The Philosophy of Gentle Sleep Coaching

Bringing Babies and Parents Sweet Sleep

How is Jen trained?

Jen Varela holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Services with an emphasis in Counseling, which serves her well in helping more than 3,750 sleep-deprived families to have sweet sleep.

With specialty training, Jen has the knowledge, education and all of the tools and resources she needs as a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach® having been certified since July 2012, to work successfully with families of four-month old, five-month old and six-month old babies in a safe, healthy and developmentally appropriate manner.

What is Gentle Sleep Coaching?

The Gentle Sleep Coach® (GSC) program is the first and most extensive professional sleep coaching certification program available. The program involves more than 80 hours of training, an exam and participation in case supervision with Kim West, LCSW-C (aka The Sleep Lady®) who has been helping tired parents for nearly two decades. Clinical supervision and ongoing advanced training are required to maintain certification as a Gentle Sleep Coach®.

As a Certified Gentle Sleep Consultant, Jen Varela has received training on topics that include:

  • Basic counseling and child development
  • Sleep science and behavioral modification techniques
  • Secure attachment theory
  • Support for the breastfeeding mother

Under Kim West’s leadership, Jen’s extensive training also consists of lectures from top specialists, including:

  • Postpartum Depression from 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
  • Sensory Processing Disorders and Sleep by Jodi Jennings, OTLR
Sleeping Family

Additional Training

Infant Mental Health Training Institute 15 Part Series
Presented by Infant Mental Health Promotion (IMHP) and the Hospital for Sick Children
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Content: Brain Development, Attachment, Temperament, Regulation, Early Childhood Trauma, Parental Depression, and Best Practices for Embedding Infant Mental Health

This 15 part training program aims to raise awareness and understanding of the needs of infants and toddlers to promote healthy social, emotional development in the early years and reduce the likelihood of poor mental and physical health outcomes in the later years. Research shows that many adverse outcomes can be prevented when parents are provided with support and information that enables them to be optimally responsive to their infants and young children. When there are identified risks and disorders in young children or family functioning, well planned, and evidence-informed intervention can promote optimal outcomes. The science is clear – early experiences in the first three years impact the architecture of the brain – this impact can be life-long and profoundly positive or negative depending on the quality and consistency of the experiences.

The Gentle Sleep Coach® (GSC) program also includes an exclusive advanced training series directly centered on how to gently work with four-month old and five-month old babies. Jen has completed more than 40 hours of instruction and mentorship for this special certification within the Gentle Sleep Coach® (GSC) program.

Training Jen has received in this special designation includes such topics as:

  • In-depth knowledge about the delicate nature of infants under six months of age and how to consider all elements of their wellbeing.
  • Current evidence-based guidelines and instruction on how to evaluate the four-month old, five-month old and six-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.

See what parents of younger babies are saying about how Jen’s training and philosophy have helped them have sweet sleep.

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