described as a controversial diagnosis by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders which of course is the (DSM) is the Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). This disorder is sometimes described as an ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior toward authority figures which goes beyond the bounds of normal childhood behavior. Children who have it may appear very stubborn and angry. SleepTalk® does appear to be able to assist this area of anxiety. Certainly the ones that I’ve had the pleasure of working with have reported an excellent response with positive changes.

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 often annoy others on purpose, blame others for their mistakes, and are easily annoyed. Parents often observe more rigid and defiant behaviors than in siblings and may appear resentful of others and when someone does something they don’t like they often take revenge on them.

And in order for a child or adolescent to qualify for a diagnosis of ODD these behaviors must cause considerable distress for the family and/or interfere significantly with academic or social functioning. One of the benefits of the Goulding process is the down line ramifications of change that ends up creating change for the entire family. Calmness replaces anger and frustration, co-operation replaces Oppositional defiance.

You mentioned before that positive results with a wide range of behavior disorders are being achieved with the Goulding SleepTalk® process, such as issues dealing with education, stress and anxiety. Tell me about those.

Positive feedback over the past 40 years has been received, some of which are posted on the home website, especially issues dealing with aggression, behaviour management, stress, fear, anxiety and trauma also. 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. It also covers and assists families concerned about sibling rivalry and negative communications.

Professor Ian E Brighthope, a very prominent expert based in Australia, has suggested that this 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 subconscious mind. He considers it especially useful for effecting changes to children’s behavior. 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 2 minute gift with changes that lasts a life time. Because it’s important for parents to realise that: “Its not what we leave to our children that matters, it’s what we leave within their minds”.


What parents say about SleepTalk® for Children

“To sum up what SleepTalk® did for us, was to take away the stress and worry of an already a very bad situation”. N.S.
“His confidence has improved 100%.” M.F.
“He is going off to school camp soon and has no anxiety at all about sleeping arrangements”. K.C.

What professionals say about SleepTalk® for Children

“SleepTalk® is an invaluable aid for families and therapists in improving family attitudes and intimacy. The program is easily and unobtrusively implemented and can be readily adapted to suit all children and family contexts.”
Professor Ian Brighthope
Fellow of Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine

3 Accredited Trainers discuss the process

The following Video discusses parents application of the Process. Presented by:
Beryl Comar – Dubai/Spain, Eugen Popa – Romania,
And recorded by: Nicole Wackernagel – Switzerland
(Includes German Translation)


Visit our Online Shop to purchase Joane’s book and audio: The Goulding SleepTalk® Process